Haleji diaries

Haleji diaries


The enchanted lake is considered a paradise of migratory birds

Haleji diaries

KARACHI: For a writer or a poet, nothing is comparable to the bank of a river or a lake to craft some beautiful verses. For the poet who wants to look deep into nature, or the researcher who craves meditation, Haleji Lake is the right spot. The beauty of this natural spot stuns the literary nerd and inspires meaningful compositions.

On one foggy evening recently, this writer started his two-wheeler and set out for a journey to take in the scenic beauty of Haleji Lake that is located in Thatta, 80km away from Karachi.

Haleji Lake is an ideal spot for anyone, be it writers, poets, naturalists or simply people who want to experience nature. Besides the calmness that the lake offers, the surroundings covered by beautiful trees and chirping birds are pleasing. The lake also hosts migratory birds and other endangered species, if someone wants an escape from the busy life of Karachi. Simply put, no other place is comparable.

After reaching Gharo, one has to move five kilometres from National Highway to reach the lake; the cold weather would add to the beauty and calmness the traveller yearns for.

Various water birds including pelicans, flamingoes, white-eyed pochard visiting Haleji have been considered as threatened avifauna under the 2003 IUCN Red List of threatened species. Furthermore, the marsh crocodile and monitor lizards, colloquially known as Goh, found at wetlands are included in the second schedule of protected species list of Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1972. The enchanted lake is considered a paradise of migratory birds where newly constructed rest houses are also available.


It seems though as the government departments are not interested in keeping the beauty of the historical lake preserved. The approach road is reportedly in a very bad condition and there is no upkeep at all at the lake.

“I visit here to meet our special guests, the migratory birds from Siberia,” commented Ikhlaq Ahmed, who visited Haleji Lake from Karachi.

He further said that there are different small ponds and bushes which are a sanctuary for different endangered species. He added, “I hope the government of Sindh may change its priorities for keeping these treasures in good shape.”

Indus Tourism Club president Mujahid Hussain Shah while speaking to Bol News said that Haleji Lake was once an ideal resting spot for a large number of migratory birds coming from colder regions of Central Asia.

“It is a spot where a lot of birds come particularly from the Siberian tundra and is famously known as a bird-watchers’ paradise. The lake is still an outstanding habitat for a number of migratory and resident waterfowl and non-aquatic common birds, marsh crocodile, monitor lizards and a variety of fish.”

Up to 1999 at Haleji Lake, 223 different species of avifauna have been recorded, he revealed. “Thereafter the number of water birds is decreasing year by year. I appeal to the government to [maintain] the beauty of Haleji Lake so that bird watchers and nature lovers keep visiting here and explore the beauty of Sindh.”


He also pointed out that the rest houses are a bit expensive and there is no roadside hotel or other resting place to provide food and comfort to the visitors. “It is my humble request that they establish hotels or invite the private sector to run affairs of Haleji Lake.”

Where does the problem lie?

Sindh Wildlife Conservator Javaid Mahar while speaking to Bol News said the Haleji Lake occupying an area of 6.58 square miles (1,704 hectares) was built in 1943 to supply water for British troops stationed at Karachi.

He said that this famous wetland is facing problems because fresh-water entry was stopped. “Therefore it changed its ecological characteristic and turned unhospitable for migratory and resident birds. Wetland experts and naturalists believe that the causes of bio-degradation of Haleji Lake are water shortage during the past few years as well as eutrophication and anthropogenic disturbance.”

They also believe that alignment of RBOD passing close to the lake deteriorated its ecological balance, he added. “This needs complete ecological evaluation.”

He also appealed to the government to ensure release of fresh water before the arrival of winter migratory birds. “The government also needs to make arrangements for spreading cereals for birds, providing them protection, release of fresh water fish stocks, renovation of Haleji Lake, an information centre and plantation of native trees.”

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