Karachi is the largest and most populous city in Pakistan and is the capital of Sindh province of Pakistan. It is the main seaport and financial center of Pakistan. Karachi is also known as City of Lightsmainly due to the city's night life; it is famous for being a city that never sleeps. Karachi metro has an estimated population of over 23.5 million people as of 2013, and area of approximately 3,527 km2(1,362 sq mi), resulting in a density of more than 6,000 people per square kilometre (15,500 per square mile).
Karachi is the 7th largest urban agglomeration in the world, and the second largest in the Muslim world. It is also the world's 7th least expensive city to live based on cost of living. It is Pakistan's centre of banking, industry, economic activity and trade and is home to Pakistan's largest corporations, including those involved in textiles, shipping, the automotive industry, entertainment, the arts, fashion, advertising, publishing, software development and medical research. The city is a hub of higher education in South Asia and the Muslim world.
Karachi is also ranked as a beta world city. It was the capital of Pakistan until Islamabad was constructed as a capital to spread development evenly across the country and to prevent it from being concentrated in Karachi. Karachi 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 Muslim Muhajirs from India and from other parts of South Asia came to settle in Karachi.
The city is located on the Arabian Sea coastline. It is also known as the Uroos ul Bilaad, "The Bride of the Cities," the "City of Lights" and the "City of the Quaid," having been the birth and burial place of Quaid-e-Azam, the Great Leader, 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. The term "City of Lights" was first used during Ayub era when new buildings, residential and recreational areas were constructed. During British Raj, it was also described as "Paris of Asia." According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, in 2009, Karachi had a total GDP of $78 billion with conservative projections expecting it to rise to $193 billion in 2025. The city generates 35% of Pakistan's tax revenue and is a transit point for majority of its trade.
|TIME ZONE :||PKT (UTC+05:00)|
|LANGUAGE :||Urdu: 48.52%; Punjabi: 16.05%; Pashto: 25.01%; <Sindhi: 7.22%; Balochi: 4.34%; others: 12.44%|
|AREA :||3,527 km2 (1,362 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||8 m (26 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||24°51′36″N 67°0′36″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 51.40%
|AREA CODE :||21|
|POSTAL CODE :||74XXX – 75XXX|
|DIALING CODE :||+9221-XXXX XXXX|
Karachi, the noisy, bustling, ever-growing troubled metropolis of Pakistan, lies on the eastern coast of the Arabian Sea, just northwest of the Indus river delta. The largest city, and unarguably the most important, Karachi was the original capital of the nation. The sprawling huge metropolis has grown into the commercial, transport and political hub of the country, and operates the largest and busiest ports in the country. The growth rate of the city propels it forward onto the global stage and Karachi is on its way to becoming a massively influential player.
Karachi offers a remarkable variety of attractions and activities – from sunny, sandy beaches and scurf-infested old colonial buildings, still preserved and in some cases inhabited, to traditional bazaars and modern shopping malls. Upscale luxury hotels overlook modish restaurants with flavors from all over the nation and much of the world. These and so much more make the city a hotspot for both local and tourist activity.
The remarkable skyline is but one of the wonderful attractions of the city, and this grand South Asian city holds many surprises for anyone who decides to seek them out. Karachi is home to over 23 million inhabitants, from all over the country and even abroad, and is a vibrant melting pot of cultures and ideas. Visitors will be met with a new and exciting experience around each corner, and on every visit. The city is known as the "City of the Quaid", due to the fact that the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was born, raised and spent his last years here. Additionally due to its round-the-clock liveliness, Karachi is now more popularly and affectionately referred to as the "City of Lights".
The most diverse and cosmopolitan city of Pakistan, Karachi lives and breathes with a style of its own. The most advanced city of the nation, it often blazes forward as an example of the Pakistan to come, and because of its diverse makeup, is sometimes described as a mini-Pakistan, where you can find representatives of every Pakistani culture. Karachi is the third most populous city in the world, and the largest among the Muslim world. Due to this and its melting pot nature, the pace of life is faster and the social attitudes more liberal than elsewhere in the nation, and growth rate of the city makes it an evolving hub where people from different backgrounds meet and shape the future of both the city and Pakistan itself.
In 18th century, an old Sindhi Balochi fisher-woman, Mai Kolachi, took up residence in the area, to what is today known as Karachi, to start a family. By then, the area established as a small fishing community and started to known as "Kolachi-jo-Goth" ("The Village of Kolachi"). As the town started to trade with Persian Gulf region across Arabian Sea, it gained importance and thus a small mud-fort was constructed for its protection which had two main gates: Khaara-dar (Salty Gate) facing the sea as the taste of underground water near to the Arabian Sea was salty and the Meetha-dar (Sweet Gate), facing the adjoining Lyari river of which people found drinking water of natural taste. The location of these gates corresponds to the present-day localities of Khaara-dar and Meetha-dar respectively.
The city was developed into an important port when it had caught the attention of the British East India Company who, after sending a couple of exploratory missions to Sindh, conquered the region in 1839 and gained control of Karachi as well. During the early Company Rule, the population of the city was merely 15,000. Later in 1843, the city became part of British India and later in late 1840s it was made the capital of Sindh. The British realised the importance of the city as a military cantonment and rapidly developed its harbour for shipping, and started to develop the city. Massive infrastructure development was undertaken which followed by new businesses started opening up and the population of the town began rising rapidly. British colonialists embarked on a number of public works of sanitation and transportation and Karachi quickly turned into a city, making true the famous quote by Napier who is known to have said on his departure in 1847: Would that I could come again to see you in your grandeur!
During the British Raj, the city was the largest urban centre in present-day Pakistan and was connected to the rest of British India by railway link. By then, Karachi was then enjoying an economic boom and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 meant the city was 200 nautical miles closer to Europe for shipping than Bombay (now called Mumbai). The constant developments in the city resulted in a large influx of economic migrants. The population of the city was about 105,000 by the end of the 19th century. In 1876, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in the city.
Following the bloody partition of the British Raj and the independence of Pakistan, rapid growth occurred in the city and it had became the focus for settlement by Muslim migrants from India. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees from India sought refugee in the city and the population exploded from about 450,000 to an estimated 23.5 million today. Refugees settlement in Karachi gave the city a northern Indian atmosphere, as well expanded the city's population and transformed its demographics and economy. There were 50% Hindu population in the city before the partition in 1947 which later decreased to only 2% within 10 year period in 1951 whereas Muslim population exceeds to 95% in 1951 which was previously only 40% before the partition of the sub-continent.
Karachi was chosen as the capital of Pakistan from 1947–1958 and became a bustling metropolis, with beautiful classical and colonial European styled buildings lining the city’s thoroughfares. Over the next several decades it was one of the fastest growing cities in the world. In 1958, the capital was moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi and then later moved to the newly built Islamabad in 1960. A huge crowd of illegal refugees from around the world continued to flock into the city which made the city’s population continue to grow and exceed the capacity of its creaking infrastructure. During the 1960s, Pakistan was seen as an economic role model around the world and that was the golden age of Karachi. It is being said that many countries sought to emulate Pakistan's economic planning strategy; one of them, South Korea, copied the country's second "Five-Year Plan", and the World Financial Centre in Seoul is designed and modelled after Karachi.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the city saw an influx of illegal Afghan refugees from the Soviet war in Afghanistan moving into Karachi which in 2010, was estimated to be between 1.6 and 2 million people along with thousands of nationals from many other countries who are living illegally in Karachi without proper documentation. Political tensions and ethnic violence between the Muhajir and local groups such as ethnic Sindhis and Punjabis erupted across the city and the city was racked with political violence. As a result, the Pakistani army was deployed to restore peace in the city. The period from 1992 to 1994 is regarded as the bloodiest period in the history of the city, when the Army commenced its "Operation Clean-up" against the Mohajir Qaumi Movement.
Karachi has a relatively mild and an arid climate — albeit a moderate version of this climate — pretty much throughout the year because the city rests on the coast. Karachi has two main seasons; summer and winter, while spring and autumn are very short. The city enjoys a tropical climate encompassing warm and humid summers while the mild and dry winters; the proximity to the sea maintains humidity levels at a near-constant high and cool sea breezes relieve the heat of the summer months however summer season persists for longest period during the year. Due to the high temperatures during the summer (ranging from 30-44°C from April to October), the winter season that last from November to March, are the best times to visit Karachi. Most rainfall occurs during the rainy season of monsoon occurs in Summer from July to August, occasionally featuring lengthy spells of continuous rain. The highest ever recorded temperature in Karachi is 47.8°C while the lowest is 0°C.
|Daily highs (°C)||25.6||26.4||28.8||30.6||32.3||33.3||32.2||30.8||30.7||31.6||30.5||27.3|
|Nightly lows (°C)||14.1||15.9||20.3||23.7||26.1||27.9||27.4||26.2||25.3||23.5||20.0||15.7|
Karachi's weather forecast at BBC Weather
City geographic coordinates are 24°51′ N 67°02′ E. Most of the land consists of flat or rolling plains, with hills on the western and Manora Island and the Oyster Rocks. The Arabian Sea beach lines the southern coastline of Karachi.Mangroves and creeks of the Indus delta can be found toward the southeast side of the city. Toward the west and the north is Cape Monze, locally known as Ras Muari, an area marked by projecting sea cliffs and rocky sandstone promontories. Some excellent beaches can be found in this area. Khasa Hills and Mulri Hills lie in the northwest and form the border between North Nazimabad Town and Orangi Town. The Manghopir Hills lies northwest of Karachi, between Hub River and Manghopir. The hills in Karachi are the offshoots of the Kirthar Range. The highest point of these hills in Karachi is about 528 m in the extreme north. All these hills are devoid of vegetation and have wide intervening plains, dry river beds and water channels. The rivers in Karachi are Malir River and Lyari River. The Indus River flood plain is near Karachi. The city is located on the Arabian Sea coastline.
Karachi is the financial and commercial capital of the Islamic Republic 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 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. (Note: Revenue collected from Karachi includes revenue from some other areas since the Large Tax Unit (LTU) Karachi and Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur & Quetta cover the entire province of Sindh and Balochistan). Karachi's indigenous contribution to national revenue is around 25%.
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%. Karachi's GDP is around 20% of the total GDP of Pakistan. A PricewaterhouseCoopers study 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 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.
Karachi is the nerve center of Pakistan's economy. The economic stagnation caused by political anarchy, ethnic strife and resultant military operation during the late 1980s and 1990s led to an exit of industry from Karachi. Most of Pakistan's public and private banks are headquartered on Karachi's I. I. Chundrigar Road which is also known as "Pakistan's Wall Street"; according to a 2001 report, nearly 60% of the cashflow of the Pakistani economy takes place on I. I. Chundrigar Road. It was in 1963 when Habib Bank Plaza was built on this road which remained Pakistan's tallest building until 2000s when it was outgrown by two other buildings in Karachi. Most major foreign multinational corporations operating in Pakistan have their headquarters in Karachi. The Karachi Stock Exchangeis 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.
Karachi has seen an expansion of information and communications technology and electronic mediaand 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% to gain foreign investments in the IT sector. Many of Pakistan's independenttelevision 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 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 cottage industry and there is a Free Zone with an annual growth rate of nearly 6.5%. The Karachi Expo Centre hosts regional and international exhibitions.
There are 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.
North Nazimabad Town
New Karachi Town
The area code for Karachi is 21. (International code +92 if calling from outside Pakistan). Karachi phone numbers are eight digits long. Public Call Offices (PCO), can be found all over the city although they're not so popular nowadays as they once used to be because of vast use of mobile phones now but still you can find a PCO in general or convenience stores; there is usually someone who operates the phone and fax unlike coin operated telephone booths. Rates are usually cheap and will be charged according to the time spent, and you will pay when you have finished your call. Often it is difficult to find one that is open early in the morning or late at night.Cell phone, coverage in the city is excellent.
Cybercafes, locally known as "Internet cafes" can be found on virtually every street corner and the rates at around Rs 50 per hr. They usually don't have a very fast operating system nor good internet speed so don't be too impatient. Do note that they have probably not kept pace with advances in hardware or software, so if you find yourself in one of them, don't be surprised if you are stuck with a really small monitor, Windows XP, and Internet Explorer 5.0. Also data security could be an issue. As a caution, change your password after you use it at a cybercafe or do private/incognito browsing. Most of the cafes in downtown area have a decent speed internet connection with good operating systems.
Internet Access, can be obtained easily on notebook computers with the help of GRPS/3G enabled mobile connections, supported by almost all of the 5 mobile operators. The standard cost of GPRS/EDGE/3G usage is PKR 15-Rs 20/MB of data download with no charges on uploads, Although some provide prepay Unlimited daily/weekly packages, however if you wish to download much more you may want to use unlimited packages, provided by all of the 5 mobile operators. PTCL, Mobilink Infinity, WorldCall, Wateen, Qubee are WiMax internet providers and Wi-Tribe offers USB internet. PTCL 3G/4G evo is also a good highspeed and budget option for internet.
Wi-Fi, Finding Wi-Fi in Karachi is very difficult. However there are several Wi-Fi Hotspots in hotels, malls and cafes/restaurants. If you are in a business district like Shahra-e-Faisal or I.I.Chundrigar Rd, or Malls in Clifton then most of the area will have Wi-Fi.