کراچی (Urdu)
ڪراچي (Sindhi)
—  City District  —
Counterclockwise from top left: Karachi Skyline, M.A. Jinnah Tomb, Karachi Sunday Textile Market, KPT headquarters, Sindh High Court, Kemari Boat Basin and Nagan Interchange

Nickname(s): The Gateway to Pakistan, The City of Bright Lights, Mini Pakistan
Karachi is located in Sindh
Location of Karachi in Sindh and in Pakistan.
Coordinates: 24°51′36″N 67°0′36″E / 24.86°N 67.01°E / 24.86; 67.01Coordinates: 24°51′36″N 67°0′36″E / 24.86°N 67.01°E / 24.86; 67.01
Country Pakistan
Province Sindh Sindh
Municipal Committee 1853
Municipal Corporation 1933
Metropolitan Corporation 1976
City District Government 14 August 2001
City Council City Complex, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town
 – Type City District
 – City Administrator Fazal ur Rehman[2]
 – District Coordination Officer
 – City District 3,527 km2 (1,361.8 sq mi)
Elevation 8 m (26 ft)
Population (2010)[4][5]
 – City District 13,052,000
 – Density 3,700.6/km2 (9,584.5/sq mi)
 – Metro 13,205,339
Demonym Karachiite
Time zone PST (UTC+05:00)
Postal code 74200 (General Post Office)
Dialling code 021
Website KarachiCity.gov.pk

Karachi (About this sound Karācī , 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. The city has an estimated population of 13[4] to 15 million,[6] while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million.[5] Karachi is the most populous city in the country, one of the world's largest cities in terms of population[6] and also the 10th largest urban agglomeration in the world.[7] 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.[8]

Karachi is ranked as a Beta world city.[9][10] 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 Muhajirs from India and other parts of South Asia came to settle in Karachi.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] It is locally known[by whom?] 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.[citation needed]



Early history

Engr. Muhammad Muneeb Ali Qureshi S/o Mairaj Ali Qureshi was the famous Qureshi 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[11]

Karachi was founded as "Kolachi" by Sindhi and Baloch tribes from Balochistan and Makran, who established a small fishing community in the area.[12] Descendants of the original community still live in the area on the small island of Abdullah Goth, which is located near the Karachi Port. Karachi is better than Mumbai. 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.[13] The town was later annexed to British India when Sindh was conquered by Major-General Charles James Napier at the Battle of Miani on 17 February 1843. On his departure in 1847, Napier 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 'native' 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.[14] 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.[15] 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, Chinese, British, Arabs 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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18][19]

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.[20] 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,[21] and a large proportion of the country's white collar workers.


Satellite view of Karachi

Karachi is located in the south of Pakistan, on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Its geographic coordinates are 24°51′ N 67°02′ E. Most of the land consisted largely 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 Raas Muari, an area marked by projecting sea cliffs and rocky sandstone promontories. Some excellent beaches can be found in this area. Khasa Hills lie in the northwest and form the border between North Nazimabad Town and Orangi Town. The Manghopir mountain range lies northwest of Karachi, between Hub River and Manghopir.


Sunset in Karachi

Located on the coast, Karachi has an arid climate with low average precipitation levels (approx. 250 mm (9.8 in) per annum), the bulk of which occurs during the July–August monsoon season. Winters are mild and dry, while the summers are warm and humid; the proximity to the sea maintains humidity levels at a near-constant high and cool sea breezes relieve the heat of the summer months. December and January are dry and pleasant as compared to the warm summers that dominate through the late spring (March) to the pre-monsoon season (June). Compared to other parts of Pakistan, Karachi's weather is considered mild and can be compared to Florida's weather.

The city's highest monthly rainfall, 429.3 mm (16.90 in), occurred in July 1967.[22] The city's highest rainfall in 24 hours occurred on 7 August 1953, when about 278.1 millimetres (10.95 in) of rain lashed the city, resulting in major flooding.[23] Karachi's highest recorded temperature is 47 °C (117 °F), which was recorded on June 18, 1979,[22] and the lowest is 0.0 °C (32.0 °F), recorded on 21 January 1934.[22]

Climate data for Karachi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.8
Average high °C (°F) 25.6
Average low °C (°F) 14.1
Record low °C (°F) 0.0
Rainfall mm (inches) 3.6
Source no. 1: HKO (normals, 1962–1987)[24]
Source no. 2: PakMet (extremes, 1931–2008)[22]


The financial district in Karachi
Malir River Bridge. The Longest bridge in Pakistan.

Karachi is the financial and commercial capital 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.[25] Karachi accounts for 75.14% of customs duty and 79% of sales tax on imports.[25] Therefore, Karachi collects a significant 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.[25] (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).[25] Karachi's indigenous contribution to national revenue is around 25%.[21]

Karachi's contribution to Pakistan's manufacturing sector amounts to approximately 30 percent.[26] A substantial part of Sindh’s gross domestic product (GDP) is attributed to Karachi[27][28] (the GDP of Sindh as a percentage of Pakistan’s total GDP has traditionally hovered around 28%-30%; for more information, see economy of Sindh).[27][28][29][30] Karachi’s GDP is around 20% of the total GDP of Pakistan.[21][31] 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[32] (projected to be $193 billion in 2025 at a growth rate of 5.5%).[32] 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.[32] Karachi's high GDP is based on its mega-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. In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan.[33] Karachi is the nerve center of Pakistan's economy. The economic stagnation caused by political anarchy, ethnic strife and resultant military operation during late 1980s and 90s led to efflux of industry from Karachi. Most of Pakistan's public and private banks are headquartered on Karachi's I. I. Chundrigar Road; according to a 2001 report, nearly 60% of the cashflow of the Pakistani economy takes place on I. I. Chundrigar Road. Most major foreign multinational corporations operating in Pakistan have their headquarters in Karachi. The Karachi Stock Exchange is 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.[34] 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.[35] Recently, Karachi has seen an expansion of information and communications technology and electronic media and 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% in order to gain foreign investments in the IT sector.[36][37] Many of Pakistan’s independent television and radio stations are based in Karachi, including world-popular Business Plus, AAJ News, Geo TV, KTN,[38] Sindh TV,[39] CNBC Pakistan, TV ONE, ARY Digital, Indus Television Network, Samaa TV and Dawn News, as well as several local stations.

Karachi has several 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.[40] Its primary areas of industry 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%. The Karachi Expo Centre hosts many regional and international exhibitions.[41] There are many 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.[42] The Karachi Port Trust is planning a Rs. 20 billion, 1,947 feet (593 m) high Port Tower Complex on the Clifton shoreline.[43][44] 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.[45]

As one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world, Karachi faces challenges that are central to many developing metropolises, including traffic congestion, pollution, poverty and street crime. These problems continue to earn Karachi low rankings in livability comparisons: The Economist ranked Karachi fourth least livable city amongst the 132 cities surveyed[46] and BusinessWeek ranked it 175 out of 215 in livability in 2007, down from 170 in 2006.[47]

Civic administration

Civic Centre, the main offices of the City-District Government
Karachi Municipal Corporation Building

The citystrict of Karachi is structured as a three-tier federation, with the two lower tiers composed of 18 towns and 178 union councils,[48] with each tier focussed on elected councils with some common members to provide "vertical linkage" within the federation.[49] Each union council comprises thirteen members elected from specified electorates: four men and two women elected directly by the general population; two men and two women elected by peasants and workers; one member for minority communities; two members are elected jointly as the union mayor (nazim) and deputy union mayor (naib nazim).[50] Each town council comprises all of the deputy union mayors in the town as well as elected representatives for women, peasants and workers, and minorities.[51] The district council comprises all of the union mayors in the district as well as elected representatives for women, peasants and workers, and minorities.[52] Each council also includes up to three council secretaries and a number of other civil servants. The main purpose of all of the councils is to provide municipal services, with specific responsibilities allocated to the district council,[53] the town councils,[54] and the union councils.[55] There are also six military cantonments which are administered by the Pakistan Army and do not form part of the City District Government.

The current system of government was brought into existence by the Local Government Ordinance of 14 August 2001, the latest in a series of administrative setups for Karachi. The first form of government was a conservancy board established in 1846 to control the spread of cholera in the city.[56] The board became a municipal commission in 1852, and a municipal committee the following year.[56] The City of Karachi Municipal Act of 1933 transformed the city administration into a municipal corporation with a mayor, a deputy mayor and 57 councillors.[56] In 1948, the Federal Capital Territory of Pakistan was created, comprising approximately 2,103 km2 (812 sq mi) of Karachi and surrounding areas, but this was merged into the province of West Pakistan in 1961.[57] However, the municipal corporation remained in existence and in 1976 became a metropolitan corporation, followed by the creation of zonal municipal committees, which lasted until 1994.[56] Two years later the metropolitan area was divided into five districts, each with a municipal corporation.[56]

Naimatullah Khan was the first Nazim of Karachi and Shafiq-Ur-Rehman Paracha was the first district coordination officer (DCO) of Karachi, Paracha even served as the last Commissioner of Karachi. Naimatullah Khan focused on building new parks, providing entertainment outlets to the youth (to celebrate events like Valentine's Day) and families (to celebrate events like Eid). In the elections of 2005, Syed Mustafa Kamal was elected City Nazim of Karachi to succeed Naimatullah Khan, and Nasreen Jalil was elected as the City Naib Nazim. Mustafa Kamal was previously the provincial minister for information technology in Sindh. In 2010, Fazlur Rahman became caretaker administrator of the CDGK, replacing the Mustafa Kamal.[58]

  1. Lyari Town
  2. Saddar Town
  3. Jamshed Town
  4. Gadap Town
  5. SITE Town
  6. Kemari Town
  7. Shah Faisal Town
  8. Korangi Town
  9. Landhi Town
  10. Bin Qasim Town
  11. Malir Town
  12. Gulshan Town
Karachi admin.PNG
  1. Liaquatabad Town
  2. North Nazimabad Town
  3. Gulberg Town
  4. New Karachi Town
  5. Orangi Town
  6. Baldia Town
A. Karachi Cantonment
B. Clifton Cantonment
C. Korangi Creek Cantonment
D. Faisal Cantonment
E. Malir Cantonment
F. Manora Cantonment


Trend of population growth (in millions) in Karachi

Karachi's inhabitants, locally known as Karachiites , are a cosmopolitan population composed of many ethno-linguistic groups from all parts of Pakistan as well as migrants from several different countries and regions, making the city a diverse melting pot. The population and demographic distribution of the city has undergone considerable changes over the past 150 years. At the end of the 19th century, the population of the city was about 105,000, with a gradual increase over the next few decades, reaching more than 400,000 on the eve of independence. Current estimates of the population range from 15 to 18 million,[60][61] of which an estimated 90% are migrants from different backgrounds. The city's population is estimated to be growing at about 5% per year (mainly as a result of internal rural-urban migration), including an estimated 45,000 migrant workers coming to the city every month from different parts of Pakistan.[62]

The earlist inhabitants of the area that became Karachi included Baloch in the west, and Sindhi tribes such as the Jokhio, Mallaah and Jath in the east. Before the departure of British colonial rule and the subsequent independence of Pakistan, the population of the city included Hindus and Sikhs, but the community is still present numbering around 250,000 residents.[63] The city was, and still is home to a large community of Gujarati Muslims, who were one of the earliest settlers in the city, and still form the majority in Saddar Town. Important Gujarati Muslim communities in the city include the Memon, Chhipa, Ghanchi, Khoja, Bohra and Tai. Other early settlers included the Parsis, also originally from Gujarat, Konkani Muslims from Mumbai (settled in Kokan Town), Goan Catholics and Anglo-Indians. Most non-Muslims left the city to India in the 1950s, after independence, but there are still small communities of Parsis, Goan Catholics and Anglo-Indians in the city.

The partition of Panjab and the subsequent independence of Pakistan in 1947 which consisted of numerous communal riots saw the settlement of the what is now the largest ethnic community in the city, the Muhajirs who had fled India and found refuge in Pakistan.[64] Most properties vacated by fleeing Hindus were granted to Urdu-speaking Muslim migrants who had fled India. Known as Muhajirs, their descendants now form the majority of Karachi's residents. Partition also saw the settlement of a large number of Punjabi Muslims from East Punjab, Kashmiri Muslims from the Kashmir Valley, and further immigration of Gujarati Muslims and Konkani Muslims from India. There are some Hindkowans and Seraikis who migrated much later. Within the Muhajirs, there is also a sizeable community of Malayali Muslims in Karachi (the Mappila), originally from Kerala in South India.[65]

The Pashtuns, originally from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and northern Balochistan, are now the city's second largest ethnic group.[66][67] By some estimates, there are close to 7 million Pashtuns in Karachi, including approximately 50,000 registered Afghan refugees,[68] Karachi hosts the largest Pashtun population in the world outside Khyber Pukhtoonkhuwa. Many of these Pashtuns have been resident in Karachi for decades, and as a result, some no longer speak Pashto fluently, and instead primarily speak Urdu or English — especially those from wealthier communities. In addition, a small number of the Muhajir community (such as the Rohilla community) in Karachi claim to be by origin ethnic Pashtuns.

Grocery store in Karachi

After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, thousands of Biharis and Bengalis from Bangladesh arrived in the city, and today Karachi is home to 1 to 2 million ethnic Bengalis from Bangladesh (see Bangladeshis in Pakistan),[69][70] many of whom migrated in the 1980s and 1990s. They were followed by Rohingya Muslim refugees from western Burma (for more information, see Burmese people in Pakistan),[71] and Asian refugees from Uganda. One under-privileged ethnic group are the Siddis (Negro - Sheedi) who trace their roots to African slaves from earlier centuries.[72] Many other refugees from Iran and the Central Asian countries constituting the former Soviet Union have also settled in the city as economic migrants. There also exists a small Nepali population, large numbers of Arabs, Filipinos and an economic elite of Sinhalese from Sri Lanka.[73] Expatriates from China have a history going back to the 1940s; today, many of the Chinese are second-generation children of immigrants who came to the city and worked as dentists, chefs and shoemakers.[73][74]

Karachi is furthermore host to a large number of western expatriates in Pakistan. During World War II, about 30,000 Polish refugees migrated to Karachi, at that time under British colonial rule.Many of these Polish families settled permanently in the city.[75] There are also well-established communities of American[76] and British expatriates.

According to the census of 1998, the religious breakdown of the city is as follows: Muslim (96.45%); Christian (2.42%); Hindu (0.86%); Ahmadi (0.17%) and others (Parsis, Sikhs, Bahá'ís, Jews and Buddhists) (0.10%).[77] Karachi has been sometimes regarded as an ethnically segregated city, with 75% of the city regarded as being segregated along ethnic lines.[78]

According to the census of 1998, the linguistic distribution of the city was : Urdu: 48.52%; Punjabi: 13.94%; Pashto: 15.42%; Sindhi: 7.22%; Balochi: 4.34%; Saraiki: 2.11%; others: 12.4%. The others include Dari, Gujarati, Dawoodi Bohra, Memon, Marwari, Brahui, Makrani, Khowar, Burushaski.[79] Non-Pakistani languages, such as Bengali, Persian, and Arabic, are not included in the Pakistani census.

Art and culture

Karachi is home to some of Pakistan's important cultural institutions. The National Academy of Performing Arts,[80] located in the newly renovated Hindu Gymkhana, offers a two-year diploma course in performing arts that includes classical music and contemporary theatre. The All Pakistan Music 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 attended by more than 3000 citizens of Karachi as well as people from other cities.[81] The National Arts Council (Koocha-e-Saqafat) has musical performances and mushaira (poetry recitations). The Kara Film Festival annually showcases independent Pakistani and international films and documentaries. Karachi is home to many theatre, music and dance performance groups, such as Thespianz Theater, a professional youth-based, non-profit performing arts group, which works non-stop on theater and arts activities in Pakistan[citation needed]

Karachi has many museums that present exhibitions on a regular basis, including the Mohatta Palace and the National Museum of Pakistan. Karachi Expo Centre hosts many regional and international exhibitions.

The everyday lifestyle of Karachi differs substantially from that of other Pakistani cities and towns. The culture of Karachi is characterized by the blending of South Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Western influences, as well as its status as a major international business centre. After the independence of Pakistan, Karachi received a large number of refugees from all over India, whose influence is now evident in the city's different sub-cultures. Karachi hosts the largest middle class stratum of the country and is the most liberal city in Pakistan.[citation needed]


Frere Hall, Karachi
3 Talwar (Swords), Clifton, Karachi
Aerial view of Boat Basin Park (Benazir Bhutto Park), Clifton, Karachi

Karachi has a rich collection of buildings and structures of varied architectural styles. Many modern high-rise buildings are under construction. The downtown districts of Saddar and Clifton contain a variety of early 20th-century architecture, ranging in style from the neo-classical KPT building to the Sindh High Court Building. During the period of British rule, classical architecture was preferred for monuments of the British Raj.[citation needed] Karachi acquired its first neo-Gothic or Indo-Gothic buildings when Frere Hall, Empress Market and St. Patrick's Cathedral were completed. The Mock Tudor architectural style was introduced in the Karachi Gymkhana and the Boat Club. Neo-Renaissance architecture was popular in the 19th century and was the language for St. Joseph's Convent (1870) and the Sind Club (1883).[82] The classical style made a comeback in the late nineteenth century, as seen in Lady Dufferin Hospital (1898)[83] and the Cantt. Railway Station. While Italianate buildings remained popular, an eclectic blend termed Indo-Saracenic or Anglo-Mughal began to emerge in some locations.

The local mercantile community began acquiring impressive mercantile structures. Zaibunnisa Street in the Saddar area (known as Elphinstone Street in British days) is an example where the mercantile groups adopted the Italianate and Indo-Saracenic style to demonstrate their familiarity with Western culture and their own. The Hindu Gymkhana (1925) and Mohatta Palace are the example of Mughal revival buildings.[84] The Sindh Wildlife Conservation Building, located in Saddar, served as a Freemasonic Lodge until it was taken over by the government. There are talks of it being taken away from this custody and being renovated and the Lodge being preserved with its original woodwork and ornate wooden staircase.[85]

In recent years, a large number of architecturally distinctive, even eccentric, buildings have sprung up throughout Karachi. Notable examples of contemporary architecture include the Pakistan State Oil Headquarters building and the Karachi Financial Towers. The city has numerous examples of modern Islamic architecture, including the Aga Khan University hospital, Masjid e Tooba, Faran Mosque, Bait-ul Mukarram Mosque, Quaid's Mausoleum, and the Textile Institute of Pakistan. One of the unique cultural elements of Karachi is that the residences, which are two- or three-story townhouses, are built with the front yard protected by a high brick wall. Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar Road features a range of extremely tall buildings. The most prominent examples include the Habib Bank Plaza, PRC Towers and the MCB Tower which is the tallest skyscraper in Pakistan.[86]

Many more high-rise buildings are under construction, such as Centre Point near Korangi Industrial Area, IT Tower, Sofitel Tower Karachi and Emerald Tower. The Government of Sindh recently[when?] approved the construction of two high-density zones, which will host the new city skyline.


Being a cosmopolitan city of Pakistan, Karachi has variety of restaurants from fast food to conventional restaurants and international. The Port Grand Food and Entertainment Complex is the largest food street of Asia. Port Grand project is a 13-acre world-class facility that has been designed and built in collaboration with top international architects/designers who employed the latest technology and building techniques to deliver a state-of-the-art facility. Boat basin is also a very famous food market. Burns Road in Saddar has traditionally been the place to find traditional Pakistani food.

Fashion, shopping and entertainment

The night life in Karachi is believed to be best among all over Pakistan,Karachi is also known as city of lights and the city which never sleeps,Almost every day entertainment events are held in Karachi ranging for fashion shows, concerts, seminars or even small gigs at local cafe. Karachi has always been proactive in organizing large events but because of the political and economic crisis in the country, activities have recently been slowed down. Karachi continues to host many different cultural and fashion shows. In 2009 a four-day-long fashion show was organized in Karachi's luxury Marriott hotel.[87] Karachi has many glitzy shopping malls in the Clifton area, Tariq Road, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Hyderi shopping area, such as Park Towers, The Forum, Dolmen Mall and Millenium Mall. Zamzama Boulevard is known for its designer stores and many cafes. There are many bazaars in Karachi selling different merchandise. The famous bazaars include Bohri Bazaar, Soldier Bazaar, and Urdu Bazaar. Foreign clothes brands and famous Pakistani fashion labels (such as Amir Adnan, Aijazz, Rizwan Beyg, Deepak Perwani, Shayanne Malik, Maria B, Khaadi, Sputnik Footwear, Metro Shoes, English Boot House, Cotton & Cotton, Men's Store and Junaid Jamshed) are present in shopping districts of the city. The newly built shopping center Port Grand Food and Entertainment Complex is located at Port of Karachi near Native Jetty Bridge.


Karachi Golf Club, one of the largest golf clubs in Karachi

Cricket is the most popular Sport in Karachi, which is played in many small grounds around the city, as well as on city streets at night and on weekends. Gully cricket is played in the narrow by-lanes of the city. The National Stadium is the city's only world-class cricket stadium, and is the second largest cricket stadium in Pakistan after the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The inaugural first-class match at the National Stadium was played between Pakistan and India on 26 February 1955 and since then Pakistani national cricket team has won 20 of the 41 Test matches played at the National Stadium.[88] Since then, instability caused by terrorism has mean't that non-Asian sides have refused to play in Karachi. The first One Day International at the National Stadium was against the West Indies on 21 November 1980, with the match going to the last ball. The national team has been less successful in such limited-overs matches at the ground, including a five year stint between 1996 and 2001, when they failed to win any matches. The city has been host to a number of successful domestic cricket teams including Karachi,[89] Karachi Blues,[90] Karachi Greens,[91] and Karachi Whites.[92] The National Stadium hosted two group matches (Pakistan v. South Africa on 29 February and Pakistan v. England on 3 March), and a quarter-final match (South Africa v. West Indies on 11 March) during the 1996 Cricket World Cup.[93]

The city has also hosted seven editions of the National Games of Pakistan, most recently in 2007.[94] Sports like badminton, volleyball and basketball are popular in schools and colleges. Football is especially popular in Lyari Town, which has a large Afro-Balochi community and has always been a football-mad locality in Karachi. The Peoples Football Stadium is perhaps the largest football stadium in Pakistan with respect to capacity, easily accommodating around 40,000 people. In 2005, the city hosted the SAFF Championship at this ground, as well as the Geo Super Football League 2007, which attracted capacity crowds during the games.The popularity of golf is also gradually increasing among the masses and many clubs in Karachi like Dreamworld Resort, Hotel & Golf Club, Arabian Sea Country Club, DA Country & Golf Club are providing finest golf facilities to the citizens of Karachi. The city has facilities for hockey (the Hockey Club of Pakistan, UBL Hockey Ground), boxing (KPT Sports Complex), Squash (sport) (Jahangir Khan Squash Complex) and Polo. Marinas and boating clubs add to the diverse sporting activities in Karachi.

Professional Karachi teams
Club League Sport Venue Established
Karachi Dolphins Twenty-20 Cup Cricket National Stadium 2004
Karachi Zebras Twenty-20 Cup Cricket National Stadium 2004
Karachi Energy SFL Football Peoples Football Stadium 2007
Karachi HBL FC PPL Football Peoples Football Stadium 1975


Karachi is one of the most literate cities in Pakistan, with the highest literacy rate along with a gross enrollment ratio of 111%, the highest in Sindh.[95]

Education in Karachi is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programs leading to graduate and advanced degrees. Karachi has both public and private educational institutions. Most educational institutions are gender-based, from primary to university level.

Karachi Grammar School is the oldest school in Pakistan and has educated many Pakistani businessmen and politicians. The Narayan Jagannath High School in Karachi, which opened in 1855, was the first government school established in Sindh. Other well-known schools include the Hamdard Public School, Education Bay [EBay] school located in karachi (for higher education) Army Public School (C.O.D.), Karachi Public school, British Overseas School, L'ecole for Advanced Studies, Bay View Academey, the CAS School, Generations School, Karachi American School, Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, the Froebel Education Centre (FEC), The Paradise School and College, Little Folks Secondary School, Habib Public School, Mama Parsi Girls Secondary School, B. V. S. Parsi High School, Civilizations Public School, The Oasys School, Avicenna School, The Lyceum School, Ladybird Grammar School, The City School, ABC Public School, Beaconhouse School System, The Educators schools, Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan School, Shahwilayat Public School, Springfield School, St Patrick's High School, St Paul's English High School, St Joseph's Convent School, St Jude's High School, St Michael's Convent School, Foundation Public School,Aisha Bawanay Academy, Karachi Gems School, St Peter's High School and Chiniot Islamia School.

The University of Karachi, known as KU, is Pakistan's largest university, with a student population of 24,000 and one of the largest faculties in the world. It is located next to the NED University of Engineering and Technology, the country's oldest engineering institute. In the private sector, The National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (NUCES-FAST), one of Pakistan's top universities in computer education, operates two campuses in Karachi. Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) provides reputable training in biomedical engineering, civil engineering, electronics engineering, telecom engineering and computer engineering. Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, which opened in 1962, offers degree programmes in electronic engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, materials engineering and architecture. Karachi Institute of Economics & Technology (KIET) has two campuses in Karachi and has been growing rapidly since its inception in 1997. The Plastics Technology Center (PTC), located in Karachi's Korangi Industrial Area, is at present Pakistan's only educational institution providing training in the field of polymer engineering and plastics testing services.[96] The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), founded in 1955, is the oldest business school outside of North America. The Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), founded in 1995 by Benazir Bhutto, is located in Karachi, with its other campuses in Islamabad, Larkana and Dubai. Pakistan Navy Engineering College (PNEC) is a part of the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), offering a wide range of engineering programs, including electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Hamdard University is the largest private university in Pakistan with faculties including Eastern Medicine, Medical, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Law. It has got Asia's second largest library called 'BAIT UL HIKMA'. Jinnah University for Women is the first women university in Pakistan. Karachi is home of the head offices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) (established in 1961) and the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP). Among the many other institutions providing business education are the Institute of Business Management (IoBM), SZABIST, Iqra University and the Institute of Business and Technology (Biztek). Leading medical schools of Pakistan like the Dow University of Health Sciences and the Aga Khan University are situated in Karachi. PLANWEL[2] is another innovative institution it is a CISCO Network Academy as well as iCBT center for ETS Prometric and Pearsons VUE. Bahria University also has a purpose-built campus in Karachi. The College of Accounting and Management Sciences (CAMS) also has three branches in the city. Sindh Muslim Govt. Science College located at Saddar Town is the eldest college in Karachi.

For religious education, the Jamia Uloom ul Islamia (one of the largest Islamic education centres of Asia), Jamia Binoria[97] and Darul 'Uloom Karachi are among the Islamic schools in Karachi.


Map showing major roads, railway lines, ports and airports (Click to enlarge)


Traffic problems and pollution are major challenges for Karachi. The level of air pollution in Karachi is significantly higher than World Health Organization standards.[98] A number of new parks (e.g., Bagh Ibne Qasim, Beach View Park and Jheel Park) have been developed and new trees are being planted in the city to improve the environment and reduce the pollution. The construction of new bridges/flyovers, underpasses and signal-free corridors (e.g., Corridor 1: S.I.T.E. to Shahrae Faisal, Corridor 2: North Karachi to Shahrae Faisal, Corridor 3: Safora Goth to Saddar) has improved the traffic flow in Karachi. The eventual completion of Corridor 4 (from the airport to Metropole Hotel) is expected to substantially reduce the travel time to reach the city centre and airport.


Karakoram Express departing to Lahore from Karachi Cantt. Station

Karachi is linked by rail to the rest of the country by Pakistan Railways. The Karachi City Station and Karachi Cantonment Railway Station are the city's two major railway stations. The railway system handles a large amount of freight to and from the Karachi port and provides passenger services to people traveling up country. A project to transform the existing, but non-operational, Karachi Circular Railway into a modern mass transit system has recently[when?] been approved by the government. The $1.6 billion project will be financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and will be completed by 2013. The city government has introduced an initiative to alleviate the transport pains by introducing new CNG buses.


The Jinnah International Airport is located in Karachi. It is the largest and busiest airport of Pakistan. It handles 10 million passengers a year. The airport receives the largest number of foreign airlines, a total of 35 airlines and cargo operators fly to Jinnah International predominantly from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. All of Pakistan's airlines use Karachi as their primary transport hub including PIA - Pakistan International Airlines[3], Airblue, and Shaheen Air International. The city's old airport terminals are now used for Hajj flights, offices, 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 has two other airstrips, used primarily by the armed forces.


Manora Light House

The largest shipping ports in Pakistan are the Port of Karachi and the nearby Port Qasim. These seaports have modern facilities and not only handle trade for Pakistan, but serve as ports for Afghanistan and the landlocked Central Asian countries. Plans have been announced for new passenger facilities at the Port of Karachi.[99]


Many of Pakistan’s independent television and radio channels are based in Karachi, including Dawn News, Business Plus, Geo TV, CNBC Pakistan, Hum TV, TV ONE, AAJ TV, SAMAA TV, ARY Digital, Metro One, Indus Television Network, Kawish Television Network (KTN) and Sindh TV as well as several local stations; local channels include Good News TV. It also has Islamic channels ARY Qtv and Madani Channel

Pakistan's premier news television networks are based in Karachi, including GEO News, ARY One World, Dawn News and AAJ News. AAG TV and MTV Pakistan are the main music television channels, and Business Plus and CNBC Pakistan are the main business television channels based in the city. The bulk of Pakistan's periodical publishing industry is centred in Karachi, including magazines such as Spider, The Herald, Humsay, The Cricketer, Moorad Shipping News, and The Internet.

Major advertising companies including Interflow Communications, and Orient McCann Erickson have their head offices in Karachi. Karachi has also been featured in the game Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

Health and medicine

Karachi is a centre of research in biomedicine, with at least 30 public hospitals and more than 80 private hospitals, including the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), Spencer Eye Hospital, Civil Hospital, PNS Rahat, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Aga Khan University Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and Liaquat National Hospital, as well as Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Hamid Hospital Pvt. Ltd, Ziauddin Hospital, National Medical Centre and Lady Dufferin Hospital. Medical schools include the Dow Medical College, Aga Khan University, Liaquat National Medical College, Sindh Medical College, Dow International Medical College, Baqai Medical University, Karachi Medical & Dental College, Jinnah Medical & Dental College, Hamdard College of Medicine & Dentistry, Sir Syed College of Medical Sciences for Girls and Ziauddin Medical University.

Sister cities


See also


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