Karachi (, Urdu: کراچی; Sindhi: ڪراچي) is the largest city, main seaportand the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million Karachi is the most populous city in the country, one of the world’s largest cities in terms of population and also the 10th largest urban agglomeration in the world. It is Pakistan’s premier centre of banking, industry, economic activity and trade and is home to Pakistan’s largest corporations, including those involved in textiles, shipping, automotive industry, entertainment, the arts, fashion, advertising,publishing, software development and medical research. The city is a major hub of higher education in South Asia and the wider Muslim world.
Karachi is ranked as a Beta world city. It was the original capital of Pakistan until the construction of Islamabad and is the location of the Port of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim, two of the region’s largest and busiest ports. After the independence of Pakistan, the city population increased dramatically when hundreds of thousands of Urdu-speaking migrants or Muhajirs from India and other parts of South Asia came to settle in Karachi.
The city is located in the south of the country, along the coastline meeting the Arabian Sea. It is spread over 3,527 km2 (1,362 sq mi) in area, almost four times bigger than Hong Kong. It is locally known as the “City of Lights” (روشنیوں کا شہر) and “The bride of the cities” (عروس البلاد) for its liveliness, and the “City of the Quaid” (شہرِ قائد), having been the birth and burial place of Quaid-e-Azam (Muhammad Ali Jinnah), the founder of Pakistan, who made the city his home after Pakistan’s independence from the British Rajon 14 August 1947.
The area of Karachi was known to the ancient Greeks by many names: Krokola, the place where Alexander the Great camped to prepare a fleet for Babylonia after his campaign in the Indus Valley; ‘Morontobara’ (probably Manora island near Karachi harbour), from whence Alexander’s admiral Nearchus set sail; and Barbarikon, a port of the Bactrian kingdom. It was later known to theArabs as Debal from where Muhammad bin Qasim led his conquering force into South Asia in 712 AD
Karachi was founded as “Kolachi” by Sindhi andBaloch tribes from Balochistan and Makran, who established a small fishing community in the area. Descendants of the original community still live in the area on the small island of Abdullah Goth, which is located near the Karachi Port. The original name “Kolachi” survives in the name of a well-known Karachi locality named “Mai Kolachi” in Sindhi. Mirza Ghazi Beg, the Mughal administrator of Sindh, is among the first historical figures credited for the development of Coastal Sindh (consisting of regions such as the Makran Coast and the Mehran Delta), including the cities of Thatta,Bhambore and Karachi.
During the rule of the Mughal administrator of Sindh, Mirza Ghazi Beg the city was well fortified against Portuguese colonial incursions inSindh. During the reign of the Kalhora Dynasty the present city started life as a fishing settlement when a Sindhi Balochi fisher-woman calledMai Kolachi took up residence and started a family. The city was an integral part of the Talpur dynasty in 1720.
The village that later grew out of this settlement was known as Kolachi-jo-Goth (Village of Kolachi in Sindhi). By the late 1720s, the village was trading across the Arabian Sea with Muscat and the Persian Gulf region. The local Sindhi populace built a small fort was constructed for the protection of the city, armed with cannons imported by Sindhi sailors from Muscat, Oman. The fort had two main gateways: one facing the sea, known as Kharra Darwaaza (Brackish Gate) (Kharadar) and the other facing the Lyari River known as the Meet’ha Darwaaza (Sweet Gate) (Mithadar). The location of these gates correspond to the modern areas of Kharadar (Khārā Dar) and Mithadar (Mīṭhā Dar).
After sending a couple of exploratory missions to the area, the British East India Company conquered the town when HMS Wellesley anchored off Manora island on 1 February 1839. Two days later, the little fort surrenderedThe town was later annexed to British India when Sindh was conquered by Major-GeneralCharles James Napier at the Battle of Miani on 17 February 1843. On his departure in 1847, Napier is said to have remarked, “Would that I could come again to see you in your grandeur!” Karachi was made the capital of Sindh in the 1840s. On Napier’s departure, it was added along with the rest of Sindh to the Bombay Presidency, a move that caused considerable resentment among the native Sindhis. The British realised the importance of the city as a military cantonment and as a port for exporting the produce of the Indus River basin, and rapidly developed its harbour for shipping. The foundations of a city municipal government were laid down and infrastructure development was undertaken. New businesses started opening up and the population of the town began rising rapidly. The arrival of the troops of the Kumpany Bahadur in 1839 spawned the foundation of the new section, the military cantonment. The cantonment formed the basis of the ‘white’ city, where the Indians were not allowed free access. The ‘white’ town was modeled after English industrial parent-cities, where work and residential spaces were separated, as were residential from recreational places. Karachi was divided into two major poles. The ‘native’ town in the northwest, now enlarged to accommodate the burgeoning Indian mercantile population. When the Indian Rebellion of 1857 broke out in South Asia, the 21st Native Infantry, then stationed in Karachi, declared allegiance to rebels and joining their numbers on 10 September 1857. Nevertheless, the British were able to quickly reassert control over Karachi and defeat the uprising.
In 1864, the first telegraphic message was sent from India to England, when a direct telegraph connection was laid between Karachi and London. In 1878, the city was connected to the rest of British India by rail. Public building projects, such as Frere Hall (1865) and the Empress Market(1890), were undertaken. In 1876, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in the city, which by now had become a bustling city with mosques, churches, courthouses, brothels, paved streets and a magnificent harbour. By 1899, Karachi had become the largest wheat exporting port in the East Before the year 1880 the majority of the population in Karachi consisted of the indigenous Sindhis and Balochis (who spoke Sindhi as their mother tongue). Karachi was a small port town and part of Talpur dynasty in Sindh. The British East India Company conquered Karachi on February 3, 1839 and started developing it as a major port. As a result of British rule the local Hindu population established a massive presence in the city.
These developments in Karachi resulted in large influx of economic migrants: Parsis, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Marathis, Goans, Chinese, British, Arabs and Gujaratis. The population of the city was about 105,000 inhabitants by the end of the 19th century, with a cosmopolitan mix of different nationalities. British colonialists embarked on a number of public works of sanitation and transportation — such as gravel paved streets, proper drains, street sweepers, and a network of trams and horse-drawn trolleys.
By the time of independence of Pakistan in 1947, Karachi had become a bustling metropolis with beautiful classical and colonial European styled buildings, lining the city’s thoroughfares. Karachi was chosen as the capital of Pakistan, which at the time included modern day Bangladesh, a region located more than 1,000 km (620 mi) away, and not physically connected to Pakistan. In 1947, Karachi was the focus for settlement by Muslim migrants from India, who drastically expanded the city’s population and transformed its demographics and economy. In 1958, the capital of Pakistan was moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi and then in 1960, to the newly builtIslamabad. This marked the start of a long period of decline in the city, marked by a lack of development. Karachi had both a municipal corporation and a Karachi Divisional Council in the 1960s, which developed plans for schools, colleges, roads, municipal gardens, and parks. The Karachi Divisional Council had separate working committees for education, roads, and residential societies development and planning. During the 1960s, Karachi was seen as an economic role model around the world. Many countries sought to emulate Pakistan’s economic planning strategy and one of them, South Korea, copied the city’s second “Five-Year Plan” and world Financial Centre in Seoul is designed and modeled after Karachi.
The 1970s saw major labour struggles in Karachi’s industrial estates (see Karachi labour unrest of 1972). The 1980s and 1990s saw an influx of refugees from the Soviet war in Afghanistan into Karachi; they were followed in smaller numbers by refugees escaping from Iran. Severe ethnic tensions between the Muhajir and other native groups (e.g. Sindhis, Punjabis, Pashtuns and others) erupted and the city was wracked with political and ethnic violence.
Today, Karachi continues to be an important financial and industrial centre and handles most of the overseas trade of Pakistan and the world, mainly the Asian countries. It accounts for a lion’s share of the GDP of Pakistan,and a large proportion of the country’s white collar workers.
Karachi is the financial and commercial capital of Pakistan. In line with its status as a major port and the country’s largest metropolis, it accounts for a lion’s share of Pakistan’s revenue. According to the Federal Board of Revenue’s 2006-2007 year book, tax and customs units in Karachi were responsible for 46.75% of direct taxes, 33.65% of federal excise tax, and 23.38% of domestic sales tax.Karachi accounts for 75.14% of customs duty and 79% of sales tax on imports.Therefore, Karachi collects a significant 53.38% of the total collections of the Federal Board of Revenue, out of which 53.33% are customs duty and sales tax on imports.
Karachi at night
Karachi’s contribution to Pakistan’s manufacturing sector amounts to approximately 30 percent A substantial part of Sindh’s gross domestic product(GDP) is attributed to Karachi (the GDP of Sindh as a percentage of Pakistan’s total GDP has traditionally hovered around 28%-30%; for more information, see economy of Sindh).Karachi’s GDP is around 20% of the total GDP of Pakistan.A PricewaterhouseCoopersstudy released in 2009, which surveyed the 2008 GDP of the top cities in the world, calculated Karachi’s GDP (PPP) to be $78 billion (projected to be $193 billion in 2025 at a growth rate of 5.5%).It confirmed Karachi’s status as Pakistan’s largest economy, well ahead of the next two biggest cities Lahore and Faisalabad, which had a reported GDP (PPP) in 2008 of $40 billion and $14 billion, respectively. Karachi’s high GDP is based on its mega-industrial base, with a high dependency on the financial sector. Textiles, cement, steel, heavy machinery, chemicals, food, banking and insurance are the major segments contributing to Karachi’s GDP. In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan. Karachi is the nerve center of Pakistan’s economy. The economic stagnation caused by political anarchy, ethnic strife and resultant military operation during late 1980s and 90s led to efflux of industry from Karachi. Most of Pakistan’s public and private banks are headquartered on Karachi’s I. I. Chundrigar Road; according to a 2001 report, nearly 60% of the cashflow of the Pakistani economy takes place on I. I. Chundrigar Road. Most major foreign multinational corporationsoperating in Pakistan have their headquarters in Karachi. The Karachi Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in Pakistan, and is considered by many economists to be one of the prime reasons for Pakistan’s 8% GDP growth across 2005. A recent report by Credit Suisse on Pakistan’s stock market is a testimonial to its strong fundamentals, estimating Pakistan’s relative return on equities at 26.7 percent, compared to Asia’s 11 percent. Recently, Karachi has seen an expansion ofinformation and communications technology and electronic media and has become the software outsourcing hub of Pakistan. Call centres for foreign companies have been targeted as a significant area of growth, with the government making efforts to reduce taxes by as much as 10% in order to gain foreign investments in the IT sector. Many of Pakistan’s independent television and radio stations are based in Karachi, including world-popular Business Plus, AAJ News, Geo TV, KTN,Sindh TV, CNBC Pakistan, TV ONE, ARY Digital, Indus Television Network, Samaa TV and Dawn News, as well as several local stations.
Karachi has several large industrial zones such as Karachi Export Processing Zone, SITE, Korangi, Northern Bypass Industrial Zone, Bin Qasim and North Karachi, located on the fringes of the main city. Its primary areas of industry are textiles, pharmaceuticals, steel, and automobiles. In addition, Karachi has a vibrant cottage industry and there is a rapidly flourishing Free Zone with an annual growth rate of nearly 6.5%.
The Karachi Expo Centre hosts many regional and international exhibitions. There are many development projects proposed, approved and under construction in Karachi. Among projects of note, Emaar Properties is proposing to invest $43bn (£22.8bn) in Karachi to develop Bundal Island, which is a 12,000 acres (49 km2) island just off the coast of Karachi. The Karachi Port Trust is planning a Rs. 20 billion, 1,947 feet (593 m) high Port Tower Complex on the Clifton shoreline. It will comprise a hotel, a shopping center, an exhibition center and a revolving restaurant with a viewing gallery offering a panoramic view of the coastline and the city.
As one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world, Karachi faces challenges that are central to many developing metropolises, including traffic congestion, pollution, poverty and street crime. These problems continue to earn Karachi low rankings in livability comparisons: The Economist ranked Karachi fourth least livable city amongst the 132 cities surveyed and BusinessWeek ranked it 175 out of 215 in livability in 2007, down from 170 in 2006.
Karachi is the most literate city of Pakistan with the highest literacy rate along with a gross enrollment ratio of 111%, the highest in Sindh.
Education in Karachi is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate);intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programs leading to graduate and advanced degrees. Karachi has both public and private educational institutions. Most educational institutions are gender-based, from primary to university level.
Karachi Grammar School is the oldest school in Pakistan and has educated many Pakistani businessmen and politicians. The Narayan Jagannath High School in Karachi, which opened in 1855, was the first government school established in Sindh. Other well-known schools include the Hamdard Public School, Education Bay [EBay] school located in karachi (for higher education) Army Public School (C.O.D.), Karachi Public school, British Overseas School, L’ecole for Advanced Studies, Bay View Academey, the CAS School, Generations School, Karachi American School, Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, the Froebel Education Centre (FEC), The Paradise School and College, Little Folks Secondary School, Habib Public School, Mama Parsi Girls Secondary School, B. V. S. Parsi High School, Civilizations Public School, The Oasys School,Avicenna School, The Lyceum School, Ladybird Grammar School, The City School, ABC Public School, Beaconhouse School System, The Educators schools, Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan School, Shahwilayat Public School, Springfield School, St Patrick’s High School, St Paul’s English High School, St Joseph’s Convent School, St Jude’s High School, St Michael’s Convent School, Foundation Public School,Aisha Bawanay Academy, Karachi Gems School and St Peter’s High School.
National Academy of Performing Arts
The University of Karachi, known as KU, is Pakistan’s largest university, with a student population of 24,000 and one of the largest faculties in the world. It is located next to the NED University of Engineering and Technology, the country’s oldest engineering institute. In the private sector, TheNational University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (NUCES-FAST), one of Pakistan’s top universities in computer education, operates two campuses in Karachi. Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) provides reputable training in biomedical engineering, civil engineering, electronics engineering, telecom engineering and computer engineering. Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, which opened in 1962, offers degree programmes in electronic engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, materials engineering and architecture. Karachi Institute of Economics & Technology (KIET) has two campuses in Karachi and has been growing rapidly since its inception in 1997. The Plastics Technology Center (PTC), located in Karachi’s Korangi Industrial Area, is at present Pakistan’s only educational institution providing training in the field of polymer engineering and plastics testing services. The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), founded in 1955, is the oldest business school outside of North America. The Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology(SZABIST), founded in 1995 by Benazir Bhutto, is located in Karachi, with its other campuses in Islamabad, Larkana and Dubai. Pakistan Navy Engineering College (PNEC) is a part of the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), offering a wide range of engineering programs, including electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Hamdard University is the largest private university in Pakistan with faculties including Eastern Medicine, Medical, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Law. It has got Asia’s second largest library called ‘BAIT UL HIKMA’. Jinnah University for Women is the first women university in Pakistan. Karachi is home of the head offices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) (established in 1961) and the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan(ICMAP). Among the many other institutions providing business education are the Institute of Business Management (IoBM), SZABIST, Iqra University and the Institute of Business and Technology (Biztek). Leading medical schools of Pakistan like the Dow University of Health Sciences and the Aga Khan University are situated in Karachi. PLANWEL is another innovative institution it is a CISCO Network Academy as well as iCBT center for ETS Prometric and Pearsons VUE. Bahria University also has a purpose-built campus in Karachi. The College of Accounting and Management Sciences (CAMS) also has three branches in the city. Sindh Muslim Govt. Science College located at Saddar Town is the eldest college in Karachi.
For religious education, the Jamia Uloom ul Islamia (one of the largest Islamic education centres of Asia), Jamia Binoria and Darul ‘Uloom Karachi are among the Islamic schools in Karachi.
Map showing major roads, railway lines, ports and airports (Click to enlarge)
Traffic problems and pollution are major challenges for Karachi. The level of air pollution in Karachi is significantly higher than World Health Organizationstandards. A number of new parks (e.g., Bagh Ibne Qasim, Beach View Park andJheel Park) have been developed and new trees are being planted in the city to improve the environment and reduce the pollution. The construction of new bridges/flyovers, underpasses and signal-free corridors (e.g., Corridor 1: S.I.T.E. to Shahrae Faisal, Corridor 2: North Karachi to Shahrae Faisal, Corridor 3: Safora Goth to Saddar) has improved the traffic flow in Karachi. The eventual completion of Corridor 4 (from the airport to Metropole Hotel) is expected to substantially reduce the travel time to reach the city centre and airport.
Karakoram Express departing to Lahore from Karachi Cantt. Station
Karachi is linked by rail to the rest of the country by Pakistan Railways. The Karachi City Station and Karachi Cantonment Railway Station are the city’s two major railway stations. The railway system handles a large amount of freight to and from the Karachi port and provides passenger services to people traveling up country. A project to transform the existing, but non-operational, Karachi Circular Railway into a modern mass transit system has recently[when?] been approved by the government. The $1.6 billion project will be financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and will be completed by 2013. The city government has introduced an initiative to alleviate the transport pains by introducing new CNG buses.
Jinnah International Airport
The Jinnah International Airport is located in Karachi. It is the largest and busiest airport of Pakistan. It handles 10 million passengers a year. The airport receives the largest number of foreign airlines, a total of 35 airlines and cargo operators fly to Jinnah International predominantly from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. All of Pakistan’s airlines use Karachi as their primary transport hub including PIA – Pakistan International Airlines[], Airblue, and Shaheen Air International. The city’s old airport terminals are now used forHajj flights, offices, cargo facilities, and ceremonial visits from heads of state. U.S. Coalition forces used the old terminals for their logistic supply operations as well. The city has two other airstrips, used primarily by the armed forces.
Manora Light House
The largest shipping ports in Pakistan are the Port of Karachi and the nearby Port Qasim. These seaports have modern facilities and not only handle trade for Pakistan, but serve as ports for Afghanistan and the landlocked Central Asian countries. Plans have been announced for new passenger facilities at the Port of Karachi.
Karachi is a centre of research in biomedicine, with at least 30 public hospitals and more than 80 private hospitals, including the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), Spencer Eye Hospital, Civil Hospital, PNS Rahat, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Aga Khan University Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and Liaquat National Hospital, as well as Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Hamid Hospital Pvt. Ltd, Ziauddin Hospital, National Medical Centre and Lady Dufferin Hospital. Medical schools include the Dow Medical College, Aga Khan University, Liaquat National Medical College, Sindh Medical College,Dow International Medical College, Baqai Medical University, Karachi Medical & Dental College,Jinnah Medical & Dental College, Hamdard College of Medicine & Dentistry, Sir Syed College of Medical Sciences for Girls and Ziauddin Medical University.