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Gate being built at Frere Hall entrance and citizens are unhappy

The historic Frere Hall dates from the early British colonial era in Sindh. Completed in 1865, Frere Hall was originally intended to serve as Karachi’s town hall and now serves as an exhibition space and library.

Frere Hall is located in central Karachi’s colonial-era Saddar Town. The hall is located between Abdullah Haroon Road (formerly Victoria Road) and Fatima Jinnah Road (formerly Bonus Road).

The open parks are frequented by citizens for recreation, discussion groups, or students. However, the decision by authorities to set a gate at the entrance has been met with displeasure with many calling it an eyesore and urging the Sindh government to stop it.

Architect and urban planner Marvi Mazhar said “Frere Hall is one of the most Democratic, Interactive, and Well-Utilized Public Spaces for all classes in Karachi. She said, “neo-liberal decisions of fencing, gating, arching is as an act of obstruction/protecting Public Spaces needs debate with the public.” 

She called for having an open dialogue on the design decision. “Any mega-city – State makes urban decisions by involving citizens. Let’s bring this practice to our part of the world. Let’s think of interventions bottom up,” she added. 

 

The Karachi Urban, which focuses on critical urban planning,  said the government’s plan to enclose  Karachi Frere Hall by fencing, gating, charging fees, flies in the face of calls for urgent heat risk mitigation strategy policy during heat waves. 

Members of civil society have also opposed the move and have staged a protest on Sunday.

 

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