Saturday, April 27, 2013

Karachi is World's Fastest Growing Megacity

Karachi's population has grown 80.5% in the last decade, making it the world's fastest growing megacity, according to  recently released Demographia World Urban Areas Report.  Karachi is followed by Shenzhen, Lagos, Beijing, Bangkok, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Delhi, Jakarta and Istanbul.

Source: Demographia

Karachi is Huge:

The report says that Karachi is the world's 7th largest metropolis with an estimated population of nearly 21 million inhabitants packed in an area of 310 square miles, making it the 10th densest large city in the world. Demographia authors acknowledge that their estimate of Karachi's "population is lower than other estimates (such as the United Nations), which include metropolitan area population not within the continuously developed urban area".

KPT Flyover, Karachi 

Massive Influx of Migrants:

In addition to the normal migration patterns witnessed in the past, Karachi has also seen major influx of waves of refugees escaping conflict zones like FATA and Swat and many people displaced by natural disasters like the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods. Karachi itself has now become a  major conflict zone with the growth of ethnic gangs supported by political bosses, and the arrival of the Taliban fighters along with the refugees from FATA and Swat. Poor governance of the city has further exacerbated the situation of Karachi's citizens.

Karachi: The Urban Frontier

Clifton, Karachi
National Public Radio(NPR), an American radio network, started a series which it called "The Urban Frontier" beginning in 2008 on a massive wave of urbanization sweeping the world's emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India and Pakistan. It chose to start with Karachi, which it described as Pakistan's "economic lifeline" and financial and industrial "powerhouse" that produces 25% of Pakistan's GDP, and caled it "one of the largest and most crowded cities of the world". It did a segment on Shehri, the activist group fighting big-money developers. Much of what it said is still valid.

It highlighted several other facts about Karachi such as:

1. Karachi is built along a natural harbor facing the Arabian Sea, and this central location between the Middle East and India has made Karachi an important trading port for hundreds of years.

2. Karachi encompasses both its old seafront district and a sprawling web of commercial and residential development that covers almost 1,400 square miles. Its contemporary landscape spans skyscrapers, posh golf resorts, congested roadways and sprawling squatter colonies.

3. The Port of Karachi handles 60 percent of Pakistan's cargo, and the Karachi Stock Exchange is one of Asia's most active trading markets. The city's main industries include shipping, trade, finance, banking, information technology, manufacturing, real estate, fashion, media and education.

4. Like any big city, it has its share of problems. Pollution, crime, violence, corruption and political volatility are just some of the issues confronting the 12 million to 18 million "Karachiites" who call this overcrowded city home. Karachi is 60 times larger than it was when Pakistan was created in 1947. And with the population growing at an annual rate of 6 percent, one of the biggest challenges for city officials is managing the tensions and violence that often flare along ethnic and religious lines.

5. Karachi is growing so fast that estimates of its population range from 12 million to 18 million. The country's financial capital is also a city where about half the population lives in illegal houses.

Parallels With Chicago: 

 In "Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi", the author Steve Inskeep of NPR Radio draws parallels between the Chicago of 1950s and 1960s and the rapidly growing cities in the developing world like Mumbai (India), Karachi (Pakistan) and Port Harcourt (Nigeria) in the following words:

"Karachi was one of many growing cities made turbulent by ethnic politics. In recent years an ethnic political party has controlled Mumbai, India, imposing a regional language on the government of an aspiring world city. In the growing oil city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Internet cafes and churches line the commercial streets, while ethnic militias rule the backstreets and set neighborhoods on fire. None of this will surprise people who study the history of American cities. Chicago, for example, grew explosively from the 1830s onward--it was an instant city in its time--newcomers clustered defensively in their various neighborhoods. As late as the 1950s, immigrants and their children drew battle lines along major streets or railroad tracks.."

 Inskeep quotes newspaper columnist late Mike Royko of Chicago to make his point:

"There was...good reason to stay close to home and in your own neighborhood-town and ethnic state. Go that way, past the viaduct, and the wops will jump you, or chase you into Jew town. Go the other way, beyond the park, and the Polacks will stomp on you. Cross those streetcar tracks, and the Irish will shower you with confetti from the brickyards. And who can tell what the niggers might do?"

Karachi Offers Hope:

It does help to put in historical context the growing pains that Pakistan, and its largest city Karachi, are experiencing now. When visitors see a squatter city in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh, they observe overwhelming desperation: rickety shelters, violence, 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.

Many of the potential benefits of urbanization will be hard to realize in Pakistan unless there is improved city governance and serious efforts to reduce the level of violence in Karachi.

Dolmen Mall Clifton Featured on CNN from DHAToday on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

World's Tallest Building Proposed in Karachi

Karachi Fashion Week 2013

Impact of Violence on Pakistan Elections 2013

Karachi-The Urban Frontier

MQM Worried By Karachi's Demographic Changes 
Karachi Tops World's Largest Cities 
Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance 
Eleven Days in Karachi 
Pakistan Most Urbanized in South Asia

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


Rehan said...

Riaz Sb, Really like your blogs and thought provoking article. Keep it up!

Hopewins said...

A) 1998 Population of Karachi: 9,856,318

1) What was the population of Clifton in 1998?
2) What was the population of Defence in 1998?
3) What was the population living in authorized structures & katchi abadis in 1998?

B) 2011 Population of Karachi: 21,142,625

1) What is the current population of Clifton?
2) What is the current population of Defence?
3) What is the current population living in authorized structures & katchi abadis?


Karachi may well be the world's fastest growing megacity, but is the breakneck growth of population resulting in a disproportionate increase in "slums"?

Is Karachi the world's fastest growing slum population?

These are key questions that have to be answered.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Karachi may well be the world's fastest growing megacity, but is the breakneck growth of population resulting in a disproportionate increase in "slums"? Is Karachi the world's fastest growing slum population?"

Initially, most poor migrants who arrive in Karachi start with low-paying jobs and live in slums. Over time, many move up to middle class with better jobs and housing and their children do even better with greater opportunities offered by Karachi.

To illustrate this, let me give you the example of ANP's Senator Shahi Syed who drove a rickshaw and lived in slum when he first came to Karachi. Now, he lives in Mardan House, palatial home in Defense Society.

A recent book "Getting Filthy Rich in Rising Asia" is a similar rags to riches tale set in Lahore.

Read my other post titled "Do South Asian Slums Offer Hope" to understand better what I'm talking about.

Mo said...

Pakistan needs a sustainable urbanization as we cannot produce nor hold the China style urban gold rush anytime soon. Pakistan is a country famous for agriculture, what we should be planning for is "Rural Townships" with all of the modern facilities incorporated ie Banks,E.govt,Schools,E-labs,Postal/logistical and other state organs. If we are to, have sustainable growth, we would have to make our rural areas attractive for investment.

Anonymous said...

Even China has mounting problems with the rate of influx from the rural areas into its cities. Your idea to make rural areas attractive so that the people there are able to get good jobs is a good one.

Riaz Haq said...

China controls migration through hukuo permits.

A hukou is a record in the system of household registration required by law in the PRC.

The hukou system, which dates to 1958, has split China's 1.3 billion people along urban-rural lines, preventing many of the roughly 800 million Chinese who are registered as rural residents from settling in cities and enjoying basic urban welfare and services.

Hopewins said...

See this Worldbank PDF report on Turkey entitled 'Domestic Savings Essential for Sustainable Growth'

Start reading at the 15th Page (there are no page numbers, so that's the 15th page in the PDF file) and read for a few pages to see what it says.

Does the unsustainable consumption-led boom in Turkey remind you of something?

It should. It is the same as our consumption-led growth.

And all the things the file says about the IMPORTANCE of domestic savings for Turkey is JUST AS TRUE for our country.

There is no way around this. Our economy, like Turkey's, is headed for a LOT of trouble due to the collapse in our domestic savings rates-- even as everyone goes shopping with Saima Mohsin.

Hopewins said...

There ARE page numbers. I was wrong.

Start reading at Page Number 1 (which is the 15th page in the PDF file)...

Riaz Haq said...

There are many misguided Pakistani writers who parrot nonsense about Pak population growth.

Larger population is in fact a blessing for Pakistan in terms of greater human capital and higher demographic dividend.

Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

Dramatic declines in fertility are not necessarily good for society. In a book titled "The Empty Cradle", the author Philip Longman warns that the declining birth rates around the world will cause many social and economic problems. As a consequence of declining fertility, by 2050 the population of Europe will have fallen to what it was in 1950. Mr. Longman says this is happening all around the world: Women are having fewer children. It's happening in Brazil, it's happening in China, India and Japan. It's even happening in the Middle East. Wherever there is rapid urbanization, education for women and visions of urban affluence, birthrates are falling. Having and raising children is seen as an expense and a burden.

"So we have a "free rider" problem. You don't need to have children to provide for your old age -- but the pension systems need them." Says Longman, referring to the coming Social Security crunch as the number of retired people rises faster than the number of workers.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Harvard University report on an urban planning conference in Karachi:

...By January, however, the event had grown into a three-day conference on South Asian cities, attracting upward of 800 people, with concurrent sessions in large tents erected for the occasion in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

In addition to a Harvard delegation of seven, the conference drew urban design professionals, government officials, and academics from across Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia, including India and Bangladesh. Tarun Khanna, director of Harvard’s South Asia Institute, said the event grew through regional collaboration and was symbolic of a “narrative of peace” that seeks to counterbalance the history of strife in the area.

Organizers said the conference was just the initial discussion in what they hope will be an ongoing conversation about the problems and opportunities confronting cities across the region. Further, officials at Harvard’s South Asia Institute (SAI) say the conference is both part of the Institute’s growing engagement with Pakistan and a sign of the enthusiasm of Pakistani partners for further collaboration.

SAI’s engagement is multifaceted and includes conferences and training programs in Pakistan, workshops, fellowships, and Pakistani students on Harvard’s campuses, as well as webinars spanning both locations, featuring Harvard faculty in Cambridge and viewed by students at dozens of Pakistani universities.

Meena Hewett, executive director of the South Asia Institute, said the Pakistan programs are an expression of the institute’s focus on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. Though India is the region’s largest country, it’s important, Hewett said, that the institute promote an agenda that encompasses all of South Asia.

In addition to fostering an understanding of the country itself, Pakistan has a lot to offer to the regional dialogue, Hewett said. Pakistan is the world’s sixth-most populous nation, with a long history and enormous diversity. It is struggling with many of the same issues as many of its neighbors, including urbanization, poverty, water security, public health, religious differences, and governance.

“Beyond the narrative of violence and terrorism, there is all this good development work going on,” Hewett said.

South Asia’s cities have a lot to learn from each other. While urban areas around the world are struggling with the same problems, the cities across South Asia share a “similar DNA,” Mehrotra said. That DNA has been instilled by shared regional history, including British colonization and enormous urban growth in the post-independence era. Among their commonalities, the region’s major cities are among the world’s largest, have undergone rapid demographic change in the last 30 years, and suffer from poor infrastructure and services, as well as a lack of political will to transform, Mehrotra said.
Jennifer Leaning, the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, delivered a keynote speech at the January conference on climate disasters and vulnerability, and participated in two other panels on disaster response and mental health. With funding from the Karachi-based Aman Foundation, Leaning is involved in a project to improve that city’s disaster preparedness and disaster-related mental health. Late last year, two Harvard Medical School faculty members conducted needs assessment and a training program in emergency preparedness for staff at Karachi hospitals.

Riaz Haq said...

Omar Shahid Hamid started off as a cop, and his decision to become one was deeply personal: When he was still in his teens, his father, a senior civil servant in Pakistan, was assassinated. "In the subsequent police investigation," he tells me via email, "I saw close up the good and bad points of the police in a country like Pakistan, where, due to a lack of institutions, what individuals did, good or bad, had a much greater impact on people's lives, than say, a cop working in London or New York. I joined the police because I felt the potential difference I could make was substantial."

Hamid went on to serve on Karachi's police force for 13 years. He's been on a sabbatical for the past four years, due to threats made against him by the Pakistani Taliban, and he's used those years to pen an exhilarating crime novel, The Prisoner, set in Karachi. Inspired by the real life kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, it centers on an American journalist who's gone missing, and the police and intelligence agencies who are trying desperately to find him as the Americans breathe down their necks.

Hamid's portrayal of the city, the police, and the byzantine political play is nuanced and sophisticated. Karachi is Pakistan's largest and most vibrant city, and he lays it bare as only someone who has lived and worked there could. Hamid says the point of the book was "to portray an image of the police that was realistic. Are they corrupt? Yes often. Are they used as pawns in bigger political games? Absolutely. But despite all of these restrictions and impositions, are they ordinary people who sometimes do extraordinary things? Absolutely."

The Prisoner contains some thinly veiled references to real people and political parties in Pakistan. You go to some lengths to explain their motivations and the moral ambiguities of their world, but you don't exactly flatter them, either. You were attacked on more than one occasion when you were in the police force — and yet you've chosen to write a book that has probably made no one happy. Why did you decide to do it?

It was interesting that when the book came out in Pakistan, the reaction from many people was of amazement. There were people who, despite having lived in the city for years, had no inkling of the world that existed. So overall, the feedback I have received has been one of enlightenment. Many people also said it helped to give them a more nuanced view of the trials and tribulations of ordinary cops and why they sometimes have to do what they do. I decided to write the book because I felt that when I joined the police, the police was a body with so many fascinating stories, but no one to tell them, because the world of the police was very fraternal and tight, so outsiders had no ingress into the kinds of internal stories we possessed, while I, as an insider, had a unique perspective to share those stories with the outside world.

I was particularly intrigued by your protagonist, Constantine D'Souza, who's a Christian. How did you choose him? Christians only make up a tiny percentage in what is an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

I thought making one of the protagonists Christian would be an interesting plot line. In my time in the service, I knew several Christian police officers, and I found it fascinating to think about how they were perceived and how they perceived the culture of the society and the police. The most interesting insight was that Christians in the police did not necessarily come across as an oppressed minority.

Riaz Haq said...

49 of world's 50 most violent cities in #Americas plus #CapeTown in #Africa. No #Pakistan cities. via @TheEconomist

THE thorny task of comparing crime rates across the world is tricky because legal interpretations vary. Sweden's definition of rape is not the same as America’s, for example. Murder however should be easier to record because there is an identifiable victim, something that can be counted. But the way in which this is done in poorer, often more corrupt countries makes truly comparable statistics hard to pin down. Where there are inefficient public health systems or police, it is even harder. It is in such places that best estimates must be made—Venezuela is a case in point. We recently reported the latest annual ranking of 2015's most violent cities in the world (excluding war zones) by CCSP-JP, a Mexican NGO. The report placed Caracas, Venezuela's capital, at the top of a list of 50 cities (with populations of at least 300,000) with the highest homicide rates.

Crime statistics in Venezuela have not been officially measured since 2009 however, and are underreported according to experts. Where no official figures exist, CCSP-JP is transparent in its methodology: for Caracas it counted bodies from the city morgue (which covers a larger area than the city itself) between January and August, discounted a percentage attributed to accidental deaths, and extrapolated an amount for the full year to get a rate of 120 homicides per 100,000 people. The approach is obviously open to error and several groups have challenged some of CCSP-JP’s findings. One, the IgarapĂ© Institute—a Brazilian think-tank on security and violence—compiles statistics on murder rates in countries and on more than 2,100 cities with populations of 250,000 or more, compared with the CCSP-JP's ‘hundreds’. Their data are only gathered from primary sources such as government, police or vital registration data, and from recognised sources such as the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime. In the above chart we present an alternative ranking which includes IgarapĂ©’s findings using figures no older than 2013.

The broad picture in the rankings is roughly similar, however. Latin American and Caribbean countries suffer disproportionately compared with elsewhere, mainly because of inequality, poor rule of law, impunity and corrupt institutions that are infiltrated by drug cartels. Only two countries outside the region feature on either chart, South Africa and the United States (the list’s only rich-world country). Two US cities*—St Louis and Baltimore—appear on the latest ranking compared with four previously. The good news is that there has been a general decline in violence across the world everywhere except in Latin America. And even within the region, many of the worst cities in Mexico and Colombia are not as bad as they once were. Yet that is cold comfort to the residents of El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela.

Riaz Haq said...

#China's #Shanghai Electric to invest $9 billion in #Pakistan for #KElectric #Karachi upgrades | ET EnergyWorld

Karachi: China's Shanghai Electric plans to spend $9 billion overhauling electricity infrastructure in Karachi, a minister told AFP, just months after the multinational revealed it was buying a Pakistan power company.
China is ramping up investment in its South Asian neighbour as part of a $46 billion project unveiled last year that will link its far-western Xinjiang region to Pakistan's Gwadar port with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.

In a presentation made to Pakistani authorities, Shanghai Electric said it would invest an average of $700 million a year until 2030 to increase capacity, improve cabling and target bill defaulters.

"The investment would be utilised in distribution, generation, transmission" and training, Miftah Ismail, minister for state and chairman of Pakistan's Board of Investment told AFP on Wednesday.

The investment would also aim to tackle widespread electricity theft and other losses that cost about $269 million a month in the city, partly by replacing above-ground grid stations with underground ones.

Shanghai Electric announced in August it would buy a majority stake in K-Electric, which is owned by Abraaj Group of Dubai, for $1.7 billion, which would be Pakistan's biggest ever private-sector acquisition.

K-Electric, formerly known as Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation, supplies electricity to more than 2.2 million households and commercial and industrial consumers.

Riaz Haq said...

Karachi emerges slowly from decades in the dark

The Pakistani city has shown some progress, particularly with regards to security

Arif Habib recently bought a 1,300-acre plot in Karachi that was originally the site of a nationalised steel plant. Among the problems the founder of Arif Habib Corp, the Karachi-based conglomerate, faced was the fact that squatters occupied 250 acres of the property.

These illegal residents had found their way there thanks to the so-called land mafia; gangs of professional land “grabbers”, many of whom came from the restive border region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The main source of income for these gangs is the protection money they receive from such squatters.

Lots of gangs roam Karachi, which is one but hardly the only reason why it is not exactly a normal city. There is virtually no public transport; no metro and hardly any buses. Few tower cranes or skyscrapers dot the skyline. Karachi used to be known as the City of Lights; now, after twilight descends, darkness follows. Once considered more cosmopolitan than Mumbai, today it looks decades behind that Indian metropolis.

There are few beggars, thanks to the Islamic tradition of giving known as zakat. There are also few cinemas and other places of entertainment, a legacy of the days when people did not dare venture out for fear of kidnapping and mugging. Sophisticated residents believe they are hostage to the worst traits of Islam, yet they also benefit from the kindest and most charitable elements.

The problems of Karachi are those of Pakistan writ large. It is ranked as one of the least liveable and most dangerous cities on earth. Not long ago the country was considered close to becoming a failed state. So if the government can indeed restore law and order in Karachi it will be a big step forward both for a nation of more than 200m people and for the region generally.

It is hard to believe that this is a city of as many as 25m people and could even be the largest city on the planet, exceeding Tokyo or Mexico City. The latest census was nearly 20 years ago, which is one reason no accurate statistics exist today. Since then the city has expanded; its population growth swelled equally by new births and by an influx of immigrants and refugees.

“We’ve lost the glory and shine of Karachi, unfortunately,” says Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, and the brother of prime minister Nawaz Sharif. “The [central] government is committed to restore Karachi’s splendid law and order tradition.”

That law and order is maintained by the Rangers and the Army rather than the local police force, which is widely regarded as both corrupt and weak.

There is still a long way to go however. Karachi remains dysfunctional. “We are ground zero,” says Naheed Memon, chairwoman of the Sindh Board of Investment, Sindh being the province in which Karachi sits. “We can’t even collect our own garbage.”

Instead, it is Chinese companies that have received the contract to do so.

To be sure, progress has been made in eradicating the scourge of the gangs, although they have not entirely gone away. The mix of crime and politics is, sadly, a big feature of life in both Karachi and in the country. The gangs operate in collusion with a number of political parties, their ties reinforced by regional and clan loyalties.

Meanwhile, the state of the property market is symptomatic of the ills that plague Karachi. Much of it is part of the black economy, which bankers calculate is almost as large as the official one.

Riaz Haq said...

‘FDI Strategy’: Karachi placed 7th in global survey

Karachi has secured 7th position in the top 15 Asia-Pacific Cities of the Future survey under the FDI Strategy category for 2017-18, an incredible increase from its 14th position in 2015-16.

The findings are part of a survey, ‘fDi’s Asia-Pacific Cities of the future 2017-18’, conducted by the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times to determine economic prospects of the cities in the region.

The FDI Strategy category of the survey is the only qualitative category, and does not feed into the overall result. This is the sixth category for which there were 15 submissions. In the previous rankings, FDI Strategy had been included in the overall ranking.

According to the survey, Perth, Australia, secured the first position in the FDI Strategy list while Brisbane, Australia, and Hong Kong came on second and third position respectively. Other cities in the list include Auckland, New Zealand, (4th position), Wuxi, China, (5th), Melbourne, Australia, (6th), Yokohama, Japan, (8th), Newcastle, Australia, (9th) and Osaka, Japan, (10th).

Karachi has also been ranked 4th in terms of cost effectiveness in the list of Top 5 Asia-Pacific Mega Cities of the future 2017-18 by the fDi Intelligence. Lahore also made it to the list and secured the 5th position.


Riaz Haq said...

Serious Delays in Major #GreenLine #BRT Public Transport Project in #Karachi. #Traffic #Pakistan … via @thewire_in

Work on the extended portion has already been delayed considerably due to objections raised by the Quaid-e-Azam Mazar Management Board that saw its elevated track as obscuring the view of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum. The board’s by-laws prohibit any construction higher than the mausoleum’s podium – upon which its domed building stands – in its 1.2-km radius.

“If we go ahead with building the proposed elevated section of the BRT and stations that cover the entire width of MA Jinnah Road, then the [mausoleum] will not be visible from Seventh Day Adventist Hospital to the Municipal Park … and well beyond. The vision of the founding fathers and that of the architect will be compromised and it will be a loss to Karachi and to its present and future citizens,” is how architect and urban planner Arif Hasan summed up the objections in a column in the daily Dawn in May 2017. He is a member of the Quaid-e-Azam Mazar Management Board.

It took three months to address the problem through a redesigning of the project. An underpass is now being built between Guru Mandir and Al Haaj Bundoo Khan restaurant on MA Jinnah Road. From there onwards, an elevated road is planned to lead to the last stop. Work on the underpass is in its early phase while the construction of the elevated part has yet to begin.

There have been some other design-related problems.

For instance, the Sindh government sought changes in the original design passing through the Numaish Chowrangi area because, as it argued, it wanted to build other BRT tracks in the same place. It, therefore, demanded that a two-lane underpass there be widened to three lanes.

The redesign has jacked up the project’s cost exponentially, says Channa. “The original cost of the underpass was estimated at Rs 800 million but the redesigned plan – which also envisages an integrated bus terminal for Green, Red, Yellow and Blue lines, a turnaround facility and parking for 25 buses – has increased its cost to 2.5 billion (Pakistani) rupees,” he says.

The Sindh government has also raised objections to the elevated portion from Bundu Khan restaurant onwards to the end. It says an elevated track will be difficult to expand for future BRT lines and argues that the track be constructed at ground level.

A final decision is yet to be made on this – as well on the project’s extension to the Merewether Clock Tower – which may cause further delay in its completion.

“Whether the Green Line project will benefit Karachi or not, its delayed construction has ruined our business,” says M Jawed Qureshi who heads the Gulbahar Traders Association that represents shopkeepers at a ceramics and sanitary-ware market located almost halfway between Guru Mandir and Nazimabad. Demolition work and digging for the project damaged and narrowed main roads because of which customers avoided visiting the market, he says. “This affected 15% wholesale and over 50% retail business.” Also affected was the livelihood of over 2,500 labourers and 550 goods carriers working at the market, he adds.

Major traffic jams could be witnessed at many places along the under-construction track, causing massive inconvenience to everyone concerned — commuters, transport operators, traders and street vendors, among others. “No diversions or alternative routes were provided to [redirect] traffic during the entire period of construction, wreaking havoc on commuting time and businesses,” says Rehan Hashmi, former member of the National Assembly from Karachi and chairman of the city’s District Municipal Corporation (Central).

Riaz Haq said...

Karachi, the 6th most dangerous city in the world previously, has jumped to 50th place

With collaborative efforts by security forces and civil administration, Karachi – once the sixth most dangerous city of the world – has been able to improve its ranking tremendously in three years by clinching 50th position on international crime index issued by Numbeo, the largest user-contributed database about cities and countries worldwide.

In 2014 – around a year after Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) held the reins of federal government – Karachi, the economic capital of Pakistan, was declared sixth most dangerous city with 81.34 crime index by the same surveyor firm.

Gradually, it started improving as in 2015 the Karachi became 10th most dangerous city and it was stood at 26th position in 2016 ranking. The economic hub keeping the pace maintain managed to get 47th position in 2017 and now in 2018, Karachi is at 50th out of total 327 cities of the world.

In 2017, Lahore and Islamabad were the 119th and 224th dangerous cities respectively, but by improving their position they are stood at 138th and 226th positions respectively in 2018 Numbeo International Crime Index.

With the lowest crime index of just 13.63, and a safety index of 86.37, Abu Dhabi of United Arab Emirates came as number one on Numbeo, followed by Doha in Qatar and Basel in Switzerland.

The cities with the highest crime rates and lowest safety index went to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Caracas, Venezuela and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Neigoubering country, India’s Delhi is at 60th position with 59.34 crime index and 40.66 safety index, while Mumbai came at 160th with 44.52 crime index and 55.48 safety index.

Established in 2009, Numbeo is a collaborative online database which enables users to share and compare information about the cost of living between countries and cities.

The index, which ranked 327 cities of the world, is an estimation of overall level of crime in a given city or a country.

Crime levels lower than 20 are considered as “very low,” crime levels between 20 and 40 as being “low,” crime levels between 40 and 60 as being “moderate,” crime levels between 60 and 80 as being “high” and crime levels higher than 80 as being “very high.”

From Numbeo:

Karachi is ranked 50

Dhaka Bangladesh ranked 18 has the highest crime rate in South Asia

Gurgaon India ranked 40 has the second highest crime rate

Delhi is ranked 60

Lahore 138

Islamabad 226

Mangalore 295

Among North American cities

Detroit MI 17

Baltimore MD is ranked 20

New Orleans LA 21

Albuquerque NM 27

Sain Louis MO 30

Oakland CA 33

Milwaukee WI 46

Houston Tx 53