The building stands on the original site of Government House in Karachi, which was constructed in the year 1843 by Sir Charles Napier when the British annexed Sindh.
The old Government House was originally built by Sir Charles Napier for his own use but the Government of India bought it from him when he left in 1847 after which it was occupied by Commissioner of Sindh. Then it was known as official residence of the Commissioner of Sindh.
The construction of present Governor House started in year 1936. The first Governor of Sindh Sir Lancelot Graham laid foundation stone on 2nd of November 1939. At the Foundation / laying Ceremony Sir Lancelot Graham expressed need for a new House as the previous Government House (Napier’s Government House) was in dilapidated condition and no longer safe for habitation.
The new building was expected to cost seven hundred thousand rupees and was to be completed in two years. In year 1939 Independence Movement was on high pitch when Sir Lancelot Graham came to live in it. It was thought fit by the Governor and the Government of India that a simple opening ceremony should be held instead of a grand inauguration.
After Sir Lancelot Graham, Sir Hugh Dow and Sir Frances Mudie ruled Sindh from here. On 7th August 1947, the Father of the Nation,Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah resided in this monumental and prestigious abode till he breathed his last on 11th September 1948.
RT RUSSEL, renowned architect of his time and an official consultant of the Government of India designed the building. Local Gizri dressed stone was used for masonary and plinth, Dholpur stone was brought from Bruli. The design conceived an imposing two-story building with dressed stone and RCC beams and slabs. A grand mansion, it was set amid a large estate, measuring 32 acres of land and designed in a U plan form.
Every morning a smart contingent of guards hoist the national flag and the bugle sounds. The building contains three wings. The suite occupied by Quaid-e-Azam and Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah is called Royal Suite, which is used by visiting Heads of State, Government and other VVIPs. The Darbar Hall often appears in the national press and electronic media where oath taking ceremonies are held. Darbar Hall contains a historic throne which was specifically made for King Edward VII during his tour of India as Prince of Wales in 1876 and was also used by Her Majesty Queen Mary during the coronation Darbar of King Emperor George the Vth at Delhi in 1911. This hall was basically a ballroom, which was also utilized for public audience. Tall trees and lush green lawns surround the building. The main lawn and terrace are part of our history. It was here on the terrace that oath taking ceremony of the Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah took place, installing him as the first Governor General of Pakistan. On this very terrace the Governor-Generals, the Presidents and the Governors of Sindh have been taking salutes on national days as the contingents of guards march past.
A priceless relic as exhibited near the entrance to Darbar Hall is a piece of Ghilaf-e-Ka’aba donated by late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, which is encased in a glass frame.
The name of the present Governor’s House changed many times. The rank and status of one that came to live or work in it necessitated it. During the period of stay of the Quaid-e-Azam, it was known as the Governor General’s house and continued to be called so till 26 March 1956, when Governor General Iskandar Mirza was elected first President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The House thereafter began to be called President’s House. After July 1970, the name was changed to Governor’s House once One Unit was dissolved and the Provinces revived. The House contains portraits of the Governor Generals, Presidents who lived here or served as Governor’s of Sindh.