The artists’ community in Karachi, through the platform of Koel Gallery, has launched a campaign, ‘Pursukoon Karachi’, to reclaim the city. Through various art expressions, the not-for-profit organisation has managed to get more than 200 volunteers on board to create a collective voice against weaponisation, sociopolitical strife and crime.
Artists, writers and performers will bring together their talents and give a glimpse into that part of the city that only existed in the memories of its older residents. This is a great initiative by the city’s civil society as it gives residents hope that there is more to Karachi than targeted killings and extortion.
As part of this campaign, the 115-year-old historical building of the Cantonment Railway Station will be restored. The volunteers of Pursukoon Karachi will not only be cleaning the facade of the building but revitalising it into one of the must-see sights of Karachi. With the help of the Pakistan Railways, which is providing the workforce and labourers for the project, the NGO will restore the historic building, provide better seating for commuters and porters, refurbish the washrooms, the platforms, the waiting rooms, build a fountain and set up a food street — all this expected to be complete in a year. The fact that the NGO decided to keep the Pakistan Railways included in the project is a great initiative as it will make sure that its efforts do not go to waste later. Once the civil society volunteers complete their work at the station next year, they will be unable to contribute towards the building’s maintenance and in the smooth running of the facilities. For that, it is necessary that the Pakistan Railways also stays on board so it can ensure these efforts are long-lasting.
Among its long-term goals, Pursukoon Karachi will also work with students and educational institutions, and try to overcome the growing culture of violence. We wish the organisers success in this initiative and look forward to “reclaiming the joys of the city of lights”.