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Corruption is threat to ancient landmarks of Sindh cultural heritage

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad is the second-largest city in the Sindh province and has the honor of being the former capital of Sindh in the past. The city holds significant national and cultural heritage sites or ancient relics, such as the Pakka Qila (Solid Fort), Kacha Qila (Mud Fort), or the smaller forts, among which lies the tomb of the founder of Hyderabad city, Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro, says a Press release.
These ancient sites, particularly in Hyderabad, are rapidly deteriorating due to negligence and corruption, leading towards rapid decay. While the major sites like Pakka Qila and Kacha Qila have been fully under control, their walls are crumbling rapidly, indicating a dire situation where in a few years, these forts’ mention might only be found in books.
The preservation section of Pakka Qila in Hyderabad, which is still under the authority of the Department of Antiquities, has been turned into garbage dumps. Both historical towers have been completely sealed off with garbage after spending billions of rupees on their renovations once, only to be washed away in a single rain. Similarly, the Sindh government and other international organizations have repeatedly allocated funds to preserve these historical sites, but instead of securing these sites, the funds have been repeatedly squandered due to corruption.
The part of Pakka Qila with the royal gate, the mausoleum of Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro, and a small piece with the protective wall of Pakka Qila is still left with the Department of Antiquities. However, drug addicts have occupied this protective section completely. It is not far when this part of Pakka Qila will also be seized and demolished. The royal gate of Pakka Qila, which was heavily damaged during the renovation due to the worst negligence of the officers and contractors of the Department of Antiquities in 2021, was reconstructed four years later, but the historical inscriptions on the gate’s arch were not placed deliberately. When various organizations and the media highlighted this issue, the work to demolish the reconstructed gate began again, and then the historical inscriptions were placed on the gate. After that, for the third time, this royal gate is being demolished after reconstruction, and it is being said that the historical inscriptions were not placed at the correct place due to a mistake.
Now the question arises, are these developmental funds received by the Department of Antiquities national treasures, or ill-gotten money repeatedly wasted, even corrupted? The condition of the third small fort of Hyderabad is also the same, where the constructions made with billions of rupees were washed away in a single rain, and there too, the tower coming from Pakka Qila was sealed off with garbage, and no effort was made to clarify its indication, which is equivalent to erasing national and cultural heritage. A few days ago, work was started to clarify the indication of this tower in the fort, but it has been learned that Director Antiquities Abdul Fattah Sheikh has also stopped this work. The office of the Director of the Department of Antiquities is also in Hyderabad, but some officers of the Sindh government are so affluent that they prefer to sit only in the Karachi office and do not even consider coming to the Hyderabad office. If they do not come to the Hyderabad office, how can the people of Hyderabad reach them? The political, social, and cultural organizations of Hyderabad have demanded an immediate and serious notice from the Sindh government regarding the worst corruption in the preservation of Hyderabad’s cultural and historical heritage and the Department of Antiquities in Hyderabad.