Whenever we hear the name “Karachi”, what comes to an average person’s mind is that it is a port city of 20 million people, the largest city in Pakistan, and one of the largest cities in the world. It is a city that was once popular for its scenic beaches, entertainment industry, and organized city planning. Fast forward to 2023, and this once peaceful city, a crown jewel of South Asia, has turned into a dystopian hellscape suffering from rising crime rates, dysfunctional infrastructure, and underfunded city police, where the city’s apex predators, the “Sindh Rangers,” act as the last line of defense for the city against the criminal underworld. This city is very different from the utopian times that our elders experienced in their youth. Yet in the midst of all this chaos, the city of Karachi hides a side that is quite rare and not common within the rest of the cities located in Pakistan.
Unlike Lahore, Peshawar, and other major cities in Pakistan, the city of Karachi is known for its incredibly diverse population, including Muhajirs, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Punjabis, and Saraikis. Such diversity only exists within Karachi, where various ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds are trying their best to live harmoniously. Such diversity gives the city a characteristic cosmopolitan atmosphere. Karachi is also a city with a rich and diverse history. The city itself holds great historical significance for the people of Pakistan, where Karachi was also known as the ancient port of “Debal.” In 712 AD, Muhammad Bin Qasim and his forces used the port as a staging area to launch conquests into Sindh. During the colonial period of the British Raj, the city of Karachi was a crucial part of British Colonial India, and by 1914, the city had become the largest grain exporting city for the British Empire. Karachi has experienced notable urban growth, exemplified by the establishment of an aerodrome in 1924 that functions as the primary airport for entry into British India. It is still the center of trade, business, and contemporary infrastructure. The city of Karachi, as we can see, has a rich historical background, and the city has experienced significant historical events over the centuries. This includes the period of colonial rule and the city’s role in Pakistan’s independence. In fact, the city of Karachi still plays a vital role both in the political and economic affairs of the country.
Karachi, known as the “City of Lights,” also unofficially called “The City of Dreams,” is now in a difficult position considering its violent history in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It is a city currently suffering from chaos and anarchy, but it is still a city filled with the hopes and prayers of about 20 million people. It is a city on edge, but it is also a city that has stood the test of time. A city that will hopefully transition from a dystopian hellscape into something much more utopian for the future generation It is a city facing multiple threats, with the guardians of Karachi outnumbered and outgunned, but still with the determination to end the chaos and bring the city back to its former glory.