Born and lived my whole my life in Karachi, I am pure Karachiite. My job gives me opportunity to travel extensively throughout Pakistan and abroad. When I tell people that I am from Karachi, they give me a strange look as if I am coming from a war zone. In most group meetings, generally first question I encounter is “How is Karachi?”
In reality, law and order in the whole of Pakistan is poor, but Karachi is considered as the worst place to live. Not for me, I and my family love the city. A city of around 20 million, there are countless reasons for people to keep coming to Karachi to make it their second home, and some cases even first home too.
It is truly the most cosmopolitan city in Pakistan. Variety of languages spoken in Karachi gives it the diversity that no other city in the country offers. The city is extremely vibrant, Industries, two seaports and the major international airport does not let Karachi sleep! Karachi has five industrial estates that provide job opportunities to skilled, unskilled and management professionals.
Despite depleting law and order situation, Karachi still contributes around 25% of the National GDP. All major multinational companies and foreign and Pakistani financial institutions are headquartered in Karachi. The city also has one of the largest road networks in the country all that offers entrepreneurial and job opportunities that no other city of Pakistan can dream.
Karachi started seeing riots after Bushra Zaidi case when this young girl was crushed to death by a mini-bus. Since that time, the city developed a strong linguistic divide and also ethnic and religious divide. Riots, killings, protests and strikes are now part of our lives, but most of Karachi residents, no matter from which part of Karachi they belong to, have discounted these incidents. The city jumps back to normalcy almost within 24 hours of any major incident.
How unfortunate it is that people in power only speak about peace in Karachi, but no concrete action is taken to improve law and order situation in the city. No one can deny the massive economic importance of Karachi. It is in the wider interest of Pakistan to engage every stakeholder before considering clean-up operation, delimitation, and any other action that would impact a common resident of the City.
Hope someone in the power corridor with hear my voice too!
By Hammad Siddiqui. The writer is a passionate blogger and an expert in the field of institutional capacity building. He is the Deputy Country Director at Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). Hammad has written over 300 articles on entrepreneurship, social media and policy reforms. You can follow him on Twitter @HammadS.