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Zaibunnisa Street



Zaibunnisa (Zebunnissa, Zaib-un-Nissa) Street is a famous street in Karachi, Pakistan.
Located in the neighborhood of Saddar, in the heart of the city, it is one of Karachi's oldest and historic streets.
It was originally known as Elphinstone Street, in honor of a British official Monstuart Elphinstone (1779–1859), who played an important role in India. He was the first British ambassador to Afghanistan, and helped defeat the Peshwas in Maharashtra, both before 1820. He served as Governor of Bombay Presidency – of which Karachi was a part until the 1930s. In 1970, its name was changed to 'Zaibunnisa Street' by the government of Karachi, in honor of Zaib-un-Nissa Hamidullah, an influential Pakistani journalist and writer.[1]
Zaibunnisa Street is one of Karachi's most renowned shopping districts. In addition, some consulates and hotels are also found on the street. It is one of the city's most vital arteries, and, as such, is subjected to a lot of pollution from transport. Before the population and pollution explosions in Karachi, it was called Karachi's Piccadilly Circus by foreigners, as it is lined with historic colonial buildings from the British Raj era.
Since Saddar does not house a size-able residential population, it has suffered in financial terms from the development of other shopping districts in areas which have a significant residential population as people no longer have to travel to Saddar in order to purchase goods. The jewellery and the men's footwear markets have been particularly affected since these make up most of Zaibunnisa street's shops. Despite this, major stores of Karachi such as Bata, Chottani Jewelers, English Boot House, Sputnik Footwear and Fitrite continue to have a presence in the market, although business seems to be declining.
 
There are large sections of Karachiites who feel that the city administration of Karachi should utilize the historical architecture of Zaibunnisa Street as leverage in order to revive the market. Shopkeepers feel that the city administration should give the street's severely deteriorating architecture some much needed attention and organize a marketing campaign in order to attract people back to Karachi's most cultural shopping district.
 
Being an important road joining Garden (and surrounding areas) with Shahrah-e-Faisal, Zaibunnisa Street suffers from persistent traffic. This too, has discouraged former shoppers from visiting Saddar since it is very difficult to find parking spots. Local businessmen have requested the city government to either organize parking in nearby areas (and shuttle services for shoppers) or making Zaibunnisa Street a pedestrian-only zone which could help re-attract customers from all over the city.
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