On Sunday, artwork painted on the outer walls of the Karachi Press Club, was covered with posters and slogans inviting people to participate in the chehlum (religious observance) of Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian major general killed in Baghdad last month.
The act was deemed disgraceful by Imtiaz Khan Faran, the president of the Karachi Press Club. He called the act of vandalism a work of “sick minds,” he further added, “We can’t control what is happening outside the press club’s walls.”
“But whoever these people are they should respect Pakistan’s legends and heroes,” stated Imtiaz Khan Faran.
The vandalised murals include that of Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect, who was awarded the Jane Drew Prize recently for raising the profile of women in architecture. Others are of Zubeida Mustafa, a renowned journalist and author and Fatima Surayya Bajia, an Urdu novelist and drama writer.
The paintings were made by Haider Ali, the chief executive officer of Phoot Patti, as part of his “I AM KARACHI” campaign.
Soon after the campaign ended, vandals defaced the paintings and embedded remarks about the activists and Asia Bibi, who at the time was on trial for a wrongfully accused blasphemy case.
The offensive messages carried the initials of the religious groups, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek-i-Labbaik. Some local artists restored the paintings but they were attacked again this Sunday.
Haider Ali also expressed frustration upon learning that his paintings had been vandalised.
“How can people not understand art?” he asked, “I really have no words to describe how I feel right now. He added that the last time the murals were attacked, he had to repaint them.
“I really don’t know what we will do this time, or if this keeps happening again and again.”
It goes without saying that these vandals can vandalise their paintings but not their legacy which will be remembered for generations to come.
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