Pakistan's Largest City Karachi Ranks High on Human Development

While Pakistan's HDI of 0.504 (2011) ranks it among UNDP's low human development countries, its largest city Karachi's HDI of 0.7885 (2005) is closer to the group of nations given high human development rankings.



In a regional human development analysis for Pakistan done by Haroon Jamal and Amir Jahan Khan of the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi ranks at the top with HDI of 0.7885, followed by Jhelum district's 0.7698 and Haripur's 0.7339. Lahore has HDI score of 0.6882 and Rawalpindi 0.638.



Majority of the nations ranked as high human development are less populated than Karachi with its 15 million+ inhabitants, and none is experiencing the massive waves of poor rural migrants from some of the least developed areas of Pakistan which Karachi continues to absorb after each disaster in other parts of the country, natural or otherwise.



Karachi often makes news for its recurring episodes of violence which claim many innocent lives. Yet, the city continues to be a big draw for large numbers of rural migrants looking for better economic opportunities. In spite of the many problems they face, it's a fact that even the slums in Karachi offer them better access to education and health care--basic ingredients for human development.

When visitors see a squatter city in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh, they observe overwhelming desperation: rickety shelters, little kids working or begging, absence of sanitation, filthy water and air. However, there are many benefits of rural to urban migration for migrants' lives, including reduction in abject poverty, empowerment of women, increased access to healthcare and education and other services. Historically, cities have been driving forces in economic and social development. As centers of industry and commerce, cities have long been centers of wealth and power. They also account for a disproportionate share of national income. The World Bank estimates that in the developing world, as much as 80 percent of future economic growth will occur in towns and cities. Nor are the benefits of urbanization solely economic. Urbanization is associated with higher incomes, improved health, higher literacy, and improved quality of life. Other benefits of urban life are less tangible but no less real: access to information, diversity, creativity, and innovation.

In a 2009 interview published by Wired Magazine, Stewart Brand, "the pioneering environmentalist, technology thinker", and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog summed up the positive aspects of urban slums, and made a counterintuitive case that the booming slums and squatter cities in and around Mumbai, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro are net positives for poor people and the environment. Wired asked him to elaborate. Here are a few excerpts:

Wired: What makes squatter cities so important?

Stewart Brand: That's where vast numbers of humans—slum dwellers—are doing urban stuff in new and amazing ways. And hell's bells, there are a billion of them! People are trying desperately to get out of poverty, so there's a lot of creativity; they collaborate in ways that we've completely forgotten how to do in regular cities. And there's a transition: People come in from the countryside, enter the rickshaw economy, and work for almost nothing. But after a while, they move uptown, into the formal economy. The United Nations did extensive field research and flipped from seeing squatter cities as the world's great problem to realizing these slums are actually the world's great solution to poverty.

Wired: Why are they good for the environment?

Brand: Cities draw people away from subsistence farming, which is ecologically devastating, and they defuse the population bomb. In the villages, women spend their time doing agricultural stuff, for no pay, or having lots and lots of kids. When women move to town, it's better to have fewer kids, bear down, and get them some education, some economic opportunity. Women become important, powerful creatures in the slums. They're often the ones running the community-based organizations, and they're considered the most reliable recipients of microfinance loans.

Wired: How can governments help nurture these positives?

Brand: The suffering is great, and crime is rampant. We made the mistake of romanticizing villages, and we don't need to make that mistake again. But the main thing is not to bulldoze the slums. Treat the people as pioneers. Get them some grid electricity, water, sanitation, crime prevention. All that makes a huge difference.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performace

Eleven Days in Karachi

Citymayors website

Karachi Demographic Trends Worry MQM

Pakistan Most Urbanized in South Asia

Karachi: The Urban Frontier

Do Asia's Urban Slums Offer Hope?

Orangi is Not Dharavi

Climate Change Could Flood Karachi Coastline

Karachi Fourth Cheapest For Expats

Karachi City Government

Karachi Dreams Big

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here's a story about a Lancet study of Pakistan's "Ladies Health Workers" treating child pneumonia:

LONDON, 14 November 2011 (IRIN) - Pakistan’s army of “Lady Health Workers” – some 90,000 strong – was never meant to diagnose and treat serious illnesses. Instead, these female community health workers (in Pakistan, men cannot visit families) were expected to teach good hygiene and nutrition, provide family planning advice, monitor pregnant women, weigh and vaccinate babies and treat minor ailments.

Yet a new study shows that these same women could hold the key to treating pneumonia – the world’s leading killer of young children.

The study, published by The Lancet medical journal and conducted by Save the Children US, funded by the US Agency for International Development and coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that children suffering from severe pneumonia were more likely to recover if treated at home by these women rather than in a health facility.
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Sadruddin and his colleagues in Pakistan decided to see whether treatment could be given at home by the local Lady Health Worker. They ran a pilot project in Haripur district, in the south of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. Where the health workers identified severe pneumonia, with fever, rapid breathing and in-drawing of the lower chest, they were to give a full course of the WHO recommended antibiotic, liquid amoxicillin. “We wanted to see if they could do as well as conventional in-patient treatment. In fact, we found that they did better.”

The study followed 3,211 children, whose progress was checked six days after the start of treatment. Among those treated by their local health worker, only 9 percent failed to respond to treatment. In the control group, 18 percent failed to respond. The children visited at home started treatment sooner, and were sure to get the most suitable drug, while prescriptions in government and private clinics were far less consistent.

The Lady Health Workers taking part in the trial were carefully supervised. “These workers cannot just be left unsupervised after their training,” Sadruddin told IRIN. “They need ongoing support from their supervisors to attain their goals.”

The message was reinforced by the Elizabeth Mason, director of WHO’s Department for Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health.

“Supervision is absolutely critical, and it is one area that programmes have to ensure that they have well in place,” she told IRIN.

But she said WHO was extremely interested in the findings. “This is the kind of breakthrough research which is urgently needed. It is the first study of its kind and we will have to put it together with studies from other places. But I hope we may be able to review our guidelines to make treatment more accessible to poorer children and those living in remote communities, the ones who need it most.”

The programme also brought benefits to the women, elevating their status. In Haripur, when people saw that the women could treat seriously ill children and save their lives, their status rose dramatically, according to Sadruddin. By the end of the two-year trial, families were far more likely to make the Lady Health Worker their first port of call when their children were ill.

“When they started,” said Sadruddin, “the women themselves were not confident of their own abilities, and the community was also not confident. But when we went back, we found [so] much respect for the Lady Health Workers.”


http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94200
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a GSM study on how mobile phones are helping boost rural health in Pakistan:

Mobilink partnered up with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),
Ministry of Health (MoH) and GSMA Development Fund to deliver an
innovative pilot project which aims to bring low cost mobile handsets and
shared access to voice (PCOs) to LHWs in remote parts of the country.
Mobilink hopes to bridge the communication gap between the LHW and their
ability to access emergency health care.

Mobilink and its stakeholders are eager to
demonstrate how mobile phones play a
critical role in maternal care resulting in
better healthcare of patients. In order to
address the lack of connectivity to basic
health services and reduce maternal and
infant mortality; LHWs are being provided
with a communication tool for timely
referral of patients to seven (7) points of
connectivity i.e. Assistant District Coordinator
(ADC), Lady Health Supervisor (LHS),
District Health Quarter (DHQ), Tehsil Head
Quarter (THQ), Rural Health Center (RHC),
Ambulance Driver and 24/7 Private Hospital.
The project is being piloted in the districts of
Chakwal and Muzaffargarh in the Province
of Punjab. These districts were identified by
the Ministry of Health (MoH) with technical
assistance from UNFPA.
The pilot project for the LHWs includes a
low-cost phone bundled with a prepaid
SIM card and a Mobilink PCO. The solution
is to roll-out the Mobilink PCO (Option
1) in Chakwal and low cost Nokia handset
(Option 2) in Muzaffargarh to 242 LHWs.
In addition, desktop phones with prepaid
SIM cards are provided to each DHQ, THQ
and RHC. This intervention is improving
communication for timely referral of patients
and allowing the Lady Health Supervisors
to monitor the activities of LHWs more
efficiently. Additionally, the Mobilink PCO is
providing an extra source of income for the
LHW, empowering women and improving
their status amongst communities.

The Potential Impacts…
Improving LHWs communication ability so
delays in accessing emergency healthcare are
reduced:
100,000 LHWs can • cover a population
of 15 million households potentially
impacting the lives of 90 million people
all across Pakistan and achieving
universal health coverage in rural areas
across the country.
• For the pilot project, approx. 250,000
LHW catchment population in more than
45 villages benefit from this solution for
general healthcare.
• For the pilot project, approx. 40,000
married women of child bearing age
and 10,000 pregnant ladies for maternal
and neonatal health care get immediate
attention through the LHW.
• The solution provides a timely
deduction/referral of cases via the
effective use of mobile technology to
reduce maternal and neonatal mortality
• LHWs have a positive impact upon the
economic stability and well-being of the
community that she serves.
• Mobile communications improve the
status, mobility and equality of women
– as a Lady Health Worker and as a
Village Phone operator.
• LHW, through the Mobilink PCO earn
an additional source of income resulting
in women empowerment, and increase
in social status.
• LHW act as a role model for other women
in their community.


http://www.gsm.org/documents/lady_health_worker_pakistan.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a NY Times blog by Huma Yusuf about Pakistan stalled census 2011:

Yet Population Year is drawing to a close and no census is in sight. There are many reasons: the precarious security situation, repeated flooding in many parts of the country, lack of resources to train the 225,000 census takers required to conduct the head count in time. But the main reason is politics. The major parties draw their power from rural constituencies, and by highlighting the extent of the country’s urbanization, a census would lead to the creation of new urban constituencies.

With an eye toward the national elections slated for 2013, many Pakistani politicians are doing everything in their power to circumvent or delay a count. The country’s largest parties, the governing Pakistan Peoples Party and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N, are particularly threatened by the prospect of reduced rural constituencies. Newcomers such as the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, the founder of Tehreek-e-Insaf, which enjoys significant support in Punjabi cities, stand to gain.

Gerrymandering is not rare in boisterous democracies. But in Pakistan, it can be a matter of life and death. In Karachi, from where I have been reporting for eight years, many of the political parties are based on ethnic groups, and a revised count would lead to a revised political balance. Fears that this might happen are fanning ethnic violence. More than 2,100 people have been killed in Karachi in political assassinations over the past two years — a death toll not seen since 1995, a year of widespread ethnic and political violence. Muhammad Jalil, a community organizer in Lyari, one of the worst-affected slums of the city, told me in August that everyone — women, teenage footballers — is exposed to the violence. “Political activists and gangsters are not the only ones targeted. Entire communities are vulnerable.”

Since the 1980s, ethnic Pashtuns and the Urdu-speaking Mohajirs, migrants from northern India, have clashed over access to property and jobs in Karachi. Criminal gangs with ties to political parties — including the ruling P.P.P. — had been warring over smuggling rackets and extortion rings. But as election year approaches, it is Karachi’s shifting demographics that are driving much of the violence.

Until recently, the Mohajirs were the city’s clear majority, accounting for 48 percent of the population, according to the 1998 survey. But military operations against militant groups in northwestern Pakistan since 2007 have increased the flow of Pashto-speaking migrants into Karachi. By some estimates this group now represents 22 percent of the city’s population, up from about 12 percent in 1998. So now the M.Q.M., the Mohajirs’ representative party, fears that a census documenting the expansion of Karachi’s Pashtun population would lead to a redistricting that would favor its local rival, the A.N.P......


http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/in-pakistan-a-census-count-turns-into-a-body-count/
Riaz Haq said…
South Korea's Posco (PKX, 005490.SE) is looking to invest in steelmaking projects in Africa and Pakistan to capture the growing demand in those parts of the world, an executive told MarketWatch:

Posco Executive Vice President Sung-Kwan Baek told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of a business conference in Bali Friday the company hasn't decided on the location of the planned project in Africa, but he mentioned some possible countries such as Ghana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe because those countries hold abundant iron ore reserves, the basic steel raw material.

Baek said that the African plant will also serve the Middle Eastern market.

"At the same time we are thinking about Pakistan and India because of their big population," Baek added.

In India, the company has started to build downstream production facilities such as coating lines, cold-rolling mills and silicon-steel lines in the Maharashtra state, he said.

Meanwhile, for the upstream projects, Posco is planning three projects, one of which is expected to come through next year. The projects will be located in Karnataka state with six-million tons of annual production capacity, in Orissa, which will have eight million tons capacity. The other one will be developed with India's state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd., which will have three million tons in production capacity.

The company's offshore investment is part of the plan to boost its total production capacity to 70 million tons by 2020, with 40 million will be produced by its plants in South Korea.

Posco is currently also developing a plant in Indonesia, which will have a six-million-ton annual capacity and a similar project in Brazil.

"Outside the two countries, we need 20 million tons in production capacity. Our goal is in 2020, we have 30 million tons [in production capacities] in foreign countries," the official said.

He added that the company will try to finance future projects with its own cash, but it doesn't rule out any fundraising activities if necessary.

Baek said that the company will closely watch how the global economy will affect China in determining its offshore investment for next year.

"If China survives, we will still have room to invest in foreign countries," Baek said.

China currently produces half of the global steel supply. Baek said that if China's economy slows down the country will likely boost its steel exports, making competition tougher.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/posco-looks-to-enter-africa-mideast-pakistan-2011-11-19
Riaz Haq said…
Here's is an APP report on UAE Trade & Investment Expo 2011 in Karachi:

KARACHI, Dec 01 (APP): Speakers at UAE trade and investment conference at Karachi Expo Centre said Thursday that Pakistan was a growing market and UAE companies operating here would stay and make long term strategic investment. President and CEO of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) Walid Irshaid said that his company will make more investment in Pakistan to fully transform PTCL into a world class telecome company.
“We have transformed PTCL into a modern company offering all ICT products in Pakistan and we are here to stay”, he said while sharing the experience of his company in Pakistan and investment opportunities.
He said that “Pakistan is a growing market and we are making long term investment to offer world class network to local consumers who are quality conscious”. Do not underestimate Pakistani consumers, he suggested.
Regional general manager Asia Pacific North and Indian sub continent Etihad Airways, Joost den Hartog said that his airline was doing great business in Pakistan.
“We are running daily flights from Karachi, Islamabd, Lahore to UAE and twice a week from Peshawar. We are planning to enhance our operations in Pakistan in future with the expansion of our fleet”, he noted.
Hartog said that his airline is now catering for Pakistanis living in USA, Canada, Europe and Middle East and will soon start lifting Pakistani passengers for Frankfurt and Munich.
Pakistani Ambassador in UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan advised Pakistani businessmen to take full advantage of opportunities in the Emirates for re-export business. He said that 40 percent of the exports to UAE are re-exported to African countries.
He said that Pakistani exports to UAE can be enhanced from 2 percent of Emirates’ global trade to 6 percent with the help of planned efforts.
Chief Executive Officer of Bank Al Falah, Atif Aslam Bajwa said that his bank is growing fast in Pakistan and “we have plans to further expand our operations in the country”.
Chief Executive Officer, FlyDubai, Ghaith Al Ghaith said that the business of his airline has increased in Pakistan by 10 percent while it is growing worldwide at 12 percent. “We are planning to further expand our business here”.
CEO Dubai Islamic Bank Junaid said his bank has plan to expand its branch network from 73 to 100 in Pakistan by next year and offer the entire range of Shariah compliant products in Pakistan.
Director of IBA Dr Ishrat Husain said that foreign investors were never touched in Pakistan by any regime even during the nationalization in 1972.
He said Pakistan has liberalized its foreign exchange regime and profits, royalties, fees can be fully repatriated.
Acting President of FPCCI Khalid Tawab said that business chambers are playing their full to expand bilateral trade and investment between Pakistan and UAE.
Meanwhile, consul generals and commercial officers of USA, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, Afghanistan and Korea also visited UAE Expo 2011 Magnificent 7 and took keen interest in the products at display.


http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=168041&Itemid=49
Riaz Haq said…
Rising per capita income and a growing, young population spending more time online and at Western movies are helping build a mass market in Pakistan, according to Businessweek:

One way to take a city’s economic pulse is to check out where locals shop. In Karachi, Pakistan, shoppers are flocking to Port Grand, which opened in May. Built as a promenade by the historic harbor for almost $23 million, the center caters to Pakistanis eager to indulge themselves. This city of 20 million has seen more than 1,500 deaths from political and sectarian violence from January to August. At Port Grand the only hint of the turmoil is the presence of security details and surveillance cameras. “The whole world is going through a new security environment,” says Shahid Firoz, 61, Port Grand’s developer. “We have to be very conscious of security just as any other significant facility anywhere in the world needs to be.”

Young people stroll the promenade eating burgers and fries and browsing through 60 stores and stalls that sell everything from high fashion to silver bracelets to ice cream. Ornate benches dot a landscaped area around a 150-year-old banyan tree. “Port Grand is something fresh for the city, very aesthetically pleasing and unique,” says Yasmine Ibrahim, a 25-year-old Lebanese American who is helping set up a student affairs office at a new university in Karachi.

One-third of Pakistan’s 170 million people are under the age of 15, which means the leisure business will continue to grow, says Naveed Vakil, head of research at AKD Securities. Per capita income has grown to $1,254 a year in June from $1,073 three years ago.

The appetite for things American is strong despite the rise in tensions between the two allies. Hardee’s opened its first Karachi outlet in September: In the first few days customers waited for hours. It plans to open 10 more restaurants in Pakistan in the next two and a half years, says franchisee Imran Ahmed Khan. U.S. movies are attracting crowds to the recently opened Atrium Cinemas, which would not be out of place in suburban Chicago. Current features include The Adventures of Tintin and the latest Twilight Saga installment. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol is coming soon. Operator Nadeem Mandviwalla says the cinema industry in Pakistan is growing 30 percent a year.

Exposure to Western lifestyles through cable television and the Internet is raising demand for these goods and services. Pakistan has 20 million Internet users, compared with 133,900 a decade ago, while 25 foreign channels, such as CNN (TWX) and BBC World News, are now available. And for many Pakistanis, reruns of the U.S. sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond are a regular treat.

The bottom line: With per capita income rising quickly, Pakistan is developing a mass market eager for Western goods.


http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/pakistans-consumers-flex-their-newfound-muscle-12012011.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an Express Tribune story of a Pakistani young man of humble origins helping terror victims after studying Emergency Medicine at Yale:

.Today, Razzak is a renowned emergency medicine expert and the executive director of the Aman Foundation. He started his schooling at a humble primary school in Lyari, completing his secondary education from Nasira School in Depot Lines. Not one to be held back, the hard-working student subsequently attended Adamjee Science College where his impressive grades and unbounded enthusiasm won him a scholarship at the prestigious Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), the top private medical institution in the country.
---------
In collaboration with the Edhi Ambulance Service, an arm of the philanthropic Edhi organisation and the largest volunteer ambulance network in the world, he researched and analysed road traffic injuries and emergency cases. Edhi had a mountain of documentation for every call and every case it had handled in the last two decades. The downside? None of it was digitised, so he spent days sifting through it manually.

The experience stayed with him, and the data revealed a disturbing pattern. Gruesome injuries, often suffered by the poorest members of society, were often improperly handled by well-meaning doctors, simply because of a lack of know-how. These mistakes frequently, and literally, led to the loss of life and limb.

Yet, Razzak soon realised that he needed more professional training and specialisation courses before he could progress further. He sat for the US Medical Licensing Exams (MLE) and had observations at the Beth Israel Medical Centre, New York, and the Yale-New Haven Hospital, Connecticut. In 1996, his residency and training programme at Yale University’s School of Medicine started and in 1999, he was given the ‘Best Trainee’ award by the State of Connecticut.

On the personal front, Yale was also important for the doctor since he met his future wife there. Following graduation, the two stayed in the US for a few years, always looking forward to the time when they would return home. “The plan was always to come back,” says Razzak. “That’s why we never bought a house, never completely settled in.”

Before they could come back, Razzak did his PhD in Public Health at the world-renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, where he focused on the use of ambulance data for monitoring road traffic accidents. Finally, in 2005, the studious boy from Kharadar returned to Pakistan as a successful, qualified expert in emergency medicine.

He joined his alma mater, AKUH as a faculty member and went on to successfully found Pakistan’s first emergency medicine service (EMS) training programme at the university. “There were many doctors who were awarded their degrees without ever administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as it wasn’t a requirement,” he reveals.

This changed when his EMS programme became a mandatory rotation that all students had to serve. Subsequently, Razzak went on to build and head a new emergency department. Yet, the battle was just half won. Students in the new department faced a dilemma, similar to the one Razzak had as a student. They were required to go to the United Kingdom to sit for their exam, otherwise they would not be considered qualified.
-----------
Determined to remove, for others, the hurdles that he himself had crossed only after many toils, Razzak collaborated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) to organise a curriculum for the specialised field. The first batch for this course was enrolled last year. Now students wanting to specialise in emergency medicine will be able to obtain certification in their chosen field, without having to travel abroad....

http://tribune.com.pk/story/300042/positive-pakistani-call-of-duty/
Riaz Haq said…
The World Bank on Thursday said it would provide Pakistan with $5.5 billion in development aid over the next two years, according to AFP:

“The Bank has responded flexibly in the face of the tremendous challenges Pakistan has gone through over the past year or so,” said its Pakistan country director Rachid Benmessaoud.

“We will continue our strong support to Pakistan, while keeping a keen eye on implementation to ensure that these efforts translate into real results on the ground,” he said.

The bank’s progress report on its Pakistan program said its efforts had been disrupted over the past two years by the devastating floods of 2010-2011, ongoing security problems as well as “slow economic reform”.

“Shifting the focus and resources in response to the floods led to a delay in infrastructure investments,” it said.

It said Pakistan’s economic recovery from the floods and other problems remains slow, with growth of 3.9 percent expected next year.

“A range of governance, corruption and business environment indicators suggest that these areas remain a challenge,” it added.

The funds include $4 billion in development assistance and $1.5 billion from the bank’s International Finance Corporation, which helps private sector firms.

“We are committed to helping Pakistan realize its potential especially in key sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy and agribusiness,” said IFC Middle East director Mouayed Mahlouf

http://tribune.com.pk/story/310881/world-bank-sets-5-5-billion-in-aid-for-pakistan/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Friday Times story on the impact of NATO supplies on trucking business in Pakistan:

The US and NATO depended heavily on Pakistan for logistic support and a large percentage of the supplies to their troops in Afghanistan when the Afghanistan war began in 2001.

"But after constant attacks on our supplies, we decided to find an alternative route in 2007," said John Arlington, who represents a major contractor in Dubai. "In 2011, less than 40 percent of all NATO and ISAF supplies go through Pakistan."

Arlington explained how truck trade works. "Front-end companies get contracts in DC, and outsource contracts to businessmen in Dubai, who then outsource to trucking companies in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

The business has been so profitable in Pakistan that most transporters have started working exclusively for NATO suppliers, and there is a serious truck shortage, said Umer Ansari, a middle manager in Karachi who looks after supply chain management. "We are paying Rs 124,000 to Rs 130,000 per trip from Karachi to Faisalabad as opposed to Rs 95,000 three months ago."

The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) charges a levy of Rs 400 per container of NATO supplies, and the Qasim International Containers Terminal (QICT) charges another Rs400.

Traders say Pakistani sub-contractors earn $250 million to $300 million a year. "But profits comes with risks," said Muhammad Azam, 38, originally from Wana but living in Karachi.

In mid 2000s, an arrested terrorist disclosed that his group had been trained in suicide bombing by Baitullah Mehsud and was asked to attack NATO trucks. Contractors abducted by the Taliban have to pay ransoms as high as $35 million.

Americans have built one of the largest consulates of the world in Karachi and have repeatedly sought the assistance British diplomats to engage with MQM - a key political party in Karachi - to maintain peace in the city. According to one source, the ANP has huge stakes in NATO supplies and has strong influence among Karachi's transporters. Transporters who deal with NATO supplies are often Mehsuds and Afridis from the tribal belt.

"Its one of the toughest jobs in the world," sub-contractor Abdul Hakim Mehsud said. "Over 13 of my trucks and three of my drivers have vanished in interior Sindh recently. But the profit margins are high and that keeps me motivated."

According to Mathew Irvin, a security consultant for NATO/ISAF in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the recent attacks on NATO supplies in Interior Sindh that began after 2009 are used by the Pakistani security establishment to pressure the US. "Some sub-contractors also report fake attacks to carry out insurance fraud," he said. At least on one occasion, a sub-contractor was caught and fined.

"Gawadar is an alternative port, but it is not operational yet," said Brigadier (r) Shaukat Qadir. He said Pakistan received payments for NATO supplies and it was therefore important for Pakistan to ensure the supplies were not disrupted. Asked who is behind attacks on trucks carrying NATO supplies, he said, "My guess would be TTP and its affiliates, the Punjabi Taliban."

"In December 2008, militants destroyed 400 containers carrying food, fuel, and military vehicles," a NATO source said. After that, NATO and ISAF began paying tribes to ensure trucks reached their destination."

"The attacks are not likely to stop any time soon," according to a foreign diplomat, "but we have made pacts with warlords, tribes and various stakeholders in Pakistan who ensure safe transit of the goods. They include political parties both in Pakistan and Afghanistan." According to a contractor, those who profit from the business include "sacred cows".


http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20111209&page=7.2
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt from a piece in Express Tribune:

...Karachi contains 62 per cent of Sindh’s urban population; 30 per cent of Sindh’s total population; and 22 per cent of Pakistan’s urban population. Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan, on the other hand, contains only 22 per cent of Punjab’s urban population; seven per cent of Punjab’s total population; and 12 per cent of Pakistan’s urban population. Individually, the other major cities are a very small fraction of Karachi and Lahore.

Karachi’s large-scale industrial sector employees make up 71.6 per cent of the total industrial labour force in Sindh; 74.8 per cent of the total industrial output of the province is produced in Karachi; and 78 per cent of formal private sector jobs of the province are located in Karachi.

Then there are powerful federal government interests as well, in the form of the Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim, Customs, Railways, Civil Aviation Authority and the armed forces and their various industrial and real estate activities. The city contains 32 per cent of the total industrial establishment of the country; generates 15 per cent of the national GDP, 25 per cent of federal revenues and 62 per cent of income tax. Also, the most important health, education, recreation, entertainment and media-related institutions in the province, are located in the city and so are the provincial headquarters.

Provincial and state governments always have conflicts with powerful autonomous cities since the non-city population of the province or state feels that the city and its assets do not belong to them. Even in a relatively homogeneous country like Thailand, Bangkok was seen by the anti-government Red Shirt Movement as responsible for deprivation and inequity in the country.

The second issue is related to the changing demography of Sindh. There is a fear among the Sindhi-speaking population (in which I include Balochi, Seraiki and Brahvi speakers as well) that they are being converted into a minority in their province. Let us see how real this perception is.

Seventy-three per cent of Karachi’s population in 1941 said that their mother tongue consisted of one of the local provincial languages, 6.2 per cent said it was Urdu/Hindi, and 2.8 per cent said it was Punjabi. Pashtu at that time was nonexistent. In 1998, the local languages had declined to 14 per cent, Urdu increased to 48.52 per cent, Punjabi to 14 per cent and Pashtu stood at 11.42 per cent....


http://tribune.com.pk/story/319333/sindh-local-government-the-real-issues/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Nation newspaper report excerpt on Karachi's contribution to Pakistan's economy:

Economist A.B. Shahid said Karachi’s contribution to GDP amounted to around 16 billion rupees a day, and its daily tax revenues to two billion.

“Karachi is Pakistan’s economic engine, whenever it shuts, it affects the whole economy. Its taxes and industrial and services sectors feed the exchequer and its port being the gateway gives life to the rest of the country,” he told AFP.

“If one wants to cripple Pakistan’s economy, one should do nothing but to get Karachi paralysed.”

Market analysts say disturbances in Karachi are affecting foreign investment as well.

“Most multinationals are based in Karachi, and it has a negative impact when their bosses watch pitched battles on their TV screens in the streets of Karachi,” said Mohammad Sohail, the head of Topline Securities brokerage.

He said foreign investment in Pakistan stood at $5.4 billion four years ago, which shrank to $1.6 billion last year and is expected to further reduce to a maximum of $1 billion in the financial year ending on June 30.

Officials admit growing security concerns and targeted killings tarnish Karachi’s attraction for foreign investors and risk driving business away.

The American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad last May was another punishing blow to Pakistan’s depleted image, raising renewed questions about whether anyone in authority had colluded with Al-Qaeda.

“Local industrialists, mainly textile businessmen, are shifting their investments to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia because of law and order and energy shortages,” said a government minister on condition of anonymity.

The authorities say they are doing their best to tackle the rampant unrest, but admit they have limited means at their disposal. Sharfuddin Memon, spokesman for the home department of Sindh province, of which Karachi is capital, admitted there were not enough policemen in the city but said they punch above their weight in terms of foiling crime and attacks.

The decades since independence in 1947 have seen Karachi transformed into a patchwork of Pakistan’s different ethnic groups — Mohajirs, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Punjabis and Baloch — as migrants from all over the country have come in search of a better life.

Millions in the city rely on daily piece work to make a living, and every day lost to violence or shutdowns is a day without income.

Fruit seller Mohammad Haleem, 34, said the unrest was making it hard to make ends meet.

“I could not earn livelihood for my five kids for most of the last week as it was dangerous to go outside,” said Mohammad Haleem, 34, a fruit vendor.

“It is getting too difficult for me to take a loan to feed my kids as the lenders are themselves in distress.”


http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/business/09-Apr-2012/karachi-contributes-rs-16-billion-to-gdp-a-day
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an APP report on proposed revival of Karachi Circular Railway:

The ECC which met here under the chairmanship of Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was informed that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already agreed to provide 93.5pc ($2.4 billion) of the estimated cost through soft loan at a markup of 0.2pc payable in 40 years including 10 years grace period. The remaining 6.5pc ($169.6 million) will be borne by the Ministry of Railway (60pc equity), Government of Sindh (25pc equity) and the City District Government Karachi (15pc equity); the stakeholders of KUTC as per their share.



The track of the KCR will be 86 km long with 27 stations to be built around the city.



This important project will be a milestone in improving the quality of life of the citizens.



The ECC also approved the summary with special appreciation for the Ministry of Railways, the Government of Sindh and Karachi City Government for their efforts to get approved the most economic and viable project of Circular Railway for Karachi.





The ECC also discussed various agenda items of national importance. The following decisions were taken in the meeting;



At the outset of the meeting the ECC members offered special prayers for departed soul of Senior Minister of the KPK Government Mr. Bashir Bilour who lost his life in a terrorist attack in Peshawar recently.



The ECC prayed to Almighty God for resting the departed soul in eternal peace and for granting courage to the bereaved family to bear this precious loss.



Ministry of Railways moved a summary seeking the approval of the ECC for waiver of on-lending charges to Karachi Urban Transport Corporation for the Project "Revival of Karachi Circular Railways as Modern Commuter System".



Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already agreed to provide 93.5pc (US$2.4 billion) of the estimated cost through soft loan at a markup of 0.2pc payable in 40 years including 10 years grace period.



The remaining 6.5pc (US$169.6 million) will be borne by the Ministry of Railway (60pc equity), Government of Sindh (25pc equity) and the City District Government Karachi (15pc equity); the stakeholders of KUTC as per their share.



The track of the KCR will be 86 km long and 27 stations will be built around the city.



This important project will be a milestone in improving the quality of life of the citizens.



The ECC approved the summary with special appreciation for the Ministry of Railways, the Government of Sindh and Karachi City Government for their efforts to get approved the most economic and viable project of Circular Railway for Karachi.



The ECC also approved a summary by Ministry of Railways for changes in the composition of Business Express.



Ministry of Railways submitted a summary for ECC approval back in July 2012.


http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/1-front-top-news/98665-ecc-approves-revival-of-karachi-circular-railways-.html
Riaz Haq said…
Karachi is the world's fastest growing megacity, according to Forbes magazine.

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/edgl45fdfe/no-1-karachi-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said…
Soldier Bazaar in diverse #Karachi, #Pakistan. #Christian #Hindu #Muslim #Parsee #Muhajir #Punjabi #Gujarati #Sindhi

https://www.dawn.com/news/1196334/soldier-bazaar-where-karachi-lives-up-to-its-diversity

Soldier bazaar, near Jamshed Town in the Garden East area of Karachi, houses a beautiful, diverse society where people with all sorts of backgrounds coexist and support each other.

The majority is Muslim, but mixed in them are Hindus, Christians and people belonging to all sorts of ethnicities – Punjabi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Muhajir, Balochi, Parsi, Memon, Gujarati and others.

As a street photographer and story writer, I had long wished to observe Soldier Bazaar and its community firsthand. Finally, this June, I got the chance.

It was a hot day, and we were on our city tour with the 'I am Karachi' team to explore the city's landmarks. As we entered the Soldier Bazaar area, it became fairly clear that this was a low-income area, and the market was full of second hand material.

During our discussion with the locals there, Faheem, a chicken shop owner told us, "There is no mobile snatching and robbery in Soldier Bazaar. You are free to roam on the streets at whatever time of the day, no one will dare loot or even touch you. This is one of Karachi's most peaceful societies."

It was noon and our team was buzzing with excitement to document this fantastic bazaar. We roamed the streets freely, cameras in our hands, with shopkeeper and pedestrian warmly welcoming us and happily telling us about their lives in the area.

I decided to start from a sugarcane juice stall, which is the most preferred summer drink in the locality.

On the right side of the road, beside the stall of the sugarcane juice, is a big building where we sat sipping the sweet beverage, wondering how old this building was. That is when some people sitting at the floor of the building called us and introduced us to the owner.

It turned out that the building was owned by one Imtiaz Khan, who was the only son of Bahadur Khan, who worked for the British in 1929, selling grass to earn a living.

Imtiaz is still living his life peacefully in Soldier Bazaar, seemingly unaffected by all the change around him. For him, if things are bad in the country today; they will be better tomorrow.

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