Is it only Karachi which requires a face lift?

The federal government wanting to hold stakes in  Karachi’s development – forming of KTC, got the PPP led Sindh government vexed. As expected it expressed serious reservations over the constitution of such a committee, terming it a violation of the 18th Constitutional Amendment and an encroachment on the domain of provincial autonomy.  Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also wrote a letter to the Sindh governor to convey these reservations.

Come to look at it, what PTI proposed makes sense. However, is PTI looking for more than just development in Karachi? Probably yes, and that is what got the PPP fuming.

Why is Karachi on PTI’s Radar?

Strategically located city of Karachi is Pakistan’s financial and commercial capital. Much of the country’s economic, manufacturing, services, and other value addition takes place in Karachi. Since Pakistan’s independence, Karachi has been the centre of the nation’s economy, and remain’s Pakistan’s largest urban economy despite the economic stagnation caused by sociopolitical unrest during the late 1980s and 1990s.

  • The global FDI intelligence 2017/2018 report of the Financial Times ranks Karachi amongst the top 10 Asia Pacific cities of the future for FDI strategy.
  • Approximately 90% of the multinational corporations operating in Pakistan are headquartered in Karachi.
  • Karachi collects over a third of Pakistan’s tax revenue and generates approximately 20% of Pakistan’s GDP.
  • 30% of Pakistani industrial output is from Karachi, while Karachi’s ports handle approximately 95% of Pakistan’s foreign trade.

The average of direct tax collection with Sindh being the highest with 64.97%, Punjab with 30.93%, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 3.24% and Balochistan with 0.86%. Karachi dominates with an average 61.49%, followed by Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, and Peshawar with 17.33%, 4.30%, 3.65%, and 3.03%, respectively.

Step motherly treatment for long

Despite being the hub of economic activities in Pakistan, Karachi has always been the victim of negligence. The poor state of infrastructure, ineffective administration and of course persistent law and order situation, altogether, have slowed the pace of economic growth it demands.

The sense of deprivation among the educated youth has further aggravated the state. The persistent disturbed conditions, rampant corruption, the complexity of multiple taxes and depleted infrastructure have affected the flow of investment both local and foreign in the city.

Ironically, when  PTI is talking of revamping Karachi now, the Chief Minister is questioning why only Karachi and not the entire province? Does it ring a bell?

Is there a nexus trying to isolate PPP under the garb of development of the city? Sources reveal that  PTI is suddenly getting interested in Karachi for the vested reasons and PPP has envisaged the danger and therefore reacting forcefully to ward off its only area of dominance.

  • Is PTI wanting a monopoly over port resources of Karachi?

  • Or is it under pressure from Chinese after the November 23 attack on the Chinese consulate in  Karachi.

  • Chinese want a replica of the Port-Park-City model that it is pursuing in Gwadar and putting PTI under pressure.


Karachi is a complex creature. A tense place, where political, economic and ethnic tensions are always threatening to break out from their uneasy slumber. Therefore PTI should be particularly careful that it does not allow the promising city to become an example of a Chinese imperium in imperio, or “state within a state.” Controlling infrastructure projects is one thing; resettling sizable numbers of people as well is a whole other game.  A repeat of Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan in Karachi-Sindh will not be tolerated. But can PTI afford to offend Beijing? Surely not at the cost of Karachites.

19 Dec 18/Wednesday                                                                    Written by Afsana