The Ministry

     HQ Northern Command of British Indian Army was shifted to Rawalpindi in 1849. Setting up of Military Accounts Office was necessitated to manage the accounts of large forces employed in this Command. Consequently, a building was constructed on Mackson Road, later Adamjee Road, for ‘CMA-Western Circle’ which was completed in three years 1885-1888. The staff working in building mostly came from Calcutta thus becoming the basis for its commonly used name ‘Calcutta Daffar’. The building continued to be used by the Military Accounts Department upto 1966 when, with the establishment of Capital in Islamabad, the Ministry of Defence was shifted from Karachi to this building.

STATISTICS

i.

Year of Construction

 

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1885-1888

ii.

Construction agency                   

 

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Military Engineering Services (MES)

iii.

Cost of Construction

 

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Rs. 230,573/- at 08 rupees 0 anna and 09 paisa, while prevalent rate was 02 rupees 10 anna and 0 paisa

ARCHITECTURE

     The building was designed on ‘Gothic ‘Architecture also known as “French Art’. Its features include the pointed Arches, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress. This architecture is most familiar for ecclesiastical (Great Cathedrals, Abbeys and Churches) in Europe as well as the architecture of Castles, Town Halls, Guild Halls, and Universities.

THE CONSTRUCTION

     The building was constructed with bricks measuring 28x15x9 cm to 30x14x10 cm with interstices of about 1.5 cm which were not produced by local kilns but by a specialized offsite enterprise. For supervision of each and every brick made, an English Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of MES pitched his tent besides a specially built Kiln in the vicinity of a Rawalpindi locality known as ‘Jhanda Chichi’. Over the years the original façade of building got dilapidated/disfigured due to climate and modifications etc. The original bricks were masked due to paint/white wash etc. The same has been redone and the building brought to its original façade.

     The restoration and renovation work of the building was started in 2011, by hiring craftsmen from Bahawalpur. These craftsmen were from those few families who possess the skill of the art of this traditional construction in the country. The present outlook of the building is an evidence of their skills and hard work. The restoration/renovation work was completed in June, 2014.