KaravanPakistan - Beginnings

Quaid-e-Azam Mazar Parade

The Quaid-e-Azam Mazar Parade was the Inaugural Event of the KK Festival 2001. It was conducted with a lot of fanfare and a huge crowd of spectators and participants attended the Quaid-e-Azam Mazar Parade. The parade included floats of various Karavan Committees and Sponsors which represented the cultural heritage of Pakistan and carried the participants of streetfests as well as musicians and singers. The route of the parade was around the Mazaar (excluding M.A.Jinnah Road). One side of the road along the route was dedicated to spectators and food stalls and at certain intervals stages had been constructed for performances by school and college students as well as ethnic dancers and musicians. The Parade consisted of a number of floats and school children dressed in colourful costumes. It had a mela-like atmosphere alongwith folk music groups and performances by students and street theatre groups in the manner of heritage streetfests that had been held prior to the September Festival.

The street poles were decorated with colourful banners and the Karavan Karachi Signature Roll which is 4oo meters long was spread out for people to sign it.

The programme was divided into two sections. The Parade started at 4:45 p.m. and went on till 5:30 p.m. when the Joint Ribbon Cutting ceremony was held by over 100 eminent people. The Governor of Sindh graced the occasion after which the KaravanKarachi Dua was held for the city of Karachi and Fateha at the Quaid’s Mazar was held. The parade continued throughout this period and the culminated with a firework display at the end.




KaravanKarachi Festival 2001

  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgement Ceremony Address by Ms. Yasmeen Lari, Chairperson Karavan Initiatives

  • Address of H.E. Mohammedmian Soomro, Governor, Sindh

  • KK01- Programme

  • Outline of KK01 FESTIVAL- Pre-September Events

  • KK01 FESTIVAL- September Events


The KaravanKarachi Festival was the outcome of a humongous effort made by journalists, industrialists, actors, designers and more to celebrate their city – Karachi. The main aim of this Festival was to rekindle pride amongst the citizens for their city and also to boost the economy through tourism while focusing on the heritage of the city in an effort to maintain it.


This group of interested people was formed under the auspices of Heritage Wallay, Friends of Heritage Foundation to plan the “Festival of Karachi”. This Festival consisted of two components a) a series of Pre-September events, starting from January 2001, which culminated in b) a colourful and energetic starburst of back to back events in September, the actual month of the festival. After its launch on February 21 by Governor Sindh at Sindh Governor's House, KaravanKarachi Festival 2001 held 23 Heritage Streetfests between March and August 2001, which were attended by over 100,000 people. Under KaravanKarachi Community Participation program 120 community football matches were held in District West through participation of 200 Mohallah Committees.


The festivities during the festival month of September 2001, were begun by an inaugural parade which wound its way around the Quaid-e-Azam's Mausoleum consisting of a large number of floats representing schools, communities and cultural Heritage of Karachi.


The 2-day International Heritage Seminar titled 'Heritage, Urban Space and Identity' was attended by delegates from abroad and Pakistan.


During the Theatre Festival 90 performances were made by schools, street theatre and proscenium theatre.


The film festival screened films from Pakistan and abroad, while a photography exhibition portrayed the work of well-known photographers.


Other events included Seafood festival by Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority, Musical events and a community festival.


The Fashion Week highlighted several historic buildings and Fashion Tribute ceremony paid homage to those who had contributed significantly to the promotion of fashion industry in Pakistan.


In the Acknowledgement Ceremony 4500 children from government, special and elite schools thronged the Sindh Governor House as part of KaravanKarachi Festival 2001 Acknowledgment Ceremony on Nov. 5th 2001. Governor Sindh presented 4,500 Certificates and 300 souvenirs


The September Festival was a celebration of the cultural and historical legacy which has made the city of Karachi what it is today. The theme of the festival was to celebrate all those aspects of the city that make it great. Karachi, had been through difficult times in past decades but it has been a vibrant and important city for a much longer time and continues to be the commercial and industrial hub of Pakistan. Particular aspects of Karachi’s inheritance include its architectural heritage, diverse communities, the port and coastline and the variety of trading, commercial and industrial sectors represented in the city formed the basis for the festival and the presentations, displays, performances, recitals and events all drew on the characteristics that make the city unique and special, both within Pakistan and internationally.


Heritage Wallay-the force behind KK01Festival-is a group of people traversing across the spectrum of Karachi’s citizens who all contributed to the Festival planning. The festival targeted an equally wide group of people; the plan was for events to be widely spread across Karachi, to include everything from free street parties to ticketed events. The basic theme, however was that the Festival of Karachi is not only open to all but important to all; in setting Karachi in its proper historical context, and allowing all those for whom this city is home to take a part in its rejuvenation.


The festival of Karachi highlighted the crucial importance of conservation and proper planning in making life in the city better. The Festival celebrated the history of Karachi in other ways too – through the display of antiques and paintings held in private collections as well as in public institutions, and through history portrayed in photographs, storytelling, music, dance and theatre and cuisine- to demonstrate how vital those historical influences are on how well the city lives today, and to show how the hidden treasures of the past can illuminate our future.


Acknowledgement Ceremony Address

by Ms. Yasmeen Lari, Chairperson Karavan Initiatives


HE  Governor Sindh Mohammad Mian Soomro

Distinguished guests

Children, ladies and gentlemen


On behalf of Heritage Wallay-Friends of Heritage Foundation, a non-government not-for-profit organization of dedicated professionals, I welcome you all to this important Karavan Karachi Acknowledgemnt Ceremony – important for us because today we would like to publicly say thank you to all those who contributed towards the success of a series of festivals spread over 7 months to celebrate the historic architecture and multiple attributes of our great metropolis. Due to the enthusiastic participation of Karachiites, Karavan has evolved into a cultural and social empowerment programme which has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.


When on 21st February this year we embarked on Karavan Karachi Festival 2001 from this historic venue with the blessing of Governor Sindh Mohammedmian Soomro, the actualization of cultural rejuvenation of Karachi through the participation of its citizens was but a dream. When the process of weekly heritage streetfests was begun, the overwhelming response from ordinary Karachiites – some 10,000 attended the Empress Market venue – was overpowering. As we progressed through 23 consecutive Sundays, a unique partnership emerged between the Government, private sector, the media, general public and Karavan Karachi. The media – its writers, photographers, videomakers- played a crucial role in carrying our message into millions of homes helping create a feeling of pride and social bonding as never before.


Through the 5-1/2 months of streetfests was highlighted the remarkable heritage of Karachi acknowledging the contributions of the various communities of this rainbow city – ancient dargahs (shrines) and mosques, grand churches and Christian schools, great educational institutions built by Hindus and Parsis – a klaeidescope of imperial, imperial vernacular, classical, Indo Gothic, Italianate and Anglo-Mughal style buildings along with varying architectural blends reflecting the dynamism of the people of this great city. Our streetfest chief guests consisting of eminent personalities of the city – responded to our invitation with enthusiasm and attended them even during the most unbearable summer months. When you yourself Sir, and Begum Soomro accepted our invitation, and arrived without protocol or security, for long an unheard of gesture from a head of a province, it was in the spirit of the streetfest. By walking around the stretch of road, rubbing shoulders with people from all walks of life you sent a powerful message of return to normalcy on Karachi’s streets. A similar message was conveyed by US Consul General John Bennett, today represented by the new Consul General., Minister of Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister of Health General Ahsan Ahmed, Director General Pakistan Rangers General Shahid Tirmizey, Chairman Karachi Port Trust Admiral Khalid Mir and MD Karachi Shipyard Admiral Arshad Munir, when they joined our streetfest participants and signed out famous Karavan Karachi signature roll – the human chain now stretched to over 5,000 feet. We are proud that our 52 chief guests including eminent intellectuals Jamiluddin Aali, Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Dr. Pirzada Qasim, Mohtarma Fatima Bajia and Ghazi Salahuddin; Showbiz personalities Zeba Bakhtiar, Nadeem, Tina Sani, Shakeela Khurasani, Shakeel, Talat Hussain, Qazi Wajid and Sania Saeed, staesmen Sherbaz Mazari and Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro, Educationists and Social workers Begum Qamar Ispahani, Begum Majid Malik and Nissar effendi, Doctors Mushtaq Hassan and Sethna, alongwith Archbishop Pereira, Fr. Archie D’Souza, Rev.Sr. Mary Emily, Sisters Zinnia and Dolores Anne, NED vice chancellor Abul Kalam, Ava Cowasjee and artists Jimmy Engineer.


In the spirit of Karavan the street fest pulled together the work of our various committees – Music Committee chaired by Shanaz Ramzi, Theatre Committee chaired by Sohail Malik, Fashion and Cultural Committee chaired by Shaiyanne Malik and co-chaired by Yasin Siddik, Food Committee chaired by Zahid Khan, Martial Arts Committee chaired by Azmat Ataka, Private Schools Committee chaired by Afroza Bhamani and Community Participation Committee chaired by Farzana Saleem, alongwith painting and sketching coordinatotrs Badar Kalam, Waseem and Shazli and scores of volunteer students of Sadequain School of Art and Department of Visual Arts of Karachi University coordinated by Arts Committee Chair Durriya Kazi, PIA scout volunteers by Mahkoor and Qamar Shamim , martial arts volunteers by Munawwar Ali and Syed Shakeel Ahmed, and Heritage Foundation volunteers by Atif Ashraf.


The remarkable Karavan Karachi community participation programme of Farzana Saleem has been under way for a whole year. Her 200 mohallah committees have been actively engaged in promoting extra curricular activities for the youth of the area. During July and August a football tournament was organized during which 120 matches were played every day between competing mohallah teams. Today almost 500 children of disadvantaged areas are being educated in 5 Karavan Karachi Ilmi schools entirely through community effort.


The involvement of school children has been among the most rewarding aspects of our work. Young children from scores of community, Government, private and special schools have performed with extraordinary enthusiasm, photographing, painting and sketching historic buildings – over 3,000 photographs and 5,000 sketches and paintings etc. were produced by children, samples of which can be seen on our display panels. Scores of schools have been motivated to carry out research and documentation of Karachi, in the process developing a sense of pride as could be seen in the shining eyes of children who put up exhibitions at Shah Wilayat School, Kids University and Nasra School. Through the efforts of Teachers Resource Centre scores of others have carried out documentation on Karachi.


A schools programme spearheaded by Nasreen Nemat Ali in consultation with DIG Traffic, was the Beautify-a-Roundabout programme during festival month of September which gave such a festive air to many of the city’s desolate roundabouts. It was carried out through the efforts of the students and teachers of Lyceum, Avicenna, City School, Beaconhouse, DHA Public School, Aisha Bawany, Jaffer Public, Roots School Network, Dawood Public, Springfield, School of Excellence, Aga Khan, Generation and Shah Wilayat School and we are thankful to all of them.


The culmination of our efforts since February 21, was seen during the various festivals organized throughout the month of September, when almost every day a Karavan Karachi event was happening. The artistic invitation card and calendar of events were designed by Communications Design chair Saima Zaidi based on a remarkable water colour especially painted and gifted by the famous colourist Athar Jamal depicting the architecture and life of Karachi.


You Mr. Governor were once again part of us at the inaugural Carnival Parade on September 1 winding around peripheral roads of Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar. The diversity of Karachi and multidimensional  aspect of KaravanKarachi was mirrored forcefully in this remarkable street event – a parade of 20 gaily decorated historic building floats representing the culture of Sindh and carrying community dancers and folk musicians. There were decorated camels and buggies alongwith vintage  cars sporting elegant fashion models. You will recall the enthusiastic waving of 5,000 school children from community, government and private schools, as you traversed the peripheral roads in an open buggy defying security considerations, but providing a great source of encouragement to gaily dressed school bands, stage performers and PT displays.


The first ever three week long Theatre Festival, a brainchild of Theatre Chair Sohail Malik and coordinated by co-chair Arif Bahalim, yielded over 90 performances by school children, traveling street theatre, and various drama groups. 5 experimental heritage bus tours were conducted for school children while an international two-day heritage seminar was attended by delgates from Japan, India and Germany alongwith Pakistani speakers. The music festival consisting of 3 memorable events was coordinated by Music Chair Shanaz Ramzi. A one day Community festival by Community participation chair Farzana Saleem was held at Bacha Khan Chowk. The 2 day Food Festival at Bagh-i-Ibn-Qasim was coordinated by Food Committee chair Zahid Khan, during which an important activity was the Fisheries Mela and Karachi’s first sea-food festival organized by the dynamic Chairman of Karachi Fish Harbour Commodore Tayyab Naqvi. The 3-day Film Festival was coordinated by Arts Committee chair Durriya Kazi, and a photographic exhibition on Karachi by eminent photographers by co-chair Danish Tapal. The series of festivals concluded with the holding of the first Fashion Week, a dream of Fashion and Culture chair Shaiyanne Malik and organized by herself and co-chair Yasin Siddik. The first national Fashion Tribute ceremony was held on September 28, when awards were presented to fashion personalities by our eminent chief guests Khadija Soomro and Afshan Ghazi.


Of course none of this would have been possible without the support of our sponsors. On the top of the list is our main sponsor Coca Cola. Amer Pasha and his team joined us soon after the launch in February. At that time Karavan Karachi was but a dream and it is to Amer Pasha’s credit that he foresaw the possibility of Karachi’s rejuvenation – being a Karachiite himself he saw more than just the commercial potential, he believed in our programme as well.

Our co-sponsor Habib Oil Mills also joined us soon after CEO Tanveer Hasan expressed tremendous interest and as in the case of Coca Cola believed in our dream, I thank both our main sponsor Coca Cola and co-sponsor Habib Oil Mills for having been with us from the first heritage streetfest in March.


Among our other significant sponsors are Lux who provided support to our fashion events and the possibility of holding an annual Pakistan’s Fashion Week on a regular basis. Al-Karam Textile Mills contribution towards the Fashion Tribute ceremony ensured its success and its CEO Rafiq Ibrahim arranged the printing of the first fabric range based on Karachi’s historic architecture. Due to the support provided by Awais Ahmed Country Manager, Kodak and Ataullah Farooqui, CEO of Imaging Technologies we were able to hold the first International Film Festival and a photography exhibition on Karachi, along with photograph-a-historic-building programme for schools. The support of Lasmo Oil Pakistan Ltd. enabled us to pursue the core content of heritage through the international seminar and heritage on the web, while our Archives Committee chair Laila Haroon Sarfaraz’s timely contribution of Amir Nazir of Etech and Hi tech droups enabled udsto carry out our community participation programme. Due to Byram Avari’s interest we were able to avail complimentary Avari hotel accommodation for our international guests.


PIA Managing Director Ahmad Saeed Chaudhry provided support in the form of tickets for our international film festival and heritage seminar, and due to the interest of Civil Aviation Director General Air Marshal Aliuddin and Director Brigadier Tariq’s Karachi airport was opened up for us.


Others who made significant contribution are the cultural centres of the city. The British Council who became part of us due to the enthusiastic erstwhile director Richard Hardwick as did Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institut, Japan Cultural Centre and Consulate General of Japan, PACC and the Arts Council by arranging events at their premises or through support of various activities.


I thank them all, and also those who provided us support in kind, too innumerable to mention due to shortage of time.


To us our sponsors are very dear, but equally so are the institutions and organizations that opened their doors for us. Mr. Governor, it was due to your tremendous personal interest, that perhaps for the first time, all government agencies short circuited procedures to facilitate our work, giving us permissions for holding our events, putting their premises at our disposal and making arrangements for security and diversion of traffic. I would like to say a special thank you to Brigadier Akhtar Zamin, principal secretary to the Governor who always seemed to be available even though difficult times for the city provided guidance to ensure that our events were not disrupted.


I would like to thank Pakistan navy and the extremely supportive Comkar Admiral Haroon for having placed at our disposal, right from the beginning, not only their wonderful bands but the exciting venue of Manora and Maritime Museum as well.


I thank Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh for his interest, and Professor Anita Ghulam Ali for her active role in encouraging the involvement of a large number of government schools; Chief Secretary Javaid Ashraf and Secretary Department of Culture Ashiq Memon for their support, and Secreataries of Department of Education, Excise and Auqaf Departments for facilitating our work, alongwith Deputy Secretary Farzana Saleem who acted as Karavan Karachi coordinator at Sindh Secretariat. I am thankful to ex-commissioner Karachi and now DCO Shafiqur  Rehman Paracha and ex DC’s Shoib Siddiqui and Roshan who gave us permissions as soon as we sent in our requests. I would like also to thank the Nazim Naimatullah Khan and the city governmenrt for being equally supportive.


All through the many months when we were conducting our functions on the streets of Karachi, our police rendered remarkable help to us. DIG Karachi Tariq Jamil and SSP Rehmani ensured security along with General Tirmizey’s Pakistan Rangers. DIG Traffic Yamin Khan and his enthusiastic DSP’s planned and organized the diversions to create the least problems for traffic. Without their commitment to Karavan Karachi it would not have been possible to hold our events.


My heartfelt thanks are also due to the media especially those journalists and press photographers who attended our streetfests and braved the summer heat of Karachi every Sunday.


Now for the next year!

With the groundswell of goodwill that Karavan enjoys today, it is poised to act as a bridge between various sections of society in order to conserve our cultural assets and promote social bonding.



  1. Cultural heritage will remain our focus, which has proved to be a strong binding force for people from all sides of the divide.
  2. Reaching out to children and young people who responded with such enthusiasm will remain our aim.
  3. Community empowerment programme will remain a critical social dimension.



Our Annual Programme:

Briefly, we will be pursuing year long programmes consisting of monthly heritage streetfests and weekly heritage bus tours.


Proposals will be developed for the creation of heritage precincts focusing on the cleaning of buildings and their surrounding environment. We hope that assistance of the  city government and relevant agencies will be coming forth for this purpose.


We would like to see greater focus on the heritage of islands such as Manora, which we hope can be achieved with the cooperation of Comkar Admiral Haroon and Karachi Port Trust chairman Admiral Hayat.


We are keen that the success of first seafood festival is followed by the creation of a permanent Fisherman’s Wharf for serving authentic traditional sea food, alongwith the promotion of  fisher folk’s crafts and folklore.


Next year our important community participation programme will be continued with renewed vigour. Programmes involving environmental improvement and skill training along with sports and extracurricular activities for the youth will be organized.


Karavan has proved that historic buildings can prove to be an effective rallying point for creating sense of identity for the young. It therefore becomes crucial to expose our young generations to the rich cultural heritage of the province and country. We would like to declare 2002 as Karavan Year of Sindh Heritage. Under this programme camps will be set up in the interior of Sindh as well as Karachi for school children from all over Pakistan in order to familiarize them with the best kept secret of Sindh – its cultural heritage. We are fortunate to receive the blessing of the supportive Director General Department of Archaeology Saeddur Rahman for our camps at ancient sites of Makli and Moenjodaro. All the material generated at these camps: photographs, sketches, paintings and essays will be displayed during Festival 2002 in Karachi. We request your help Mr. Governor in this rather ambitious endeavour to secure effective particpation from the interior as well as other provinces.


A crucial aspect of the heritage game is the conservation of historic buildings. The largest number of buildings at risk are located in urban areas – the very same resource that can bring about a sense of identification with the city. In order not to penalize owners of these national assets, incentives and assistance are crucial for their survival. Your government has taken the first positive steps when our supportive finance minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh declared a 25% reduction in  property tax for protected heritage buildings. The establishment of a fund to provide first-aid assistance and conservation guidelines to owners of heritage buildings has now become imperative. for this purpose I announce the establishment of a Heritage Fund and request you to accept becoming its patron. I am sure this step will go a long way in saving architectural treasures for our future generations.


We declare next September as Karavan Karachi Festival 2002, when festivals will be organized based on the experience gained through this year’s events. It will be our endeavour next year to implement programmes that could not be carried out due to lack of sponsorship interest, such as Arts and Crafts streetfest and Literary Festival, alongwith publications on various aspects of Karachi.


Preparatory work for September 2002 is being undertaken for the inaugural carnival parade, a Heritage Festival, a Community Festival, a Theatre Festival, an Arts Festival, a Music Festival, a Literary Festival and a Fashion Festival.


Before concluding I would like to thank all Karavan committees who worked so hard throughout the year for the actualization of our dream. I thank Farzana Saleem, Shanaz Ramzi, Sohail Malik, Shaiyanne Malik, Zahid Khan, Afroza Bhamani, Arif Bahalim and Yasin Siddik for their extraordinary contribution. I would also like to thank Sohail Zaheer Lari, President Heritage Foundation who allowed Heritage Foundation to deviate from its committed goal of research, and publications to divert its resources to Karavan.


In offering my sincere thanks to the dynamic people of this great metropolis, I would like to reaffirm our dedication to make Karachi the focus of Pakistan.


Along with its spirit of inclusiveness the Karavan has thrived due to voluntary effort and our doors will always be open to all those who would like to join us in our endeavours.


In conclusion, Mr. Governor, there is little I can say which would convey the gratitude we all feel at Karavan for the enormous support, guidance and encouragement you have provided in our journey towards the fulfillment of our dream for cultural rejuvenation of Karachi.


I thank you all.



Speech Of H.E. Mohammedmian Soomor, Governor, Sindh

Karavan Karachi Acknowledgement Ceremony

on Monday the 5th November 2001 at 1700 hours

at Sindh Governor’s House


Some of you might be under the impression that today would be Karavan Karachi’s closing ceremony. Being aware of the enthusiasm of Heritage Wallay, I assure you that this Acknowledgement Ceremony is more to be a freshb , better and more challenging beginning – also, going beyond Karachi. Just as we launched the Karavan From these very lawns in February 2001, it may be more appropriate to term today’s function a re-launch.


Karachi has somehow got accustomed to the Karavan and its all-embracing and appealing scope of activities. Karachi now needs the Karavan, and the Karavan needs to continue and keep the city throbbing with life.


What must be commended is the way our Karavan Karachi has been able to achieve so much in such a short time. For this I must compliment Yasmeen Lari and her team of dedicated, Karachi friendly eminent professionals who have donated their time and effort for the projection of this great city. Working with singular zeal and single-minded perseverance, they made the city alive once again and encouraging others to follow in the Karavan’s footsteps.


We are grateful to Almighty to have been able to facilitate your work whenever you requested and I once again pledge my full support to your next year’s agenda.


To witness the participation and enthusiasm of so many loveable children and charming young people is indeed heartening, as is the involvement of different communities covering the whole spectrum.


Today’s gathering of people representing a cross section of the city is a commendable way to demonstrate our national solidarity as well as our resolve to combat negative and divisive forces.


Your agenda of cultural and social empowerment is beginning to yield dividends through the productive and constructive work being carried out ina large number of schools, focusing on the heritage and diverse communities of the city. I am confident that your attempts at social bonding through various heritage and community events will also yield positive results in easing the tensions that have unfortunately for long marred the peace of this great city.


I am glad to note that you have decided to make the “September Festival” an annual celebration alongwith your year-long programmes focusing on heritage, children, communities and peace and harmony.


I am happy to learn about your plans to declare the year 2002 as Karavan Karachi Year of Sindh Heritage, which will project the provincial cultural heritage on an all-Pakistan basis. By establishing camps for school children on important heritage sites such as Moenjodaro and Makli, and significant cities such as Karachi and Rohri/Sukkur is a commendable way to introduce the rich heritage of our province to Pakistan’s future generations. I am aware of the difficulties in implementing such an ambitious project. However, I assure you that Government will provide all possible support to facilitate your work. At the same time other provinces will also be requested to participate in this important programme.


The proposal of establishment of a Heritage Fund is also of great significance, in view of Karachi’s 600 buildings now on the heritage list, a fund such as this has become essential for the conservation and upkeep of historical buildings. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, the Government is not ina position to provide much funding. However, I pledge full support for the establishment of such a fund and the Government will assume its patronage. The fund will go a long way in assisting to maintain these buildings alongwith imparting the much needed training for conservation work. We seek donations and support from individuals and organizations.


I am also delighted to offer full support for Karavan Karachi’s year long programmes as well as the annual “September Festival”. The doors of the Governor’s House will be open to you whenever you need any help or assistance from us which you will find forthcoming even more readily than before. I would like to see greater participation by the private sector and semi-government organizations for the implementation of your objectives. I urge them to join the Karavan which InshAllah promises to grow bigger and bigger in the years to come.


While complimenting you and your team on your extra-ordinary achievements during these difficult times, I must also pay tribute to the spirit, exuberance, versatility and vitality of the citizens of Karachi. The Karavan has proved that this vibrant city just awaits an opportunity to excel. Government and I am sure the community will be ready to support all initiatives for the projection of the multifaceted attributes of this great city.


My prayers and best wishes are with you for the future as are those of the rest of the citizens of fair Karachi, our very own “City of Lights” . May it always remain so! May Almighty Allah bless us all.


Karachi and Sindh Zindabad

Pakistan Paindabad






Karavan Karachi promises to be the most significant cultural event Karachi has hosted. This year the people of Karachi are invited to celebrate their own city and its achievements. Heritage, art, literature, music, sports, cuisine and commerce form just some of the focal points of the activities that will culminate in a month of festivals in September 2001. The underlying principle is inclusivity and the festival aims at reaching out to people living in all areas of Karachi. 


Several programmes and activities have already begun, e.g. community participation programme with its 200 mohallah committees has taken shape; the Heritage Streetfest, a component of Heritage Festival aims at creating a mini street-festival every Sunday at identified heritage buildings, bringing in young people from all parts of the city to attend performances and workshops being organized in the street; the IT programme includes conducting a software competition in collaboration with ITCN Asia 2001 and a volunteer manned cyberfloat ( a float and a mobile cyber station) which will roam streets in all areas of Karachi familiarizing the young with computers; among sports events, the mohallah committees are organizing a host of tournaments including football, cricket, racing, sailing, cycling etc. which will culminate in final tournaments in September.


The kickoff during the month of September will be the Heritage Festival consisting of a light and sound show, exhibitions on archival material and builders of the city, paying tribute to personalities and institutions of the city, seminars and tours to historic buildings. A food festival will consist of street food parties to selected cuisine at selected places and ethnic food offerings including a sea food festival and a floating food bazaar. A Parks and Trees festival aimed at large-scale planting and nurturing trees of indigenous species, exhibitions of indigenous and special plants e.g. orchids, cacti etc., a plants travelling seminar, guidance about plants and plantations. During the Sports festival tournaments and competitions will be held all over the city which will include a variety of sports including yachting, sailing, donkey and camel races, athletics and gymnastics. Literary Festival will comprise of book and poetry readings, large book fairs all over the city and sale of books at reduced prices with Karachi as the topic; noted Karachi authors, poets and  journalists will be honoured. Music Festival aims at music events to suit the taste of young and old, classical music lovers as well as pop groups and street musicians will be performing in different parts of the city. Likewise theatre festival also aims at putting up a variety of plays —from theatre performances to street theatre and interactive talk shows which will be held at a host of venues to make the performances available to all parts of the city. Art Festival comprises exhibition of works by artists or repute, a craft fair and craftspersons at work, an exhibition of photographers consisting of photographs of the city and its people, a film festival comprising documentaries and features on VHS, public art projects which will include temporary or permanent works in the form of sculpture, murals, billboards etc.; an art seminar, exhibition of truck and billboard art; painting of a circular railway train for a tour of the city; sand castle building competitions, workshops for children during Heritage Building events etc. A shopping festival aims at putting everything in Karachi on discounted prices—making it the most attractive shopping destination. The sea festival aims at conducting maritime activities e.g. sailing, boating, visits to naval establishments including ships, trips to various islands etc.

Tours are a very important part of the festival and many tour operators under the guidance of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation are organizing tours to familiarize visitors with a host of Karachi's attributes—its beaches and marine life, its bustling traditional bazaars, its ethnic cuisine, its cultural heritage etc.


Seminars and workshops will be conducted throughout the month of September and at least one event of each festival will use a heritage building as its venue.


Outline of KK01 FESTIVAL

Pre-September 2001 Events


March 11 – August 26


Heritage Streetfests:

In front of a different set of historic buildings which received extensive Media coverage and is attended by VIP guests.

  • Karavan Karachi Signature Roll
  • Karavan Karachi Painting Programme  

June – September


Community Participation Programme:

The following programmes were conducted prior to September 2001 in 5 divisions of District West in Phase 1 of the programme. Phase 2 was in District South, Phase 3 in District East, Phase 4 in District Malir and Phase 5 in District Central. District West has a historical background of 800 years. District West comprises of 5 sub-districts Manghopir, Orangi Town, Baldia Town, SITE, Harbour. Each sub-district consists of 35-40 mohallas.


Sports Programme:

  • Football Tournaments between each mohallah team
  • Cricket Tournaments between each mohallah team
  • Cycle Race
  • Donkey Cart Race
  • Malakhra
  • Karate

Environmental Improvement and Social Uplift Programme:

  • Best House
  • Best Mohallah
  • Best Buzurg (Elderly Person)
  • Best Homemaker
  • Best Baby

Memorabilia and Other Items:

  • Tour bus for children
  • Artists’ Postcard
  • Artists’ Catalogue
  • City Posters
  • Web Insertions
  • Adopt-a-Historic Building Programme
  • Painting carriages of Circular Railway
  • Presence at Quaid-e-Azam International Airport


September 2001 Events


Carnival Parade                                                                       September 1


With a large number of floats, Heritage Streetfest participants, music groups on roads on the periphery of Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum there was a ceremony at the Mazaar with large number of dignitaries performing the ribbon cutting and the participation of spectators in large numbers.


Heritage Festival (2nd – 7th September): The first festival to start of this mega-event was the Heritage Festival in which the following activities were incorporated:

 Builders of the City Exhibition (entailed): The Builders of the City Exhibitions were held to highlight the contribution of eminent men and women belonging to the Christian, Hindu, Parsi and Muslim faiths. For these exhibitions material from archives is being collected which was exhibited during the Heritage Festival.


Heritage Streetfests on the pattern of pre-September Heritage Streetfests


Light and Sound Shows: These were held in front of historic buildings of Karachi to draw attention to the history and culture of Karachi.


Theatre: by school children


Archival exhibition: In this Exhibition all archival material which shows the development of the city and its watershed events from mid 19th century to the end of the 20th century were displayed. The material included antiquarian maps, old photographs, picture postcards, newspaper clippings and records.


Food Festival ( 5th – 9th September):

The food festival was meant to highlight the food industry in the city of Karachi and all that it has to offer to the epicurean. True to its name the food festival brought to light the cosmopolitan character of Karachi. The Food Festival consisted of an International food Mela, Karachi Food Melas at various locations, a Goan/Portugese Food Mela and a Seafood Mela and celebration of the traditional food streets of the city. In addition to these there was a Culinary Competition and a Culinary Seminar. Waiter Race?/Dinner Theatre.   


Green Festival (10th -12th September):

The Green Festival was meant to show that even a city made of concrete can have an aesthetic sense which expressed itseIf in The Green Festival which included Ikebana demonstrations and Tree Plantation at various venues. Exhibitions by Horticultural Society were held during the festival as well as Street Beautiful and Beautiful Roundabouts Competitions. An Indigenous Plant Exhibition was also held at Rangoonwala Hall.


Film Festival

The Film Festival encompassed a Film Seminar, the KaraFilm Festival which was initiated in this festival, KaraFilm Festival awards and finally a 4-day Film Workshop. 


Music Festival:

Amongst all the cultural cuisine that Karachi has to offer, Music is one of the most delectable. It was to celebrate this vast repertoire of the music of Karachi that the Music Festival was held. The music catered to all tastes as it ranged from Pop music to Classical and semi-classical to film music to folk to Qawwali to instrumentals and gave the public a chance to participate in the activity by means of Public Pop Talent Contest. The venues for  most of these functions were the heritage sites of Karachi such as Frere Hall and the Hindu Gymkhana. Classical dance performances too were a part of this Festival.


Theatre Festival (15th – 22nd September):

The Theatre Festival was the brainchild of Mr. Sohail Malik, Theatre Committee Chair. It had three components, theatre by school children and theatre performances by professional theatre companies and these were of two types: street theatre and proscenium theatre. A total of 90 theatrical performances in the month of September were organized and performed.  The theatre festival also included theatre for children and a Puppet Show.


Literary Festival (16th -20th September): Karachi Literary Mela included a book bazaar as well as book reading in Urdu and vernacular Gujrati and Sindhi literature.


Fashion Festival (20th -24th September):

The Fashion Show included a wide variety of genres of fashion as represented by the Show given below:

Bridal Show (Mohatta/Hindu Gymkhana)

Cultural Show (Manora)

Fashion Gala Evening (Frere Hall)

Fashion Presentation (KPT)

Street Fashion (Zamzama)

Most activities under this festival were held at various heritage sites namely the Mohatta Palace, Manora, Frere Hall, KPT building.


Arts Festival (23rd – 29th September):

Exhibitions in all Art Galleries. This Festival also included an Art StreetFest in which artisans exhibited and produced their crafts and work on the spot, a photographic exhibition and an Art Seminar.


Sea Carnivals (27th – 29th September): Sea Carnivals held at the  PAF Sailing Center.


Sports/Sea Festival:


Manora Festival (seafood, music, light and sound show)

Baba Bhit Festival (seafood, music, sailing boat race)

Shamspir Festival (seafood, music sailing boat race)

Island Festival (seafood, music and sailing boat race)

These Festivals were held to celebrate Karachi’s most important asset; the sea. The locations were exquisite, such as the island of Manora, with people being regaled by seafood and music and sailing boat races to show how much fun the sea can be.


Vintage Cars: A Vintage Car rally was held from the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar to Jehangir Kothari Parade on the 11th of September, 2002. 30 vintage cars participated in this race.


Grand Finale (30th September): A strip of beach was selected for the Grand Finale where a Mega Beach Mela was held with, Music Bands, Food Festivities and Giant cutouts of Historic Buildings as backdrop. It ended with a Firework display at Oyster Rocks.









How Karavan Started


  • How Karavan was Born by Shanaz Ramzi
  • Karavan to Somewhere by Sahar Ali
  • The Lady in White .. Ms. Yasmeen Lari by Shanaz Ramzi


KaravanPakistan started out as Karavan Karachi which went through several forms and transformed into a youth and community outreach arm of Heritage Foundation in order to promote heritage for a culture of peace, national integration and development.


Its activities began as KaravanKarachi in 2001 and held several heritage street fests and other culture and heritage-related events. In early 2004, with its outreach spreading to other provinces, it was re-named KaravanPakistan. The events are organized by Heritage Wallay – Friends of Heritage Foundation Pakistan



How Karavan was Born

by Shanaz Ramzi

Day: Saturday

Time: 12 noon

Venue: Mrs Yasmeen Lari’s office.


A room with a huge table and a curious combination of people seated all around it Director of British Council, Richard Hardwick, Amina Sayed of OUP, Talat Rahim of PTDC, journalists, industrialists, actors, designers, etc. As an animated discussion takes place, with everyone contributing their views vociferously, more people keep trickling in, offering to volunteer their services. Every Saturday finds a new set of faces popping into the office, wanting to know how they can be a part of the activities. If it’s not Princess Sarwat and Prince Hassan, it’s Fatima Bajia or Faizan Peerzada or Salman Alvi. The list is endless. As it should be – for the project at hand – Karavan Karachi 2001 -- merits the enthusiasm and cooperation of every Karachiite.     


Basically the brainchild of one person – Mrs Yasmeen Lari, Executive Director, Heritage Foundation – Karavan Karachi (KK) germinated as an idea for a heritage festival, to try and inculcate a sense of pride and awareness in one and all for the over 600 notified historic sites in the city. In no time, the plan had aroused the enthusiasm of everyone it was discussed with and assumed mammoth proportions, with the result that it was decided to have festivals celebrating every dimension of this multifaceted city, so as to rejuvenate the lost spirit of Karachi.


Thus, the idea of ‘Karavan Karachi – Festival 2001’ was born -- a unique and ambitious project, targeted for the month of September. A series of events in the field of heritage, sports, film, theatre, music, literature, IT, art, cuisine, shopping and fashion to name just some, will be held during the whole of September, bringing to the fore Karachi’s cultural and historical legacy as well as its innate vibrancy. In the process of celebrating the myriad facets of this wonderful city of ours, the objective is also to breathe life into the city’s depressed economic state and draw tourists from not only the rest of the country, but also from abroad.


The most significant and all-encompassing cultural event ever hosted by Karachi, what makes it all so exciting is that KK is a team effort of all citizens of the city, on a purely voluntary basis, be they professionals, administrators, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, community participants, students or retired personnel. With the blessings of the city’s administration in particular, and with the support of government agencies such as KMC, police, Civil Aviation Authority, PTDC as well as Pakistan Navy and the cultural centers of various countries, ‘Karavan Karachi’ has begun to move at a breathless pace. 


Already, the institutions and companies that have signed in their support have begun to carry out their programs under the banner of the festival. By September, it is hoped that all institutions – academic, government and commercial – will be operating under the umbrella of ‘Karavan Karachi’. The events that have been planned for the festival will be spread all across the city so as to involve one and all in the celebrations. From street festivals, pedestrian food streets and donkey cart races to mobile cyber stations, sea sports, concerts, literary readings and jazz programs, there will be something to suit everyone’s tastes. Special tourism packages are also being designed for the festival so that visitors to Karachi will now have a plethora of unique tours to choose from. In fact, for the first time tourist traffic is expected to be reversed from the northern areas of Pakistan to Karachi. Efforts are also being made to turn Karachi into a Convention City.


While September will be a month teeming with so many activities that it would not be possible for a single individual to attend all of them, the heritage building events comprise a series of mini festivals to be held every Sunday, beginning from March 11, 2001. A host of activities have been planned around a different group of historic buildings every Sunday with streets in front of these structures being designated pedestrian zones for that particular day. These mini-festivals showcase the cross cutting nature of Karavan Karachi, drawing on young people from schools across the city to participate in workshops on art, music, theatre, judo and karate; Sindh Government agencies for cleanliness, traffic rerouting and security, and Pakistan Navy’s band.


Since Karavan Karachi is all about inclusiveness, it should ideally become every Karachiite’s adopted baby. As such, whatever little that every individual and institution can do to contribute to it, would go a long way in ensuring its success. Schools are requested to not only arrange field trips for their students to at least one of the various festival sites, but also to ‘sign up’ for the Heritage Festival and participate in either the workshops or half-hour performances on stage, or both. Stalls are being given free of charge to schools for the display of their crafts and artwork. Similarly, amateur bands are welcome to register with KK to perform a couple of numbers on stage, especially their own songs on Karachi. The songs especially written and composed for Karachi will be screened, selected and then incorporated in a CD, to be released in September.


Those wishing to volunteer their services are requested to get in touch with Heritage Wallay at 5834215. The Karavan Karachi team is also looking for donations in kind, which will be used as prizes for the various competitions that will be taking place in the city under the banner of the festival. The list is available at the above number.  



Karavan to Somewhere

By Sahar Ali


Never underestimate the power of coffee. It may just prove to be the

brew that revitalizes our city, writes Sahar Ali


KARACHI: “Never accept (an invitation to) a cup of coffee at the wonderful Yasmeen Lari‚s house, because you don‚t know what you might be

getting into!”


British Council Karachi Director Richard Hardwick’s comment has become a favorite refrain in the bustling little office of architect Yasmeen Lari.


For several months now, this usually peaceful workplace has beentransformed into a cacophonous hub for the who’s who of the city. Every Saturday morning, town planners, administrators, retired politicians, educationists, adpeople, entertainers, diplomats, designers, entrepreneurs, writers, artists and a whole lot of other very

competent professionals crowd Lari’s little annex office where the coffee is as potent and free-flowing as the enthusiasm.


For this is the birthplace of Karavan Karachi. And like an extended family meeting to fuss over a newborn, Karachi’s movers and shakers have banded together for the mammoth task of trying to revitalize the city by organising a grand festival.


Karavan Karachi promises to be the most significant cultural event ever held in the city. This year, Karachiites have been invited to celebrate their own city and its achievements in architecture, art, music, theatre, film, sport, cuisine, tourism and commerce.


Karavan Karachi is a celebration of the city, a tribute to its vitality and industry, its history and culture, and most of all to the remarkable spirit of its teeming millions, who lend to Karachi‚s barren landscape their colours in every imaginable shade and tone.


“If any city can claim to be a rainbow city, it is Karachi”, quips Lari. “This is the strength of the city”, Lari continues. It’s diversity and cosmopolitan-ness. We need to celebrate it all.


The idea of a festival celebrating Karachi came to Yasmeen and two young professionals inspired by her conservation and documentation work. “We were just sitting and talking about how we wanted to promote the city. We weren’t sure what we wanted to do”, recalls Lari.


Lari and graphic designer Fariya Xaeem had worked together on the Karachi Guidebook, in which Lari presented her vast storehouse of information on the city particularly its buildings, in a guidebook format.


“The guidebook was really an attempt to reach a wider audience”, says Lari. The motive was to make more people aware of the city’s architectural treasures so that there would be stronger lobbies for their conservation.


It won over Xaeem and journalist Mohsin Sayeed and the trio agonized over what they could do to conserve these buildings. Sensing a passion within themselves, they wondered whether others would feel the same way.


And from that evolved the idea of a festival involving other equally impassioned city dwellers to focus on heritage conservation. Though it began with the thought of conserving Karachi’s architectural heritage, in true caravan style Karavan Karachi has grown rapidly to become an all-encompassing festival celebrating every aspect of the city.


“The whole thing has become so large because of the people who joined up”, says Lari, quite overwhelmed by the tremendous response to the idea. “It is really amazing how it has evolved because of the enthusiasm of people,” she says. Each individual who has joined the Karavan has brought his or her own idea, infused a new spirit into the effort. And all on a voluntary basis.


“What is extraordinary is that there has never been such a large group of professionals who have gotten together voluntarily to rejuvenate the city, to make it alive once again”, Lari points out.


“What makes it unique is the inclusiveness”, Hardwick continues. There is a deliberate attempt to involve anyone and everyone who would like to be part of this mammoth effort. Not only that, there has been consensus on the need to involve the city’s youth because it is they who will inherit the city and they must be included in all efforts that have a bearing on its future.


Karavan Karachi’s community participation programme, therefore, has become a core focus. Much of the activity has already begun with the formation of over 200 mohalla committees in District West. These are involving neighbourhoods in a series of events and competitions that reach out to everyone. Hockey and football matches, bike races, wrestling and martial arts events for the young, and best mother and

best buzurg competitions to include women and elders.


The support from the British Council has also given the whole community participation programme an education dimension and 13,000 schools all over Karachi are to be invited to participate in Karavan Karachi in an inclusive rather than competitive manner, says Hardwick. “It would be easy to organise competitions, but they tend to become exclusive. We‚re not going the standard route. We want inclusion not competition,” Hardwick points out.


“It has gone beyond a festival,” Lari adds. The potential of doing something useful in these communities is also materialising, something that will go beyond September 2001, the festival month.In fact, although it was intended to run during September, KaravanKarachi is already on its way. As more people become aware of the event

and are infected with the spirit and enthusiasm, events throughout the year are being latched on to Karavan Karachi Festival 2001.


Collaborative efforts are afoot, for instance, between Karavan Karachi and next month’s infotech event ITCN 2001 Asia. A concurrent software competition as well as a mobile cyber station to take computer awareness

to the masses is being organised.


“We want Karavan Karachi to be an umbrella under which a whole range of activities take place. That doesn’t mean Karavan Karachi has to organize the event (or reap the benefits of that effort), Lari points out. No effort to try and rejuvenate the city can be a success unless it brings about an economic improvement. As Lari puts it: Revitalization of the city is the basis for economic rejuvenation, and vice versa.


That’s where the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation comes in. “Karavan Karachi is a Godsend for PTDC”, pronounces PTDC’s lively general manager Talat Rahim. While traditionally tourism traffic has flown from south to north, Rahim says Karavan Karachi has given her a chance to divert traffic from north to south and bring in tourists from upcountry. “It is basically a tourism event”, says Rahim, who is actively promoting Karavan Karachi Festival 2001 both at home and abroad. She is busy designing special tours that will allow people to see places in Karachi that have not been visited.


The tourism highlight, of course, will be Karachi’s beautiful buildings. With the patronage of the Government of Sindh, 60 of the city’s most historically and architecturally significant buildings have been chosen to be highlighted during the festival. The Heritage Foundation, an NGO founded by Yasmin Lari which is at the forefront of all heritage activities within Karavan Karachi, is planning a series of mini

festivals that will kick off later this week and continue till September. Each Sunday events are being planned around a different group of historic, notified buildings. Roads in front of these structures will be pedestrianised for a day to allow for activities like tree-planting, street theatre, musical performances, martial arts demos, an art workshop, art exhibition, a sound and light show unraveling the history of the building, and a mobile cyber station that provides hands-on information about the city’s architectural heritage from Heritage Foundation archives.


Rahim believes there will be a ripple effect all over the country, and in many associated trades. The hospitality industry, shopping, local arts and crafts, transport and tourism will all improve their productsand infrastructure to cater to both Karachiites and visitors.


“We’ve chosen the month with care”, Hardwick points out, for in September the weather will allow the use of Karachi’s beaches for many outdoor activities and events like water sports, beach bazaars and turtle-watching.


The list of events scribbled on the walls of Lari’s office includes a vintage car rally, nautanki, indigenous plant exhibition, donkey cart race, story-telling, culinary conference, walking tours, night cricket, floating food bazaar and film festival.


Such will be the uniqueness and diversity of Karavan Karachi Festival 2001.



The Lady in White....Ms Yasmeen Lari

By Shanaz Ramzi


Almost invariably clad in a simple white suit, Yasmeen Lari strikes you as a sweet natured, docile lady, who might be past her prime, but is more focused in achieving her goal in life than many younger men and women. She certainly doesn’t strike you a super-charged, motivating force that would create such a stir in Karachi this past year, particularly in the month of September.


The minute you walk into Lari’s office, you get an inkling of the kind of activity that goes on at Heritage Foundation, the umbrella organization under which the Heritage Wallay have been conducting their activities this year.


Born in Dera Ghazi Khan, Lari was brought up in Punjab, where her father was serving as an ICS officer. Living in Lahore till the mid 50s, she did her early schooling from Queen Mary’s, then studied at Abdistan-e-Suffiya before joining Kinnaird College. Hardly had Lari spent a couple of years at the college, when her father, who had become the chief executive of PIA, decided to move to England, so Lari continued her education there.


Transferring herself to Oxford School of Architecture, Lari graduated from there, meanwhile also becoming the mother of a daughter and returned to Pakistan in 1964. With a supportive husband and father-in-law, Lari set up her own practice in Karachi, an unusual phenomena for a woman those days. Lady Luck was smiling on her, for her father had retired and started his own business, which involved the setting up of factories. Lari got the break she needed, and her first assignments became for the family.


Although, over the years Yasmeen Lari has designed a number of important commercial projects, including the PSO House, Finance and Trade Centre and the ABM Ambro Bank, she has concentrated her energies on low-cost housing schemes. She is particularly thrilled with her design of a village in mud, as she has always favored indigenous materials and low cost solutions to everything. The other housing scheme she speaks of is PNS Dilawar, which was originally supposed to be a multi-storeyed high-rise and she suggested instead apartments with more open spaces.


It was in the 60s, when Lari had visited Multan, that her interest in heritage had taken root and she realized that she didn’t have a strong understanding of her own cultural heritage. In order to make her work relevant to its surroundings she knew she had to have a deeper knowledge of the country’s architectural history and simultaneously, “unlearn” a lot of the things she had been taught in England. However, much to her chagrin, she discovered there was no proper documentation and research that could help her and other architects in their work.


Hence, research became an integral part of Lari’s work, just as much for her own personal development as to help others, and the very first documentation that she did was of old town Thatta, in 1980. With the whole family pitching in – Sohail with his writing and research experience along with his photography skills, as well as her two sons and daughter -- the stage was set for the Heritage Foundation to establish itself in1981. Lari started dividing her time between documentation and research, and architecture, becoming more and more selective about the latter.


It was not until 1986 that Lari produced her first work on documenting Karachi, beginning with the buildings on Zaibunnissa Street. From the early ’90s The Heritage Foundation started working systematically on the buildings of the city. Meanwhile, it also effectively made its presence felt by creating a furor for the conservation of the Quaid’s House and the Hindu Gymkhana that were to be demolished. Their efforts bore fruit and the 600 buildings documented by the Foundation were declared protected by law. So, much of the eighties was spent in conservation work and documentation, giving way also to books like ‘The Dual City – Karachi during the Raj’.


Her ‘Karachi Guide Book’ was published, which while focusing on Karachi’s historical buildings, shows for the first time how much Karachi has to offer to its visitors. What Lari didn’t realize at the time was that the book would create a stir in more ways than one.


For the guide book became the taking off point for Karavan Karachi. Says Yasmeen Lari “I had just finished the book and wanted to do nothing more than concentrate on more writing when Mohsin Saeed excitedly approached me. He had read the book and wanted to do something to expose the various aspects of our multi-faceted city. I agreed and thought that all I would be required to do would be to furnish background material and maybe provide secretariat facilities – I had no idea I would get so deeply involved or that the project would become so gigantic. I talked about it to various people and they were all enthusiastic about the idea, jumped on the bandwagon and Karavan Karachi more or less evolved.”         


Hence, July 2000 not only saw the publication of the Travel Guide, it also sowed the seeds for what was to become the biggest festival Karachi has witnessed in its history. “We came up with ambitious plans to hold streetfests every Sunday outside a historical site as a forerunner to the actual month-long festival in September, and although we may not have held every event you see marked on the charts here, we did accomplish a lot…. and didn’t want to restrict it to any class, creed or age group of people, and that was our greatest success. Anyone who volunteered was more than welcomed to join the Karavan, and our activities were diverse enough to include every layer of society.


It was also a first for street theatre groups to be performing together, and for so many theatre groups to perform at the Arts Council, due to the efforts of Sohail Malik and Arif Bahalim. Karavan Karachi also initiated the first Fashion Week in the country, thanks to Shaiyanne Malik and for the first time a tribute ceremony was held, acknowledging the contributions of the people in the fashion world. Fisheries Harbor also held a seafood festival for the first time as a parallel event. We did however, manage to get funding for the controversial Karafilm festival, a subcommittee of our Art committee, spear-headed by Durriya Kazi.


Our other objective of holding the Karavan was of course, the city’s heritage, which remained the core behind all our activities. We laid the foundation for creating awareness about heritage and a feeling for Karachi and in this we were greatly helped by the media.


One would have thought that after such a hectic year, in which so much was achieved, Yasmeen Lari would want a break from activity. Far from it. The Karavan Karachi team already has a long year planned out as they feel that the city is now ready to appreciate its historical legacy.


One gets exhausted just hearing about Yasmeen Lari’s ambitious plans for the future but one must admit her boundless energy and enthusiasm is contagious. Let’s hope she can continue the excellent work she has started.