Karachi’s largest park dilapidated beyond measure

Bagh Ibne Qasim is currently an abode to drug addicts, a safety hazard for families, and marred with staff shortages

Syed Ashraf Ali January 25, 2023
photos: express


While Karachi’s infrastructural neglect is much talked about, its lack of green spaces does not get the same attention, especially when one of its biggest parks is in a dilapidated condition.

Due to the lack of funding from the Sindh government for its maintenance and development, the Bagh Ibne Qasim, which is spread over 130 acres, and the historic Jehangir Kothari Parade are in a poor state. The walls surrounding the park are crumbling, the lights are non-functional, and the grass looks like it has been growing for years. Hence, not only is the park far off from a garbage dump but it has become the go-to place for drug addicts.

Commenting on the park’s state, Sheikh Yasin, who lives nearby in Clifton, said that he regularly walks in the park during the morning and its current state is depressing. “There was a time when Bagh Ibne Qasim was a sight for sore eyes but now the lawn and jogging tracks are in ruins,” regretted Yasin.

Similarly, Yasmeen Ahmed, a resident of Clifton Block 2, who was strolling in the park, said that she used to visit daily but now the park is a garbage dump and a safety hazard. “This used to be a family park but now it would be absurd to bring your children here. There are no lights and often drug addicts reign supreme.”

An official of the Karachi Municipality, while talking to the Express Tribune under the condition of anonymity, concurred with the park’s regular visitors’ assessment. “The barbed wire on the walls has been stolen, the electricity poles are broken and rusty, the lawns are overgrown, and drug peddlers and addicts roam around freely,” the official said, adding that the park was not safe for visitors. When asked about the lack of funds for development, the official replied that the park had been developed in 2007 and then again recently in 2019 but despite millions of rupees being invested no one bothered to maintain the park. “There is also a severe shortage of wardens for security and of gardeners and other staff for mowing the lawn and making repairs. Moreover, those who are currently employed never show up,” the official informed.

Director General (DG) Parks Department, Junaid Khan, when asked about the ghost employees, concurred that this was indeed an issue. “Most of the gardeners and other staff retired a while back and no one was hired in their place,” said Khan. The DG further said that it was true that the park had become an abode for drug addicts and was unsafe for the visitors. “All of Bagh Ibne Qasim’s dilapidation is due to a lack of funds. If we are allocated adequate funds and are able to hire staff only then can the condition of the park be improved,” said Khan while talking to The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2023.


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