Saturday, 16 July 2011


Karachi ( Karācī (help·info), Urdu: کراچی; Sindhi: ڪراچي) is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. With an estimated population of 13 million[4] to 15 million while the metropolitan area has 22 million, it is the most populous city in the country, one of the world's largest cities in terms of population[5] and the 10th largest urban agglomeration 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 Raj on 14 August 1947.

Main article: History of Karachi

Mirza Ghazi Beg was the famous Mughal administrator of Sindh and a renowned historical figure in Sindhi folklore.
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 the Arabs as Debal from where Muhammad bin Qasim led his conquering force into South Asia in 712 AD[10]
Karachi was founded as "Kolachi" by Sindhi and Baloch 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 in Sindh. During the reign of the Kalhora Dynasty the present city started life as a fishing settlement when a Sindhi Balochi fisher-woman called Mai 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).
British rule

Dayaram Jethmal College (D.J. College) in 1800s

Karachi Airport in 1943 during World War II
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 surrendered. The town was later annexed to the British Indian Empire when Sindh was conquered by Major-General Charles James Napier in Battle of Miani on 17 February 1843. On his departure in 1847, he 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 'black' 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.

Elphinstone Street in 1930
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[citation needed] 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, Armenians, Chinese, British, Lebanese 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.

Independent Pakistan
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 built Islamabad. 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.