City Landmarks – M. A. Sobaidar Building, Aath Chowk, Lyari

There are certain buildings in each neighborhood which become very important because of the role that they play in local social scene. Memories are associated with these landmarks and they live in our conversations long after they have disappeared physically. Such is the position of Muhammad Ali Sobaidar building in Aath Chowk (literally eight (lane) chowk) area. Its one of the earliest multistory buildings in the area and made for an easily recognizable landmark. There was a hooter installed above it which was used to blow siren during sehri and iftarin Ramadan. It was used during ’65 and ’71 war in case of emergencies.

The building is in dismal condition now. The plaque suggests that it was built in 1939 but it is in much worse condition compared to its contemporary structures in Saddar. There are mechanic shops on the ground floor and families live upstairs. We climb upstairs to get the access to the roof it there are any remnants of wartime hooter but find the door locked. The custodian is out for work and is not expected till late in the evening. we climb back making a stop at few steps to take photos.

Very few heritage declaration worthy buildings have survived in Lyari. The Karachi Walla is not an expert but I will give only few more years to the building. It will be replaced by a loathing concrete structure similar to what we have around Aath Chowk. M. A. Sobaidar building shall only survive in conversations and memoirs.

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Categories: City Landmarks

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