For some reason, whenever I hear or read the term ‘Freemason’, the X-Files theme starts to play in my head. Even the slight mention of the term makes you go into full conspiracy mode. Much of that has to do with all the New World Order and Illuminati related conspiracy theories according to which Freemasons are secretly ruling the world.
I have my doubts over the legitimacy of this theory but nonetheless, I’ve always been curious about secret societies. And no, Dan Brown books have nothing to do with my interest in this regard. I was into this stuff before it was ‘cool’. So, when I got to know that there is a Freemason Lodge right here in Karachi, my curiosity got the best of me.
For those of you aren’t familiar, “Freemasons” or simply “Masons” are part of a fraternal organization that dates back to the 15th century.
Some say that the organization has its origins even before that, dating back to the time when the Temple of Solomon was built. But, let me spare you all the speculative histories about the movement. The Society has gained notoriety over the years due to its secretive outlook and ajeeb o ghareeb rituals. The creepy symbolism doesn’t help its case either. A lot of influential personalities have also been part of the Freemasons fraternity including the founding fathers of America. That’s one of the main reasons as to why people believe that they are ruling the world.
The Freemason Lodge in Karachi is located near Abdullah Haroon Road Saddar
There is nothing unique about the building from the outside. It’s one of the many structures from the colonial era found in Saddar. What I mean to say is that, the lodge is hiding in plain sight. Considering that it’s a place where supposed “devil worshippers” hatched out world domination plans over cocktails, I guess it’s understandable why the lodge isn’t recognizable at first glance.
Inside you can see different plates hung in the entrance hall that has Masonic inscriptions on them
It isn’t as creepy as it sounds. It’s basically a list of all the members along with their ranks in the Freemason fraternity. Most of the names are of the goras with some of them possibly being in the British Army. It’s really hard to decipher what is written on these plates due to the gothic-inspired font. I can see some of the names that are of the locals.
The building is now an office of sorts for the Sindh Wildlife Conservatory.
Chalo, at least its being used to save animal lives rather than promoting ritualistic sacrifices.
Given the history of the building, I was interested in finding out the perspective of the people that work there. Well, I was a bit surprised to learn that you can just enter the building freely. I mostly wanted to talk to a person that could give me insight on the history and what not. Instead, I was given a runaround. Everyone is like ‘aap unn sahab sey baat karley’. For a minute I thought that it was still being run by the Freemasons and this was just a test of some sorts. Much to my dismay, it was like any other sarkari daftar where they make you go around in circles before any actual work is done.
Finally, we were able to meet this one guy that worked there. Pretty decent chap. He gave me a brief history of the lodge:
Apparently, the building was inaugurated in 1914.
The local population that did not speak English during the colonial era referred to the lodge as ‘Jadoo Ghar‘ and there used to be several meetings there at the time.
The Freemasons were first banned in Pakistan during 1959.
However, the lodge continued to operate well after that before they were completely disbanded during 1972 under the Bhutto regime. Much of that has to do with the all the lore surrounding Freemasonry, that they are working under a sinister agenda. Other than Karachi there are lodges also present in Lahore and even Peshawar.
Suffice to say, my trip to the Freemasons Lodge in Karachi wasn’t as stellar as I thought it would be.
And, maybe that’s a good thing? After all, we don’t want all that ‘jadoo tona’ and ‘shaitani ibadat’ around us.
If you know anything about the history of Freemasons in Pakistan, or have rishtaydar who are a part of the notorious fraternity, please let us know in the comments section below.