Cr. Org Petition 7-K/2018 – Demolition of Karachi National Museum
The Supreme Court of Pakistan while hearing the cases of encroachment on public parks, has found the National Museum building to be an encroachment upon Burns Garden.
The Museum at Karachi was established on Old Victoria Road in 1840s. Subsequently it was shifted to Frere Hall. The museum felt the burnt of the shortage of space and the government dedicated a new building to the Museum in early years of 20th Century. However, when Karachi was declared Pakistan Capital the shortage of accommodation was strongly felt and the Museum building was acquired to house the State Bank of Pakistan and the Museum was again shit to Frere Hall. The Space at Frere Hall was not enough to house the collection of the Museum. Therefore, the National Museum building was commissioned by President of Pakistan Ayub Khan in the 1960s at the location of Burns Garden. It was designed by Italian architect Alfredo Kotzian and inaugurated in 1970 by President Yahya Khan.
The National Museum building was designed specifically to house rare and precious artifacts and manuscript. The six-story building has eleven galleries. The National Museum is the only public museum in city and it continues to facilitate international and local academics in their research. It is a site of public and scholarly engagement with history and culture and as such needs to be preserved.
In light of these developments we have intervened in Criminal Original Petiton No. 07-K of 2018 before Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan to safeguard the building of National Museum along the National treasures it housed. The Petition was disposed off vide Order, Dated 11/12/2018, wherein the Honourable Supreme Court observed that the Museum should not be demolished unless some plan is prepared for shifting it to an alternate place. Moreover, the Court also recorded the Mayor Karachi’s undertaking to only demolish the shops and encroachments around the National Museum and the not Museum itself, unless a suitable alternate site is found.
The following documents are available for online viewing: