Karachi becomes a province


City of lights

11.6 million people live in the port city in southern Pakistan. The largest metropolis in the country repeatedly suffers from violence and ethnic-religious conflicts.

Karachi - port city in southern Pakistan (& copy NASA / JPL-Caltech)


The Karachi metropolitan region today has a population of 11.81 million. Almost every sixteenth Pakistani lives in Karachi. The rapid growth of the port city from the 1950s and its more recent history are closely linked to the political development of Pakistan.

The division of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 marked a turning point for the city in the south of the country. Shortly thereafter, not only did the population double to one million people. The composition of urban society was also redesigned. Karachi was unable to cope with the influx of refugees from central India or the later internal migration. The city grew largely spontaneously. Today Karachi ranks 13th in the list of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world.

Although Karachi lost the status of the capital of Pakistan in 1961, the city remained the commercial and economic center. Around 20 percent of the gross domestic product is generated in Karachi. A large part of the foreign trade is carried out via the port. At the same time, an estimated five million people live in informal settlements and slums. The under-five mortality rate is 12 percent, making it one of the highest in Asia.

Again and again the wars in neighboring Afghanistan spill over the national borders, Karachi is a transshipment point for weapons and drugs. In the 1980s and 1990s, ethnic tension raged across the city and violence continued. Today it is mainly Sunni and Shiite groups that are opposing each other. The extremely high crime rate makes Karachi citizens live in insecurity. With a new overall plan "Vision for Karachi 2030", urban development is now to be pushed forward, but the poor and unqualified could fall by the wayside.