KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the founders of Pakistan are people of Sindh which is very much evident from the letters Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had written to his party during 1940s.
This he informed while speaking at the MoU signing ceremony between Sindh Culture Department and Jinnah Society to turn Quaid-e-Azam House as a Nation Building Institute, organized at Quaid-e-Azam House 24 IL Lines Karachi on Monday.
The ceremony was attended by Minister Culture Syed Sardar Shah, Arts Council Chairman Ahmed Shah, Architect Shahid Abdullah, Amina Syed of Oxford University, Liaquat H. Merchant, Ikram Sehgal, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Culture Akbar Leghari and various others.
“I have been personally beneficiary of the Quaid-e-Azam Aligarh Scholarship when I was going for Masters abroad. ‘I had applied for the scholarship and Liaquat H Merchant had conducted my interview some 35 years before and had approved it [the scholarship],” he aid and added Liaquat had promised to provide him with a copy of the letter in which he had approved the scholarship which was no more with him.
Shah said that when he was in opposition in 2002, he visited the Archives Department where he saw the collection of Quaid-e-Azam’s letters compiled by Khalid Shamsul Hassan. “The letters Quaid-e-Azam had written to his party [leaders] were of great interest and an immense learning experience that one gets from them,” he said and added “when he [Quaid] was making the country there were intrigues and how he had handling them was a height of his political wisdom, sagacity and farsightedness and we must learn from the experiences of our elders because still we were facing such intrigues even today.” He urged the Jinnah Society to get hold of those original letters and they might be available with Khalid Shamsul Hassan’s family.
“The letters father of nation had written and received from his party [leaders] were witness that the people of Sindh were the founders of Pakistan,” he said and added his father Abdullah Shah had told him that late G.M Syed, during 1946 election, had visited their village and had requested his father for vote.
“My grandfather had told him that his vote was for Pakistan,” he recalled and added there was a need to teach our new generation how Pakistan was made and what kind of intrigues were taking place in those days. Talking about Quaid-e-Azam society, the chief minister said that he has been personally beneficiary of the Quaid-e-Azam Aligarh Scholarship when he was going for Masters abroad.
“I had applied for the scholarship and Liaquat H. Merchant had conducted my interview some 35 year ago and had approved it [the scholarship],” he said and requested Liaquat to provide him with a copy of the letter in which he had approved the scholarship which was no more with him. Syed Sardar Shah welcoming the chief minister and guests said that when Quaid-e-Azam House was handed over to the provincial government he had visited it.
“The house was in shambles and nothing was in place,” he said and added with the support of the Sindh Chief Minister he got the house renovated in its original form and even the car which was in personal use of the father of nation has been brought in operational condition.
It may be noted that the Quaid-e-Azam House, also known as Flagstaff House, is a museum dedicated to the personal life of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. This limestone structure spread over 10,241 square yards, which served as Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s residence and office which he used after independence. It was built in 1868.
After the 18th Amendment, the charge of Quaid-e-Azam House Museum was handed over to the to the Sindh Government, after which, the historic building was repaired and renovated by the Department of Culture Several arrangements have been made for the safety of the building and to facilitate tourists. History: The historic building consists of arched openings, carved pillars, semicircular balconies and six spacious rooms, which include two bedrooms, two drawing rooms, one study and one dining room. The building was designed by a British architect, Moses Somake, also known for constructing other famous architectural structures in Karachi, such as Mules Mansion, Bai Virbaijee Soparivala Parsi High School, Karachi Goan Hall and Edward House.
A tile on the roof has the date 1868 embossed on it, the year the house was constructed. The house was purchased by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1943 from Sohrab Katrak, a former mayor of Karachi, for Rs115,000. Jinnah paid Rs5,000 in advance and then paid the rest later. Quaid-e-Azam’s belongings were restored to their original state in 1993. The crockery displayed in the chest there was gifted to Quaid-e-Azam by the governments of China and Japan.
There are servant quarters and a horse barn which has been converted into a library. The garden has been renovated multiple times while the trees have remained untouched. The former home of Jinnah, who lived there from 1944 until his death in 1948. His sister, Fatima Jinnah lived there until 1964. The building was later acquired in 1985 by the Pakistani government and conserved as a museum.
The fate of the house was decided after Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 as the Quaid-e-Azam Trust put the house up for sale. It was bought by the Pakistan Archaeology department for Rs5.1 million. They converted the house into a museum and renamed it Quaid-e-Azam House. In 1993, the house was officially inaugurated by Hakim Muhammad Saeed, the then-governor of Sindh. A map of Pakistan made up of broken pieces of glass hangs on the wall, a gift from Rafique Motiwala, a businessman from Bombay. An antique telephone set given by the government of America is placed on the side table while a figurine of a German Shepherd dog sits atop a shelf. A pencil sketch of Fatima Jinnah, made in 1963 by artist Sarah Ikhlaq, hangs on the wall in this room.