Karachi's torched Nishat Cinema up for sale
The charred building that once was the bustling Nishat Cinema has been put on sale, virtually bringing the curtains down on the 66-year-old iconic theatre in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi.
Karachi: The charred building that once was the bustling Nishat Cinema has been put on sale, virtually bringing the curtains down on the 66-year-old iconic theatre in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi.
The British-era structure on the busy M A Jinnah road was put on sale by its owners in an advertisement in the newspapers today.
"The journey of entertaining millions at Karachi's prominent landmark, the glorious Nishat Cinema has now come to the end," the ad reads.
The iconic building weathered arson attacks and vandalism during the violent protests by angry mobs over the screening of the controversial film 'Innocence of Muslims' in 2012.
Nadeem Mandviwalla, a well-known exhibitor and distributor who is on the Madviwalla Estate which has decided to sell the Cinema, said he remained heartbroken until today over the arson attacks.
"It was sheer vandalism and till today the government has heard our pleas to help us rebuild this historic site which has so much nostalgia attached to it," he said.
The Cinema, which had many a housefull shows since its inception in 1948, is now just a charred building.
Two other nearby Cinemas vandalised during the attacks have been rebuilt and are thriving on business generated by screening of Indian films in Pakistan.
Mandviwalla said these theatres were not completely burnt as Nishat was situated on a vulnerable spot. Rallies and protests were huge on the M A Jinnah road, he said.
"We don't have any guarantee it will not happen again so why invest so much money on rebuilding it," he said.
He said what had hurt him was that when the mob was on rampage and damaging the cinema, yet the police did not intervene.
"I would agree to even now rebuild Nishat if the government bans processions and rallies on M A Jinnah road and declares it a Red zone," said Mandviwalla.
Once buzzing with people, Nishat is another structure projecting the horror of a hostile aggression, with no sign of the glory.