Gora Qabaristan is one of the prominent landmarks of the sprawling port city of Karachi denoting the legacy of the colonial era. In Urdu Gora Qabaristan literally means 'cemetery of the white'. Located just off Shahra-e- Faisal, the main artery of this mega city, it spans over 20 acres of land and has been a revered place for Christians for the past two centuries. Earmarked for the British originally it is now open for burial of the local Christians as well.

20th century, graves were made of marbles, imported from Italy. The architects also came from Italy to carve sculptures and crucifixes on these graves.

“This graveyard is two centuries old. At the beginning it was managed by the British government and to bury British citizens. That is why it was called Gora Qabaristan", said Anwar Sardar Khan, Secretary, Christian Cementary Board, while talking this scribe.

He said that in the 19th century, the graves were made of stones, brought in from different areas of Karachi. These heavy stones were moved in manually as no mechanical devices were available then, he added. "We fail to understand how such heavy stones were brought here at that time when machinery was not available. How they built these structures. None of the builders is alive to tell us the story, nor is there any other first hand account", Mr Anwar said. He said: "We have heard that craftsman from Italy used to come here to build the graves. The construction is not local. Such graves are not made here anymore”.

There are two rows of graves run parallel to each other. These belong to Polish citizens. After the German invasion on Poland, during the second world war some 30,000 affected people fled their homeland and found refuge in Karachi. Of those, 58 Polish later died and were buried here. The Consulate of Poland has raised a monument in their memory. The names of all 58 polish individuals are displayed on this monument.

There is a very elegant stone canopy over a grave of a Lady Phyllis Louse Lawrence, who was the wife of the then Collector of Karachi, Sir Henry Lawrence. The writing on her grave gives a brief history of her life. She was married to Sir Lawrence in 1899 and had three children. Lady Lawrence was a marvelous horse rider this very passion cost her, her life when she fell from her horse during a race and died in 1912.

It is of a British lady, Phylis Louse Lawrence who died on June 30, 1912, after falling during horse riding. The British Consulate still takes care of this tomb and its people often visit it.

Nazeer, who is a gravedigger said that he had been working here for 45 years. "At least 60 to 70 bodies are brought here every month. Some days there are none and on some days up to three or four bodies arrive", further informed Nazeer.

Unidentified people come here at night and steal statues. Such thefts are rampant. They have broken the heads and wings of these precious statues. Such graves are not built here anymore. theses structures are not being protected now.

"This graveyard is a historical heritage. But it is regrettable that it is not respected. However, the government has curbed thefts from the graveyard to a great extent", said Lal Deen, a senior Member of Christian Cementary Board.

But the area all around it is being encroached upon. Once there was a vast space here. These centuries old graves are now being pillaged. There is a lack of enough security especially in the darkness of the night as no electricity is available. Besides, some elements purposely damage the crucifixes and sculptures. Gora Qabaristan has a legacy of its own. It is a key heritage site of Karachi where history is engraved. Hence it is the responsibility of the heritage conservation department to preserve the history that lies there in.