The uproar began after an image was posted by Twitter user Amber Danish showing that a mural depicting Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (Two Nation Theory), Nawab Liaquat Ali Khan (first Prime Minister of Pakistan), Hasrat Mohani (writer, poet and freedom fighter), and Tipu Sultan (18th-century Muslim ruler of Mysore who fought the British).
The pictures were accompanied by text in Urdu that read: "If the nation's soil is fertile, we will make it better".
"They already had an identity before gaining this new identity; they were citizens of Pakistan before the creation of Pakistan."
The combination of images claimed that the mural had now been painted over. It further stated that if, after renovation, the mural is recreated in its original form, then good.
There were a slew of messages reacting to the image on social media.
Some condemned the act.
Some thought it was politically motivated.
Some said that not the pictures but the hate should be wiped out.
Another asked that they may have been erased from the walls but can they be erased from our minds?
Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan's Sindh Assembly Member Sadaqat Hussain also condemned the act.
Member Sindh Assembly @SadaqatHussain_ has strongly condemned the erasure of the image of the founder of Pakistan by Karachi University and demanded an inquiry from the government of Pakistan#نہ_مٹینگے_دل_سے_نہ_دیوار_سے@CMShehbaz @OfficialDGISPR @ABMPildat @Conv_KMS pic.twitter.com/zrE3mAeYun
— Mubeen khan (@MubeenK190) June 26, 2023
Another equated the removal of the mural as an assault on cultural heritage and roots.
Did the university remove the mural?
When The Friday Times reached out to authorities at the University of Karachi, an official with knowledge of the matter confirmed that the mural had indeed been painted over.
The official, who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said that currently renovation works are underway at the Arts and Sciences Faculty Auditorium in the Arts Faculty located opposite the main Administration Block of the university.
The official said that the auditorium had fallen to disrepair and that during a meeting of the university's syndicate had earlier this year, it was decided to renovate the auditorium.
Further, he said that the syndicate had decided to dedicate the auditorium to the four Chinese teachers of the Confucius Institute who had been killed in a targeted suicide bomb last year.
When asked if the mural would be recreated, the official said that no decision in this regard had been taken yet, adding that it is likely once renovation works are completed, a review committee will be formed to decide what to do.
The official added that there was no time frame currently available on when the renovations would be complete.