2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Asia

General Information
Province Sindh
Location 24°51′36″N, 67°00′36″E
Altitude 8 metres AMSL
Area 3,527 km²
Calling code 021
Time zone PST ( UTC+5)
No. of Towns 18
Population 9,339,023 1998
Estimate 13,969,284 2006
density 3,394 persons/km²
City Mayor (Nazim) Syed Mustafa Kamal
No. of Union Councils 178
Karachi Government Website

Karachi ( Urdu: كراچى, Sindhi: ڪراچي) is the capital of the province of Sindh, and the most populated city in Pakistan, sometimes known as the City of Light and the City of Quaid (شہرِ قائد), after Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan. It is located on the coast of the Arabian Sea / Indian Ocean, northwest of the Indus Delta. The city is the financial and commercial centre as well as the largest port of Pakistan.

Karachi is an ethnically and religiously diverse city. Urdu, Behari, Bengali and Gujarati speaking settlers make up majority of the population in four out of five dsitricts of Karachi. District Malir is predominantly Sindhi and Balochi. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Karachi witnessed a major influx of refugees from the war in Afghanistan, and increasing political and sectarian violence between Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi and Mohajirs (descendants of immigrants from India). The intervention of the Pakistani army, ISI and martial law scarred the city, but a national economic boom in the early 21st century has resulted in economic growth and prosperity for the city. As of 2006 Karachi has an estimated population of 13.9 million.


The Baloch tribes from Balochistan and Makran established a small settlement of fishing community and called it Kolachi. For sometimes, it was also called Goth jo Kolachi. Today, the word has changed to Karachi. Even today, Karachi is home to the largest Balochi population, numbering to more than two million inhabitants. Balochis are a major part of society in Malir, Lyari and Karachi west districts.

The modern port-city of Karachi was developed by authorities of the British Raj in the 19th century. Upon the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the city was selected to become the national capital, and was exposed to a massive influx of immigrants from India, which radically expanded the city's population and transformed the demographics and economy. Karachi has faced major infrastructural and socio-economic challenges, but modern industries and businesses have developed in the city, and the population expanded even after the capital was moved to Islamabad in August 1960. Karchi was a Hindu majority city before the Pakistan movement resulted in ethnic cleansing during the middle of 20th Century.

The area of Karachi has been 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' port (probably the modern Manora Island near the Karachi harbour), from where Alexander's admiral Nearchus sailed for back home; and Barbarikon, a sea port of the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdom. It was also known as the port of Debal to the Arabs, from where Muhammad Bin Qasim led his conquering force into South Asia in 712AD. According to the British historian Eliot, parts of city of Karachi and the island of Manora constituted the city of Debal.

An old image of Karachi from 1889
An old image of Karachi from 1889

According to another legend, the present city started its life as a fishing settlement where a Balochi fisherwoman by the name of Mai Kolachi took up residence and started a family. The village that later grew out of this settlement was known as Kolachi-jo-Goth (The Village of Kolachi in Sindhi). By the late 1700’s this village started trading across the sea with Muscat and the Persian Gulf region which led to its gaining importance. A small fort was constructed for its protection, armed with cannons imported from Muscat. The fort had two main gateways: one facing the sea, known as Khara Darwaaza (Brackish Gate) and the other facing the adjoining Lyari river known as the Meetha Darwaaza (Sweet Gate). The location of these gates corresponds to the present-day city localities of Khaaradar (Khārā Dar) and Meethadar (Mīṭhā Dar) respectively.

In 1795, the village became a domain of the Balochi Talpur rulers of Sindh. A small factory was opened by the British in September 1799, but was closed down within a year. After sending a couple of exploratory missions to the area, the British East India Company conquered the town on February 3rd, 1839. The village was later annexed to the British Indian Empire when the province of Sindh was conquered by Charles Napier in 1843. Kolachi was added along with the rest of Sindh to the jurisdiction of the Bombay Presidency.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Saint Patrick's Cathedral

The British realized its importance as a military cantonment and a port for exporting the produce of the Indus 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 started rising rapidly. Karachi quickly turned into a city, making true the famous quote by Napier who is known to have said: Would that I could come again to see you in your grandeur!

In 1857, the First Indian War for Independence broke out in the sub-continent and the 21st Native Infantry stationed in Karachi declared allegiance to revolters, joining their cause on September 10, 1857. However, the British were rapidly able to reassert their 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 down between Karachi and London. In 1878, the city was connected to the rest of British India by railway line. Public building projects such as the Frere Hall (1865) and the Empress Market (1890) were undertaken. In 1876, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in the city to a famous Ismaili Khoja family, which by now had become a bustling city with railroad, churches, mosques, courthouses, markets, paved streets and a magnificent harbour. By 1899 Karachi had become the largest wheat exporting port in the East (Feldman 1970:57). The population of the city had also risen to about 105,000 inhabitants by the end of the 19th century and was a cosmopolitan mix of Hindus and Muslims, European traders, Parsis, Iranians, Lebanese, and Goan merchants. By the turn of the century, the city faced street congestion, which led to India’s first tramway system being laid down in 1900.

Frere Hall - a prime example of colonial architecture built during the British Raj
Frere Hall - a prime example of colonial architecture built during the British Raj

By 1914, Karachi had become the largest grain exporting port of the British Empire. In 1924, an aerodrome was built and Karachi became the main airport of entry into India. An airship mast was also built in Karachi in 1927 as part of the Imperial Airship Communications scheme, which was later abandoned. In 1936, Sindh was separated from the Bombay Presidency and Karachi was made the capital of the new province. By the time the new country of Pakistan was formed in 1947, Karachi had become a bustling metropolitan city with beautiful classical and colonial European styled buildings lining the city’s thoroughfares.

Karachi was chosen as the capital city of Pakistan and accommodated a huge influx of migrants and refugees to the newly formed country. The demographics of the city also changed drastically. However, it still maintained a great cultural diversity as its new inhabitants arrived from all parts of the subcontinent. In 1958, the capital of Pakistan was shifted from Karachi to Rawalpindi and then to Islamabad in 1960. This marked the start of a long period of decline in the city, owing to a lack of governmental attention and development. The 1980’s and 90’s saw an influx of refugees from the Afghan war into Karachi. Political tensions between the Mohajir groups (descendents of migrants from the partition era) and other groups also erupted and the city was wracked with political and sectarian violence. Most of these tensions have now simmered down.

Karachi continues to be an important financial and industrial centre for the country and handles most of the overseas trade of Pakistan and the Central Asian countries. It accounts for a large portion of the GDP of Pakistan and a large chunk of the country's white collar workers. Karachi's population has continued to grow and is estimated to have passed the 15 million mark, although official figures still show a population of around 13.5 million. The current economic boom in Pakistan has also resulted in a new period of resurgence in the economy of Karachi and a lot of new opportunities have opened up in the city. The city government is also undertaking a massive upgrading of the city’s infrastructure, which promises to again put Karachi into the lineup of one of the world’s greatest metropolitan cities.

Geography and climate

Karachi is located in the south of Pakistan, on the coast of the Arabian Sea. The city covers an area of approximately 3,530 square kilometers, comprised largely of flat or rolling plains, with hills on the western and northern boundaries of the urban sprawl. Two rivers pass through the city: the Malir River which flows from the east towards the south and centre, and the Lyari River, which flows from north to the south west. The Karachi Harbour is a sheltered bay to the south-west of the city, protected from storms by the Sandspit Beach, the Manora Island and the Oyster Rocks. The Arabian Sea beach lines the southern coastline of Karachi. Dense mangroves and creeks of the Indus Delta can be found towards the south east side of the city. Towards the west and the north is Cape Monze, an area marked with projecting sea cliffs and rocky sandstone promontories. Some excellent beaches can also be found in this area.

Located on the coast, Karachi tends to have a relatively mild climate with low levels of average precipitation (approximately 10 inches per annum), the bulk of which occurs during the July-August monsoon season. Winters are mild and the summers are hot, however the proximity to the sea maintains humidity levels at a near-constant high and cool sea breezes relieve the heat of the summer months. Due to high temperatures during the summer (ranging from 30 to 44 degrees Celsius from April through August), the winter months (November through February) are generally considered the best times to visit Karachi. July, December and January have pleasing and cloudy weather when most of the social events, ranging from weddings to charity fundraisers, frequently take place. Tourists and expatriates visit Karachi in these months.

Karachi temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. high (in °C) 25 26 29 32 34 34 33 31 31 33 31 27
Avg. low (in °C) 13 14 19 23 26 28 27 26 25 22 18 14


The City of Karachi Municipal Act was promulgated in 1933. Initially the Municipal Corporation comprised the mayor, the deputy mayor and 57 councilors. The Karachi Municipal Corporation was changed to a Metropolitan Corporation in 1976. The administrative area of Karachi was a second-level subdivision known as Karachi Division, which was subdivided into five districts: Karachi Central, Karachi East, Karachi South, Karachi West and Malir. In 2000, the government of Pakistan designed a new devolution plan in order to decentralize the political, administrative and financial resources and responsibilities. This plan abolished the earlier second-level division and merged the five districts of Karachi into a Karachi District. When the devolution plan was implemented in 2001, this district officially became a City District, with the City District Government of Karachi handling its government. Karachi now has a three-tier federated system, formed by:

  • The City District Government (CDG)
  • Town Municipal Administrations
  • Union Council Administrations

The City-District of Karachi is divided into eighteen towns governed by elected municipal administrations responsible for infrastructure and spatial planning, development facilitation, and municipal services (water, sanitation, solid waste, repairing roads, parks, street lights, and traffic engineering), with some functions being retained by the CDG.

The towns are sub-divided into 178 localities governed by elected union councils (UC's), which are the core element of the local government system. Each UC is a body of thirteen directly elected members including a Nazim ( mayor) and a Naib Nazim ( deputy mayor). The UC Nazim heads the union administration and is responsible for facilitating the CDG to plan and execute municipal services, as well as for informing higher authorities about public concerns and complaints.

In the local body elections of 2005, Syed Mustafa Kamal was elected City Nazim of Karachi to succeed Naimatullah Khan & Nasreen Jalil was elected as the City Naib Nazim. Mustafa Kamal was the provincial minister for information technology in Sindh before assuming office as the city's mayor. His predecessor, Naimatullah Khan was chosen as one of the best mayors of 2004-05 in Asia. Mustafa Kamal is advancing the development trail left by Naimatullah Khan, and has been actively involved in maintaining care of the city's municipal systems.

  • Baldia Town
  • Bin Qasim Town
  • Gadap Town
  • Gulberg Town
  • Gulshan Town
  • Jamshed Town
  • Kemari Town
  • Korangi Town
  • Landhi Town
  • Liaquatabad Town
  • Lyari Town
  • Malir Town
  • New Karachi Town
  • North Nazimabad Town
  • Orangi Town
  • Saddar Town
  • Shah Faisal Town
  • SITE Town
  • Note: Defense Housing Society Karachi is located in Karachi but is not a town of Karachi nor part of any town of Karachi. It is administered by the Defence Housing Authority, Karachi of Pakistan Army.


Year Urban Population

1856 56,875
1872 56,753
1881 73,560
1891 105,199
1901 136,297
1911 186,771
1921 244,162
1931 300,799
1941 435,887
1951 1,068,459
1961 1,912,598
1972 3,426,310
1981 5,208,132
1998 9,269,265
2006 13,969,284
Trend of Population Growth in Karachi
Trend of Population Growth in Karachi

The population and demographic distribution in Karachi has undergone numerous changes over the past 150 years. Non-governmental and international sources report that Karachi's current population is estimated to be 15 to 20 million — a thirty-seven-fold increase over its population in 1947 (400,000). The city's population is currently growing at about 5% per year (mainly on account of rural-urban internal migration), including an estimated 45,000 migrant workers coming to the city every month from different parts of Pakistan. Karachi is the one of the largest megacities in the world.

Before the partition of India, Karachi had large communities of Muslims, Hindus, Balochis, Gujaratis, Kachhis, Tharis, Sindhis, Parsis, Goans, Lebanese, Iranians, and European merchants. After partition of India, a large number of Muslim migrants from the newly created India settled in Karachi. Likewise, a large number of Hindus left the city for India. Predominantly Urdu speaking, the migrant refugees known as Muhajirs formed the dominant ethnic group in Karachi. Muhajirs hailed from a lot of different parts of India and brought with them their local cultures and cuisines, thus further adding to the already diverse mix of people that earlier inhabited Karachi. Currently, these older groups of people and continuing migration from different parts of Pakistan have contributed to a rich and diverse mix of people that inhabit Karachi. This has given the city a very metropolitan character, and has earned it the title as the Melting Pot of Pakistan.

The new government of the Pakistan Muslim League alotted most of the property left over by the departing Hindus and other groups to the Indian Muslim refugees which had taken an active part in the creation of Pakistan, in order to help them settle into the new country. However, the large number of Muhajirs also formed the dominant political majority in the city, which gave them substantial political clout, to the chagrin of the earlier provincial Sindhi and Balochi inhabitants. Also, the vagaries of mass migration of populations between the two newly independent countries gave rise to ethnic tensions which have surfaced in Karachi from time to time.

A large community of Zoroastrian-Persian Parsis have also lived in Karachi since pre-Independence days. The Parsis of Karachi have played important roles in the history and development of the city serving in key government positions, undertaking large philanthropic projects and conducting business in the city. Since independence however, most of them migrated to western nations and currently, the Parsi population of the city numbers about 15,000. There is also a large community of Goan Catholic Christians who settled in Karachi during the British era.

Since 1979, due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and continued upheavals in their country, a steady stream of Afghan refugees have also taken up permanent residence in and around Karachi. These refugees now number more than one million and themselves consist of a number of ethnic groups: Pakhtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Turkmen. There are also hundreds of thousands of Bengalis, Arabs, Iranians, Arakani Muslim refugees (from Rakhine State in Myanmar) and African immigrants who are also settled in Karachi. Most refugee minorities of the city live in slum areas.

According to 1998 census the linguistic distribution of population is: [[Urdu speaking Mohajirs]] 60%; Punjabi 4%; Sindhi 9.92%; Pushto 8.42%; Balochi 8.94%; Gujaratis 3.11%; others 7%. The others include Seraikis, Dawoodi Bohra, Memon, Ghanchi, Brahui, Makrani, Khowar, Burushaski, Arabic, Persian and Bengali. The religious breakdown of the city is: Muslim 94.49%; Christian 1.35%; Hindu 3.83%; Ahmadi 0.17%; others 0.13%. The others include Parsi, Jews and Buddhist.


A view of the I. I. Chundrigar Rd skyline
A view of the I. I. Chundrigar Rd skyline

Karachi is the financial capital of Pakistan; it accounts for the lion's share of GDP and generates approximately 65% percent of the Provincial Revenue where as whole province Sindh generates almost 23% of the total National Revenue . Most of Pakistan's public and private banks have their head offices in Karachi. Nearly all of these are located on I.I Chundrigar Road (Pakistan's Wall Street). During the 1960s, Karachi was seen as an economic role model around the developing world, and there was much praise for the way its economy was progressing. Many countries sought to emulate Pakistan's economic planning strategy and one of them, South Korea, copied the city's second "Five-Year Plan, 1960-65".

Besides being the banking and finance capital of the country, Karachi also hosts the offices of almost every major foreign multinational corporation as well as corporations based in Pakistan. It is home to the largest stock exchange in Pakistan: the Karachi Stock Exchange, which was considered by many economists to be one of the prime reasons for Pakistan's 7% GDP growth across 2005. The Port of Karachi and nearby Port Qasim are the two main seaports of Pakistan, and Jinnah International Airport is the largest airport in Pakistan. All ports, Steel Mill and Jinnah Intl. Airport are situated in the Malir district.

The recent trends involving ICTs ( Information & Communications Technology), electronic media and call centers have become a significant part of Karachi's business hierarchy. Call centers for foreign companies have been targeted as a significant area of growth, with the government making efforts to reduce taxes by as much as 80% in order to gain foreign investments in the IT sector. Karachi is also the software outsourcing hub of Pakistan. Many of Pakistan’s independent television and radio channels are headquartered in Karachi. Geo, ARY, Hum and AAJ TV are the most popular ones; some of the local stations include KTN, Sindh TV, and Kashish TV .

Karachi has a huge industrial base, with several large industrial zones located on the fringes of the main city. The primary areas 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%. Karachi has an expo centre which hosts many regional and international exhibitions.

Toyota and Suzuki Motor Company are located in Karachi. Among others, Millat Tractors, Adam Motor Company, HinoPak Buses and Trucks manufacturing plants are also located in Karachi. The automobile manufacturing sector is one of the fastest growing industries in Pakistan, and a large vendor industry associated with it is also located principally in Karachi.


Emaar's Crescent Bay in Pakistan
Emaar's Crescent Bay in Pakistan

There are many development projects proposed, approved and under construction in Karachi city. Among the projects of note, Emaar Properties is proposing to invest $43bn (£22.8bn) in Karachi to develop Bundal Island, which is a 12,000 acre island just off the coast of Karachi. The Karachi Port Trust is envisioning another Rs. 20 billion project, the Port Tower Complex, which will be 1,947 feet high, the height indicating the Independence of Pakistan (14th August 1947), and is slated for completion within six years. It is expected to comprise a hotel, a shopping center, and an exhibition centre. The main feature of the venture is supposed to be a revolving restaurant, which will also contain a viewing gallery offering a panoramic view of the coastline and the city. The Tower is planned to be located at the Clifton shoreline.

Some other mega projects that are proposed or under construction include: MCB Tower (completed), Port tower complex (proposed}, Crescent Bay, Karachi (approved), Karachi Creek Marina (under construction), Dolmen Towers (under construction), I.T Tower (approved), Bundal Island (approved), Buddo Island (approved), Square One Towers (under construction), Sign Tower (approved), Karachi Mass Transit System, Enshaa Towers (approved), Karachi FPCCI Tower (proposed) and, Karachi Waterfront (approved)


Mohatta Palace
Mohatta Palace

Karachi is home to some of Pakistan's important cultural institutions. The National Academy of Performing Arts, located in the newly renovated Hindu Gymkhana offers a two year diploma course in performing arts that include classical music and contemporary theatre. The All Pakistan Musical Conference, linked to the 45-year old similar institution in Lahore, has been holding its Annual Music Festival since its inception in 2004. The Festival is now a well-established feature of the city life of Karachi that is awaited anxiously and attended by more than 3000 citizens of Karachi as well as people from other cities. The National Arts Council (Koocha-e-Saqafat) also has musical performances and Mushaira (poetry recitations). Karachi has a few museums including the Mohatta Palace museum that regularly has exhibitions as well as the National Museum of Pakistan. The Kara Film Festival organized annually showcases independent Pakistani and international films and documentaries.

The everyday lifestyle of Karachi differs substantially from that of other Pakistani towns. The culture of Karachi is characterized by the blending of Middle Eastern, South Asian and Western influences, as well as the status of the city as a major international business centre. As a whole, there is considerable diversity in culture, and this diversity has produced unique cultural amalgam of its own type. Karachi also hosts the largest middle class stratum of the country. Karachi is the provincial capital of Sindh Provincial region.


The Karachi campus of the FAST Institute of Computer Science university
The Karachi campus of the FAST Institute of Computer Science university

Karachi has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan along with the most universities and colleges. The city is well-known for its young student population who flock there from all parts of Pakistan. Most universities of Karachi are considered to be amongst the premier educational institutions of Pakistan with competitive admissions processes.


Popular sports in Karachi include cricket, hockey, boxing, football and horse racing. The major venue for cricket matches is the National Stadium but matches are also hosted at the UBL Sports Complex, the A. O. Cricket Stadium, the KCCA Cricket Ground, the Karachi Gymkhana Field and the DHA Cricket Stadium. The city also has facilities for hockey (the Hockey Stadium of Pakistan, UBL Hockey Ground), boxing (KPT Sports Complex), squash ( Jehangir Khan Squash Complex) and football (Peoples Football Stadium and the Polo Grounds). In 2005, the city hosted the SAFF Cup Football Tournament at the People's Football Stadium. Marinas and Boating Clubs also add to the diverse sporting activities in Karachi.

Karachi Karsaz Golf Club
Karachi Karsaz Golf Club

Karachi has a number of sporting clubs such as the Karachi Gymkhana, the Sindh Club, the Karachi Club, the Muslim Gymkhana, the Creek Club and the DHA Club that provide sporting facilities to their members, including tennis, badminton and squash courts, swimming pools, jogging tracks, gymnasiums, billiards and much more. There are two world class golf clubs, at DHA and Karsaz. Informal sporting activities are also popular, such as night-time cricket which can be seen at weekends when people play brightly-lit night matches on less traversed city streets.

Sites of interest

Camel ride on a Karachi beach
Camel ride on a Karachi beach
DHA Marina Club, Karachi
DHA Marina Club, Karachi
A quiet residential neighborhood in Karachi
A quiet residential neighbourhood in Karachi
Empress Market, Saddar, Karachi
Empress Market, Saddar, Karachi
KANUPP beach from the eyes of Zuhair siddiqui
KANUPP beach from the eyes of Zuhair siddiqui
KANUPP beach from the eyes of Zuhair siddiqui
KANUPP beach from the eyes of Zuhair siddiqui
  • General
    • Mazar-e-Quaid (National Mausoleum of Pakistan - Muhammad Ali Jinnah the Tomb of the founder or Founding Father)
    • Koocha-e-Saqafat (National Arts Council)
    • Masjid e Tooba (Largest single-domed mosque in the world)
    • Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar Road (Karachi's Wall Street)
    • Aga Khan University and the Aga Khan University Hospital
  • Beaches and Waterfront
    • Manora Beach
    • Clifton beach and the Jehangir Kothari Parade
    • Seaview, Clifton beach
    • Hawke's Bay Beach (breeding ground for endangered turtles)
    • Paradise Point (a rock promontory in the sea with a natural arch)
    • Sandspit Beach
    • French Beach
    • Russian Beach
    • Port Fountain Jet (600 ft high pressure water fountain)
    • Zamzama Commercial Area (famous for its designer outlets and cafes)
    • Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mausoleum ( Ummayad general and Karachi's patron Sufi saint)
  • Museums
    • Pakistan Air Force Museum
    • Pakistan Maritime Museum
    • National Museum of Pakistan
    • The Mohatta Palace Museum of Karachi and regional history
    • Karachi Expo Centre
  • Colonial Buildings
    • Merewether Tower
    • Frere Hall
    • Khaliq Deena Hall
    • Jehangir Kothari Parade
    • Governor's House
    • St. Patrick's Cathedral
    • Sindh High Court
    • Former Victoria Museum (later used by the Supreme Court)
    • Hindu Gymkhana (now National Academy of Performing Arts)
    • Empress Market
    • Sind Club
  • Islands
    • Clifton Oyster Rocks
    • Manora Island
    • Bundal Island
    • Bhit Shah
  • Amusement Parks
    • Bin Qasim Park (Old Clifton)
    • Safari Park (University Road)
    • Aladdin Park (Rashid Minhas Road)
    • Sindbad
    • Karachi Zoological Gardens‎ (Gandhi Garden)
    • Sea View's Park
    • Aziz Bhatti Park
    • Old Sabzi Mandi Park (University Road)
    • Hill Park
  • Farm Houses
    • Memon Farm House
  • Resorts
    • Dream World Resort
  • Race Course
    • Race Course of University Road
  • Cinema
    • Capri Cinema
    • Nishat Cinema
    • Prince Cinema
    • Lyric Cinema
    • Universe Cineplex (Clifton)
  • Food
    • Hyderabad Colony
    • Burns Road
    • Many other places like Clifton, DHA, Shahrah-e-Faisal, North Nazimabad, Karimabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, etc.

Clifton beach recently suffered a recent oil spill disaster, the beach has been partly cleaned and has floodlights installed for nighttime visitors. The government has embarked on the beautification of Karachi's coastline by building a Beach park in Clifton that will eventually be connected to the Jehangir Kothari parade and Bagh Ibn- Qasim. There are other beaches near the city such as Sandspit, Hawke's Bay, the French Beach, Russian beach and Paradise Point (a sandstone rock promontory with a natural arch) that are frequented by visitors every day.


Sunday textile market on the sidewalks of Karachi
Sunday textile market on the sidewalks of Karachi

Karachi is dotted with many shopping areas, large and small, attracting large crowds of shoppers in the evenings. Saddar, Gulf Shopping Mall, Bahadurabad, Tariq Road, Zamzama, Zaib-un-nissa Street (Elphinestone Street) and Hyderi are the most famous shopping areas in the city. One can find all sorts of clothing, garments, and fabrics in Karachi's bazaars, as well as a number of other items. The Saddar area in downtown Karachi is also home to countless large and small markets dealing from everyday household items to clothing and fabrics to electronics. Empress Market in Saddar is a large Victorian-era market, home to wholesalers of spices and other items. Saddar is also home to the Rainbow Centre, one of the largest hubs of pirated CDs in the world. Some other notable shopping areas include Paposh Market and Hydari. Every Sunday, a weekly birds and animals market and a nursery is also held in Liaquatabad.

Karachi also has a number of large modern shopping malls, among which the Park Towers, The Forum, Millennium Mall and Dolmen Mall are notable. More of these malls are currently being built, including the Atrium Mall, Jumeira Mall, IT Tower and the Dolmen City Mall.


Jinnah Terminal of the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Karachi
Jinnah Terminal of the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Karachi

The Malir District of Karachi has a modern international airport called the Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan's busiest. The city's old airport terminals are now used for Hajj flights, 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 also has two other airstrips used primarily by the armed forces.

Karachi has the largest shipping ports in Pakistan at the Port of Karachi and Port Qasim in the Malir District. These seaports have modern facilities and not only handle trade for Pakistan, but also serve as ports for Afghanistan and the land-locked Central Asian countries. Plans have been announced for new passenger facilities at Karachi Port. Karachi is linked by rail to the rest of the country by the Pakistan Railways. The Karachi City Station and Karachi Cantonment Station are the city's two major railway stations. The railway system handles a large amount of freight to and from the Karachi port apart from providing passenger services to people travelling up country. There are plans to extend the circular railway system to play a part in the city's mass transit. Currently, primarily motorists and minibuses handle commuter traffic, but there are plans to construct a light-rail based mass transit system in the city to decongest the roads and provide quick service to commuters.

Land ownership

Karachi is located in semi-arid coastal desert area with very limited agriculture land along the two small seasonal rivers, Lyari River and Malir River that pass through the city. Before independence, the area around Karachi had sparse Balochi nomadic and fishing population and most of the land was state owned. At the time of independence, Karachi was chosen as the first capital of Pakistan and the land area came under tight state control. According to the data prepared by the Master Plan and Environmental Control Unit of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) in 1988, nearly 400,000 acres (1600 km²) of the 425,529 acres (1722 km²) that make up Karachi's metropolitan area is in some form of public ownership. Government of Sindh owns 137,687 acres (557 km²), KDA 124,676 acres, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) 25,259 acres, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) 24,189 acres, Army Cantonment Board 18,596 acres, Pakistan Steel Mills 19,461 acres, Defense Housing Society 16,567 acres, Port Qasim 12,961 acres, Government of Pakistan 4,051 acres and Pakistan Railways 3,119 acres. In late 1990s the undeveloped land belonging to KDA was transferred to the Malir Development Authority (MDA) and Lyari Development Authority (LDA). The Defence Housing Authority has purchased 12,000 acres (49 km²) of land from the Sindh government along the Super Highway and will build Phase II of Defense Housing Society.


As one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world, Karachi faces problems that are central to many developing metropolises including overpopulation, overcrowding, traffic, pollution, poverty, terrorism and crime.

Karachi faces a very severe problem of excessive traffic. According to official statistics, 550 people are killed annually in road traffic accidents. The number of cars is more than the existing road infrastructure was designed for. This makes driving a considerable danger and causes loss of time due to traffic congestion. A number of projects are underway in Karachi to battle these problems, including construction of flyovers and underpasses at various choke points.

The excess of traffic and lack of control on vehicle exhaust inevitably creates a home to numerous air pollutants. The level of air pollution in Karachi is estimated to be 20 times higher than World Health Organization standards. Additionally, burning debris is common practice and the lack of discipline in general has also given way to soot and pollutants.

To further worsen matters, recently many trees have been cleared in the city to expand the roads, with no arrangement for restoration. In response to many citizens' and naturalists' complains concerning the further deterioration of air quality that the ongoing activity may cause, the city government has announced a tree-planting in the September of 2006 that would last for the upcoming three months.

Recently Karachi has faced a slew of new problems. Water shortages are very common, and most of the city can only obtain water from private sources. Power is the second major problem, during the heat of the summer in 2006 power went out almost everyday, often for several hours. While the government promises improvement it is not clear where the money will come from as even though Karachi produces a majority of Pakistan's GDP the majority is siphoned off by the federal government.

City Partnership

Karachi has city partnerships with:

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