The extensive task of replacing the deteriorating marble at Mazar-e-Quaid, the final resting place of the Father of the Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is in progress now. The original Nowshera Pink Marble, which was installed more than five decades ago, had developed cracks over the years due to continuous exposure to sun and harsh weather conditions.
The restoration includes the replacement of marble on the entrance and exit doors, as well as the stairs encircling the dome of Mazar-e-Quaid. Back in 1968, during the renovation and beautification of the mausoleum of the Quaid-e-Azam, Nowshera Pink Marble was used for the outer area of the dome. However, the passage of time, relentless sunlight, and varying temperatures took their toll on the marble. The six steps on all sides of the dome leading to the grave often required additional filling or grouting.
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With the birthday anniversary of the Quaid-e-Azam on December 25 approaching, the replacement work is proceeding apace. Jawad Ahmad, Deputy Resident Engineer of Mazar-e-Quaid, said that obtaining the same marble used five decades ago was a formidable challenge but was achieved through perseverance.
“Nowshera Pink Marble was sourced from Karachi’s largest marble market after careful selection from a wide array,” he said. “The replacement work is currently underway, with polishing scheduled for the next phase,” he added. “Removing the old three-inch-thick marble requires double the effort from skilled artisans, who are using machines to match the previous size.”
The foundation stone of the mausoleum was laid by then president Ayub Khan on July 31, 1960. It was later inaugurated by Yahya Khan on Jan 18, 1971. During the tenure of former president Pervez Musharraf, white marble steps were installed around the tomb.
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Jawad Ahmad also mentioned that routine operations, such as regular marble cleaning and the carving of decorative elements like plants, are carried out throughout the year due to the continuous visits from both local citizens and foreign delegates who pay homage to the Quaid-i-Azam. “Special decorations are reserved for national festivals,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th2023.