Sind Club

by Pakistan - پاکستø§Ù† July. 22, 2007 12504 views

Sind Club was an exclusive club for the Europeans, and natives were not allowed inside, almost till the independence of Pakistan in 1947. A competition was held to select the best design for the club. Richard Burton had warned against the use of Gothic architecture for the club building. Having seen Frere Hall he had said: “the Veneto-Gothic, so fit for Venice, so unfit for Karachi. It is to be hoped that the new club will not adopt Veneto-Gothic.” Since limited funds were available for the new club building, a design prepared by a committee member, Le Mesurier, was chosen. When completed, Le Mesurier's building was considered a “princely residence”. The first of the Sind Club buildings, which now houses the ladies bar and the dining room, was designed in a southern Italian style. The building suits comfortably in its spacious grounds, its facade employing simple arcading which is composed of semi-circular openings on the ground and first floors, and terminates in pitched roofs.

The other blocks, which were constructed later, generally follow the Indo-Italianate style of the original structure. The club buildings are provided with a generous back set from the road, creating a feeling of exclusiveness and inaccessibility, even though the architectural style is informal and does not rely on pediments and porticoes for effect. The Sind Club was exclusively a men's club. Women were only allowed in to attend a ladies' dinner held every two months and the celebrated Sind Club Ball organized once a year. Till 1950 when the Prime Minister of Pakistan lived across the road, the Sind Club was still used almost exclusively by Europeans. The sign “Natives and dogs not allowed” was removed only a day after Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah took his oath as Governor-General of Pakistan on August 14th, 1947.

The first Pakistani members joined the club in 1952. These included Syed Wajid Ali, Colonel Iskander Mirza and Cowas Rustom Fakirje. It took almost two decades before a Pakistani, Masud Karim, became president of the club in 1965. Since then, however, many of Pakistan's social elite have become members. Facilities at the Sind Club include a swimming pool; tennis and squash courts; a walking track; a billiards room; an outdoor barbecue; a full bakery; a sauna; guest rooms and a newly built fitness center. Although the province of Sindh is now spelled Sindh, the Sind Club still uses the old spelling given by the British.

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Location: Abdullah Haroon Road, Karachi

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