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Bungalow in premises of heritage site demolished in Karachi's Soldier Bazar

Bungalow in premises of heritage site demolished in Karachi's Soldier Bazar

Unidentified people on late Saturday night demolished a 100-years-old bungalow located inside Jufelhurst School in Soldier Bazar area of Karachi, which had been declared a heritage site by the culture department of Sindh government.

This later prompted the authorities to take action against the suspects involved in demolishing the national heritage site.

According to the school’s office-bearers Mohammad Shafiq and Athar, on late Saturday night around 40-50 people started demolishing the Bungalow inside Jufelhurst School premises. The locals gathered and informed the concerned police and the education department about the situation, they added.

Talking to Dawn, they said “in the meantime, Soldier Bazaar SHO Irshad Soomro reached here along with the police party and stopped the demolishing work. However, a significant portion of the historic building had been demolished by that time”.

Shafiq said, the same people returned on Sunday morning and demolished the remaining portion of the heritage site. He said the school was declared as a heritage site by the provincial government in 2012 and the bungalow was also part of it.

The PC-I for repair of the heritage school had been approved and the required funds had also been released. The repair and renovation work of the Jufelhurst School was supposed to start within next 10-15 days but on late Saturday night, certain people along with bulldozers started its demolition.

SHO Irshad Soomro told Dawn that the certain people claimed that they have ‘purchased the bungalow’ but these people did not show any documents or permission of the authorities concerned to the police.

“Besides, the demolition work was being done at night time, which raised suspicions.”

The officer said that he got the demolishing work stopped but by the time the police arrived significant damage to the bungalow had occurred but the school’s main building was safe.

The SHO said that the school administration claimed that the Parsi woman who established the school had gifted the bungalow to the school, however, others claimed that they have purchased it.

“The school’s headmaster Shafiq has submitted an application before the police for lodging an FIR against unknown suspects for causing damage to the heritage site and they were seeking legal opinion to proceed further,” said Soomro

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the demolition of the 100-year old building of Jufelhurst Schoo in Soldier Bazaar.

The chief minister sought reports from the secretary education and secretary culture, separately.

“Who gave them permission to demolish the heritage building,” asked the provincial chief executive.

When this building was declared heritage, who demolished this “national heritage”, he said.

Whoever committed this ‘conspiracy or mischief,’ he would not go unpunished, vowed the chief minister.

Later on, the senior officers visited the school and sought details from the school administration, revealed the headmaster, Mohammed Shafiq.

In 1931, the Jufelhurst School was established by Sybil D’Abreo on nearly one acre of land Soldier Bazaar area.

D’Abreo used the first two letters of her mother’s name, Julia, and the first three letters of her father’s name, Felix, to name her school.

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