In Pakistan, December 25 is a day of celebration; it marks the birth anniversary of Mr Jinnah as well as Christmas. On this day, Fatima Jinnah Road in Saddar bustles with activity as worshippers head to Saint Andrew’s Church.
Serene Saint Andrew’s… Despite the cacophony that defines Saddar, Saint Andrew’s Church emanates serenity. Surrounded by verdant lawns spread over two acres, this Scottish church opened on the last day of 1868; it was designed by T.G. Newnhan in the Gothic style. One characterising feature of the Church are its windows. Ten clerestory windows adorn each side; an 18-feet wide rose window opens up its southern end, and a five-light window lights up the northern end. The church has an impressive spire perched on a tower that reaches a height of 135 feet, and when you gaze at it, you will also see the minaret of a nearby mosque.
Merry Christmas… On Christmas Eve, the Church is packed to its 400 seat capacity, as worshippers enter it through an octagonal porch for the Christmas service. As clocks chime the midnight hour, candles are lit and hymns emanate throughout the church’s nave which is 100 feet in length and 56 feet wide. The following day, Christmas prayers are held with equal fervour.
Phones, appliances and more… A few minutes away from the quiet church is Electronics Market – Karachi’s largest wholesale market, where you can find every imaginable kind of electronic appliance or gadget – be it a smartphone, an ice-cream maker, an espresso machine or refrigerators, air-conditioners and televisions – at bargain prices.
The real estate take… Standalone shops can be found in abundance in this part of Saddar; retail space in low and high-rise buildings has gained traction in the last five years. Residential property options are restricted to apartments; many are being repurposed as retail outlets. Property prices and rentals increase by nearly 25% annually.
In a nutshell… Despite the chaos it is surrounded by, Saint Andrew’s retains an air of serenity – not just on Christmas, but all year round.
– Ayesha Shaikh
First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 21, 2014.