The Sindh government gave orders to stop work on making a second layer of fencing to cordon off Karachi’s Frere Hall park on Thursday.
The fencing was being done by the Guardian Board, which is a group looking after the management and maintenance of the historic Frere Hall and its gardens.
This fencing would partially block the entrance of the park for the public.
Architect Marvi Mazhar tweeted a picture of it.
“Really appalling to see Frere Hall being cordoned off by a second layer of fence. The only park that was an island and open from all sides. #publicspace #karachi #frerehall @Mahim_Maher @GovOfSindh – shameful public private partnership!” she tweeted.
Karachi Administrator Iftikhar Shallwani told SAMAA Digital that work on the fence construction has been stopped. He said the Guardian Board took the initiative without informing the administration.
“We have ordered them to stop the fencing work immediately,” Shallwani said.
An agreement was made on this between the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the Guardian Board when Wasim Akhtar was Karachi’s mayor. It was done for the betterment of Frere Hall, but the condition of the historic building has yet to improve.
The Karachi administrator said KMC has scheduled a cleaning campaign at Frere Hall on Sunday.
All fences, he said, would be removed.
Shahid Abdulla, a member of the Guardian Board, told SAMAA Digital that the board will make a safe playing area for children at a corner in the park.
He said a fence would ensure safety in the current law and order situation.
The board has submitted a proposal to close the park by midnight as all the parks in Karachi are closed at night.
“We have given the proposal keeping in view that the drug addicts have stolen benches and lights from the Frere Hall park many times,” he said.
In April 2018, Akhtar planned to hand over the management and maintenance of Frere Hall and its gardens to an 18-member Guardian Board for a five-year period.
In November 2018, the City Council officially handed it over.
The Guardian Board chairperson was Shahid Feroz. Some of its members are Amin Hashwani, Durriya Kazi, Ghazi Salahuddin and Shahid Abdulla.