Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, is believed to have started as a small fishing village named Kolachi in 1729. It attracted the attention of the colonial rulers in 1857 as a suitable site for a major port in British India. Thus began the story of Karachi which has now grown into a megacity of 14,910,352 people, as reported in the most recent 2017 Census of Pakistan.
|Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah|
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, was born in the city of Karachi on December 25, 1876. He also died in Karachi on September 11, 1948, a little over a year after realizing his dream of the creation of Pakistan. In a glowing tribute to Pakistan's founding father, his biographer, American historian Stanley Wolpert, Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), wrote the following: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”
|Sindh Madrasatul Islam in Karachi|
Karachi was built as a walled city. It had two main entrances: Kharadar (sea water gate) facing the Arabian sea and Mithadar (fresh water gate) facing the Lyari river. These two neighborhoods of Karadar and Mithadar still exist as the oldest neighborhoods in Karachi. Sindh Madrasatul Islam, the Quaid-e-Azam's alma mater, is still located just east of Mithadar neighborhood. The school was founded in 1885 by Hassan Ali Effendi. It had the support of the famous Muslim reformer Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who established MAO College in Aligarh in 1875 which later became Aligarh Muslim University. Sindh Madrasatul Islam became a college in 1943. It was elevated to a university in 2012.
|Aerial View of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Mausoleum|
A story in the New York Times dated June 17, 1902 reported that Karachi's population at the time was 115,000 and its port's annual trade was worth Rs. 180,000. Wheat, seeds, cotton and wool were the main exports. There has been a dramatic expansion in the port since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 when it became the capital of the newly created state. The city attracted millions of Muslims from across India, particularly New Delhi and several northern states of India. Most of the new arrivals, referred to as Mohajirs, spoke Urdu which is now the national language of Pakistan.
|New York Times on Karachi in 1902|
Karachi lost its status as the nation's political capital in 1960s to the newly-built city of Islamabad. However, the Quaid's city continues to be the economic, industrial and financial capital of the country. It is also home to two major ports: Karachi Port and Bin Qasim Port. A third port, Gwadar, located about 400 miles west of Karachi, has recently started operations as the nation's third major seaport. Karachi and Gwadar are connected on the land by Coastal Highway.
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Suhail Zaheer Lari, Force for Preservation in Pakistan, Dies at 84
After a corporate career, he devoted his time to chronicling the history of Sindh Province and preserving its cultural heritage. He died from complications of Covid-19.
The ancient cemetery of Makli, near the city of Thatta in Sindh Province, is one of the largest necropolises in the world, so rich in monuments that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage site.
So it became a natural focus of Suhail Zaheer Lari, a prominent Pakistani historian and author, who dedicated himself to documenting the history of Sindh Province, in southern Pakistan. He had a passion for photography, and his images of Makli’s riches became the basis of several proposals for their conservation.
Mr. Lari, a leading force for historic preservation in Pakistan, died in Karachi, Sindh’s capital, on Dec. 5. He was 84. The cause was complications of Covid-19, his family said.
His wife, Yasmeen Lari, a prominent architect, contracted Covid-19 in December but recovered.
The couple founded the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan in 1980 to “create an awareness of Pakistan’s rich and diverse historic architecture and art, and to promote cultural heritage for social integration, peace and development,” according to its website. Its work has resulted in the preservation of more than 600 buildings.
Pakistan possesses an enormous reservoir of diverse historical sites, most of which are in an advanced state of decay. Mr. Lari, through his photography and books, saved many from being forgotten or lost.
Mr. Lari was born on Nov. 13, 1936, and raised in Allahabad, India. His mother, Qabila Khatoon, was a homemaker; his father, Zaheer ul Hasnain Lari, was a lawyer and a judge who was close to Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister.
Mr. Lari’s father did not leave for Pakistan in 1947, as many Muslims did after partition. But as hostilities rose, the family moved to Pakistan in 1950. They lived first in Lahore, then in Karachi.
In a memoir, Mr. Lari said he had decided to study in England and wrote out of the blue to the noted philosopher Isaiah Berlin; he responded and helped him gain entry to St. Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford, where he received a degree in politics, philosophy and economics.
Mr. Lari had met Yasmeen Ahsan in Lahore when they were young and kept up a correspondence. She was in London studying architecture, Mr. Lari wrote in his memoir, while he was at Oxford. Their families initially objected to their marriage, asking them to complete their studies first. Mr. Lari said they told their parents they would have a wedding in Scotland, where the legal age to marry was lower than it was in England.
“At this,” he wrote, “they relented and arranged our marriage in Karachi.”
Mr. Lari returned to Pakistan and joined the corporate world, eventually becoming managing director of the Khyber Insurance Company. He held that job for more than two decades and served in other corporate posts before retiring and devoting himself to writing.
The couple’s house in Karachi in later years became a meeting place for intellectuals, politicians and artists.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Lari is survived by two sons, Humayun and Mihail, and a daughter, Raeena.
Karachi’s Eid business crossed Rs30b but traders still unhappy
KARACHI: In comparison to last year, Karachi witnessed better Eidul Fitr sales this year, but traders still lack optimism about the situation. All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir thinks Eid business in the city has hardly crossed the Rs30 billion mark. Last year it was barely Rs10 billion.
According to the city’s electronic market association, their business was 75 per cent less this Ramazan. The cloth merchant association believes that there was no drastic difference in this year’s Eid sales in comparison to last year.
“Last year before Eidul Fitr, everything was closed due to Covid-19. In the last days of Ramazan we got a little time until 4pm,” Mir said while talking to The News. “There wasn’t any sale, nor any business.”
However, he lamented, this year they had great expectations, but by limiting the business timing to 6pm, the government deprived traders of a better opportunity to earn. “We have a trend of night shopping, especially during Ramazan. It’s not our culture to shop during the day.”
Despite all these constraints, he said, traders made at least Rs30 billion in sales this Eid. “Had we gotten a complete opportunity, our sales would have touched Rs50 billion to Rs60 billion this season.”
He said that in comparison to the neighbouring countries in the region, Pakistan’s textile industry is doing better. Other countries are on lockdown, which is why Pakistan’s textile and stitch garment industries are getting orders from abroad, he added.
“Three months before Ramazan the branded item garment sector was busy due to orders from foreign countries,” he said, adding that they still have orders for the next few months, and all they need is permission to work.
Cloth Merchant Association President Ahmed Chinoy told The News that this year’s Eid sales were better than last year, but due to a complete lockdown in the last days of Ramazan, their business was badly affected. Last year, he said, they had sales of less than Rs1 billion, which was unprecedentedly low for Ramazan shopping.
He said that due to the lockdown, they experienced difficulties in delivering their finished products to their customers. “The loss of shutting down a medium-sized factory for a day is Rs0.5 million.”
He added that completely shutting down factories for 10 days consecutively will not benefit anyone. As for the small merchant traders, he said that they experience a loss of at least Rs0.1 million with a day’s shutdown.
When asked about sales in comparison to last year, he replied that they are better but have remained around Rs1 billion, reasoning that the people of this city are in the habit of shopping in the last 10 days of Ramazan, and that too at night.
When asked about exports, he responded that after the lockdown as well as shutting down their production and import of cotton worth Rs2 billion, their exports will also be adversely affected. Raheel Paracha, president of the Victoria Welfare Association of the Victoria Shopping Centre (Zainab Market), lamented that there was no difference in Eid sales in comparison to last year. During Ramazan this year, he pointed out, the market remained open for hardly 12 or 13 days, and last year it was 10 to 12 days. “Shopkeepers have incurred huge losses. They had garments worth millions of rupees in their shops that they couldn’t sell.”
He said that retailers call him up daily for permission to allow them to open their shops so that they can at least sell garments online, but the police do not allow them. Karachi Electronic Dealers Association President Rizwan Irfan shared with The News that they saw only 25 per cent Eid sales this year and incurred 75 per cent losses.
Last year #Karachi accounted for 51% of #Pakistan’s #exports. #Lahore came in 2nd with 18% and #Faisalabad 3rd with 12%
Green Line buses for Karachi
There is a reason for Karachiites to smile as the first tranche of 40 buses of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), also known as the Green Line, have arrived. It is part of the Rs27 billion allocation under the gigantic Rs1.1 trillion Karachi Transformation Project. The Green Line project was conceived by the previous government but could not materialise in time. A total of 80 buses would run on the first-ever mass transit in Karachi as a special 22km corridor has been built for the purpose. It is hoped that half a million commuters would benefit from this in the first phase scheduled to get operational in two months.
With a hurrah beginning, one hopes the metropolitan will see development in all civic avenues. This 22km driveway transcends a mere 20% of the city, and what is needed is similar mass transit buses plying on other arteries, especially the peripheral routes. The potholes-laden roads and streets are in need of re-carpeting, as they are a nuisance to motorists. Last but not the least is the Karachi Circular Railway, which has become a white elephant project owing to a plethora of blunders and non-seriousness of relevant authorities. It is unimaginable to learn that the city is deprived of its due share of water, and it necessitates an immediate completion of K-IV project, apparently a victim of provincial and federal bureaucracy. Similarly, rainwater drains and desilting are other blind corners that need instant attention to make the city liveable.
The megacity of around 25 million people has for long been a victim of poor planning and biased allocations when it comes to development. This is why its civic infrastructure is dilapidated, and people long for even basic recreation facilities. This culture of ad hocism has been toiling and heart-burning for Karachiites who are, in fact, the real revenue generators for the country. The ruling PTI, which has a lion’s share in the National Assembly from Karachi, has a responsibility and mandate to deliver. Erecting an edifice of a modern metropolitan cannot be lingered on any mo
• Coastal comprehensive development zone to be established on KPT’s reclaimed land
• $3.5bn plan envisages new berths for port, new fishery port, harbour bridge to unlock Pakistan’s Blue Economy
• Centre calls the initiative a game-changer for Pakistan
KARACHI: Calling it a “game-changer”, the federal government on Saturday unveiled an ambitious plan to rebuild Karachi’s coastline under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with $3.5 billion “direct Chinese investment” that aims to overhaul city’s seaboard with new berths for the port, a new fishery port and a ‘majestic harbour bridge’ connecting it with Manora islands and Sandspit beach.
The Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone (KCCDZ) — spread over 640 hectares or 1,581 acres on the western backwaters marsh land of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) leading to revamp one of the oldest city slums Machhar Colony relocating its more than half a million population — is an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
The KCCDZ is the latest addition to CPEC projects aimed at providing Karachi with an ultra modern urban infrastructure zone, placing it among the top port cities of the world.
The announcement came from the top when a key member of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet shared some details of the project and claimed it carried “enormous potential for global investors as well”.
“And the best thing of this project is that it’s solely based on foreign [Chinese] investment without any loan,” said Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi while speaking to Dawn.
Also read: Slow pace of work on CPEC irks Chinese companies
“The Chinese work so fast and I guess that it would not take more than five or six years to complete the project. Under the agreed plan, we would relocate some 20,000 to 25,000 families from Machhar Colony and relocate them. Believe me it’s a huge thing for Pakistan. It’s something massive. It would bring multifold advantages to Pakistan’s maritime economy and further strengthen our coastal development.”
He said after assuming the office as the minister for maritime affairs he vigorously looked for the opportunity for the KCCDZ and made all-out efforts to include it in the CPEC projects. For this purpose, he added, he consulted a number of Chinese companies, investors and officials of the neighbouring country and his efforts finally yielded results.
Earlier, the federal minister shared the “monumental decision” on a social media platform, coming up with sketchy details of the KCCDZ. He, however, did not explain terms and conditions that convinced the Chinese investors to pour in $3.5 billion (around Rs592 billion).
“A monumental decision was taken during the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC, held on 23rd September 2021 at Islamabad and Beijing,” Mr Zaidi tweeted while sharing a formal statement of the announcement.
“The two countries agreed to include KCCDZ under the CPEC framework. KCCDZ, an initiative of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs focuses on providing Karachi with an ultra modern urban infrastructure zone, placing Karachi amongst the top port cities of the world.”
The minister also shared animated and picturesque images of a developed KCCDZ, showing a huge developed coastline dotted with multiple buildings, concrete structures and planned neighbourhoods without mentioning their utilities. He claimed all the developments would take place over “reclaimed area of the KPT” spanning over huge 640 hectares or 1581.474 acres.
“Developed on reclaimed area of approximately 640 hectares on the Western back waters marsh land of KPT, KCCDZ will be a flagship project for not only Pakistan but the entire region,” the statement claimed.
#China Plans $3.5B #Investment in #Pakistani #Port Project. Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone, or #KCCDZ to include constructing a mixed-use residential/commercial/seaport project on underutilized lands of the #Karachi Port Trust. #CPEC https://sgq.io/0pKfTkh
At this year's joint meeting on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Pakistan's Ministry of Maritime Affairs came away with a huge commitment. The Chinese government has agreed to make a direct investment - not a loan - of $3.5 billion in the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone, or KCCDZ. This massive proposal would include constructing a mixed-use residential/commercial/seaport project on underutilized lands belonging to the Karachi Port Trust.
Illustrations of the 1,500-acre development show a mixture of high- and mid-rise buildings on a strip of reclaimed land, just across an inlet from Karachi's TP3 sewage treatment plant. The illustration suggests that its new buildings and roads will also replace the Machar Colony neighborhood, an unplanned settlement also known as the Fisherman's Colony. This area is home to about 150,000 people, primarily low-income residents who work in fishing or shrimp-processing, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres.
In a release, Pakistan's Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that the project would include residential resettlement assistance for "more than 20,000 families living in the surrounding slums."
The proposed development also appears to transform the fishing harbor on the port's West Wharf - a jam-packed marina for small fishing vessels - into a new waterfront commercial district. According to the ministry, a new "state-of-the-art fishing port" will take its place, along with a "world-class fisheries export processing zone," according to the ministry.
KCCDZ will also add four new ship berths for the Karachi Port Trust, located on the new, reclaimed "peninsula" in the harbor. It will also add a giant harbor bridge across Baba Channel, giving the new district a direct highway connection with Karachi's container terminals. It also adds an extra sewage plant adjacent to the existing TP3 facility.
"The KCCDZ will unlock Pakistan’s unexplored Blue Economy and significantly enhance development and industrial cooperation between the two brotherly countries," the ministry said. "The KCCEZ is a game-changer for Pakistan."
Pakistan and China unveil ambitious plan to develop Karachi coast
KARACHI -- In an ambitious turn, Pakistan and China have agreed to develop the Karachi coast, possibly shifting away from Gwadar as the center stage of the Belt and Road project in Pakistan, following ongoing problems at the southwestern province of Balochistan.
A memorandum of understanding was signed for the Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone project during the recently held 10th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, after a gap of almost two years.
Based on details shared by Pakistan, China will invest $3.5 billion, separately confirmed by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, in the project which includes adding new berths to Karachi port, developing a new fisheries port and a 640-hectare trade zone on the western backwater marshland of the Karachi Port Trust. The project also envisages building a harbor bridge connecting the port with the nearby Manora islands.
The writing was already on the wall for some. In June, Saudi Arabia decided to shift a proposed $10-billion oil refinery to Karachi from Gwadar. This was a major shock to the government's plans of building an energy hub in Gwadar, which is facing massive protests due to lack of water and power.
Now, Gwadar stands to lose even more foreign investment. Karachi is the largest city and the main commercial hub of Pakistan and also home to the busiest port.
Malik Siraj Akbar, a South Asia analyst based in Washington, believes that Karachi offers not only better infrastructure, but also tighter law and order, making it an ideal hub for CPEC. "The Chinese want CPEC to leave its mark as a symbol of rising Chinese power without particular interests in any specific region in Pakistan," he said.
Krzysztof Iwanek, head of the Asia Research Center at Warsaw's War Studies University, said that the challenges of developing a major port in an underdeveloped area like Gwadar must have been factored in by China from the outset.
"[I]t may be assumed that Chinese involvement in Gwadar may be at least partially strategic. Karachi, in turn, is Pakistan's most important port, and, hence, Chinese involvement there may be of purely economic nature," Iwanek said.
Despite the signing of the agreement and expression of commitment from the Chinese side, analysts fear that implementation will be difficult.
Iwanek believes that Belt and Road projects are under scrutiny in China, as funds are no longer distributed so liberally as loans and there is a focus on more feasible projects. He suggested that it will not be easy for Pakistan to draw investments or loans for this project because China is lending with a greater focus on "pragmatism" now.
Arif Rafiq, president of Vizier Consulting, a New York-based political risk assessment firm, shares that view and said that the project had a long way to go.
"Feasibility studies, including on the environmental impact, need to be conducted. The dredging will destroy existing mangroves, which serve as a vital, natural defense against storms and erosion," he said. He claimed that as many as 500,000 people will have to be resettled, which will be a politically contentious process.
Gwadar's sudden fall from grace has implications for wider Belt and Road enterprises. Analysts said that the way Pakistan and China are dealing with Gwadar implies that any problematic project of Belt and Road, irrespective of its potential, can either be dropped or put on the back burner.
"Pakistan and China had an opportunity to develop [Gwadar] port in a conflict zone but several factors, such as corruption, mismanagement, lack of public support and transparency, have led to a loss of interest in the Gwadar Port," said Malik, as he warned that other problematic Belt and Road projects could face the same fate.
#Karachi Green Line Ridership Stats For First 3 Days! Total 81,000 passengers!! 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,000 on next and 32,000 on the third day. #greenlineforkarachi #Pakistan
The Green Line Bus service has become fully operational, 80 buses could be spotted moving around from 7am till 10pm.
The service was fully started recently. Inside the entrance, one will have to head downstairs to a two level basement and will find the ticketing area on a first level. Moreover, one can buy tickets in two ways one of which is going to the ticketing booth and pay Rs 55 for a ticket for whether you are travelling to the station ahead or to all 22 stations.
However, another better and economical way is to buy a Rs 100 card which can be topped up. As you reach a station to get off, the machines there will deduct your fare as per kilometre of your travelling.
During the first three days of the service going fully operational, a total of 81,000 passengers benefited from the service. 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,0
Private funding model agreed for #Karachi Circular #Railway. #KCR will serve 457,000 riders daily, rising to one million before the end of initial 33 year concession period. #Electric #trains will operate on the railway for 17 hours daily. #Pakistan https://www.railjournal.com/financial/private-funding-model-agreed-for-karachi-circular-railway/#.Yf13DOqluXQ.twitter
THE Pakistan federal government has approved a proposal for the construction and operation of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) using a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Construction of the 43km double track line is expected to take around three years, and will cost Rs 220 billion ($US 2.92bn).
Mr Asad Umar, minister for planning, development and special initiatives chaired the PPP Authority Board meeting in Islamabad on January 25, where the proposals were reviewed.
Under the proposal, the private sector will finance the construction, civil works, electrical and mechanical works, as well as the operations and maintenance of the KCR.
The Pakistan government will provide capital viability gap funding in order to improve the financial viability of the project. This is expected to be around Rs 80-90bn which would be provided in the first three years of the concession being operational.
The PPP Authority Board also decided that the railway board would be requested to make 13 properties on the route available for lease for 99 years. This is designed to meet the initial financing since the profit will ultimately go to Pakistan Railways (PR).
The KCR is expected to serve 457,000 passengers per day when it opens, and this is expected to rise to one million by the end of the initial 33 year concession period. Electric trains will operate on the railway for 17 hours each day.
Asad said that KCR is an important part of the Karachi transformation plan and will play a pivotal role in providing an affordable and reliable public transport system.
StartUpBlink Report 2022: #Startup Ecosystem of #Karachi is ranked at number 291 globally, and shows a negative momentum decreasing -5 spots since 2021. Karachi also ranks at number 1 in #Pakistan, and 10 in #SouthAsia. #technology #Entrepreneurship https://www.startupblink.com/startup-ecosystem/karachi-pk
Karachi is an ideal place to locate for Ecommerce & Retail, Transportation and Marketing & Sales startups. As the most popular industries in Karachi, there is a sample of 12 Ecommerce & Retail startups in Karachi, 10 Transportation startups in Karachi, and 8 Marketing & Sales startups in Karachi, on the StartupBlink Map.
On the StartupBlink Global Startup Ecosystem Map there is also a sample of 53 startups in Karachi, no accelerators in Karachi, no coworking spaces in Karachi, no organizations in Karachi and no leaders in Karachi.
StartupBlink ranks the startup ecosystems of 100 countries and 1,000 cities. Download our latest Global Ecosystem Report.
Karachi has been ranked among South Asia’s top ten start-up-friendly cities by the startup ecosystem rating website, Startup Blink, in its 2022 report.
Pakistan’s port city has broken India’s monopoly on the list by jumping up four ranks within a year to join the top ten cities.
While the other 9 cities are all in India, Karachi has reportedly surpassed Pakistan’s top city, Lahore, this year, as well as other cities that are considered to have startup-friendly environments.
However, on a global level, Karachi’s ranking has dropped by five places and is now at number 291.
Meanwhile, Lahore fell 48 places to the 305th rank internationally this year. Islamabad was ranked third in Pakistan and dropped one rank to 438th on the global list.
Overall, Pakistan’s ranking as a favorable environment for startups decreased by two places and it stood 76th globally.
It was also ranked second in South Asia and fourth among the Central Asia Regional Economics Corporation (CAREC) countries.
The report detailed that successful start-ups and digitization are of prime importance in Pakistan’s economic development.
Digital entrepreneurship and investment in startups got a boost in Pakistan during the pandemic, and startups were supported by improvements in broadband coverage and digital infrastructure, and a new framework for digital payments. Local IT companies also received tax incentives and exemptions through Special Technology Zones.
Pakistan has come a long way to strengthen its legal framework to promote digitization, according to the report, but still needs clarification on taxes and incentives for local investment.
The country’s climate of political chaos hinders the creation of stable policies and an environment of trust to actually strengthen its startup ecosystem, Start Blinkup detailed. Apart from this, increasing capital demand for emerging startups and the supply of experienced manpower are also causing concern.
To meet these needs, it is necessary for Pakistan to increase the capacity of the startup ecosystem to provide qualified and trained manpower amid the growing demand for capital for emerging start-ups.
Modi’s Double Engine Sarkar by Pervez Hoodbhoy
These are substantial, undeniable achievements that hubris-filled Hindu nationalists say derive from their greatness as an ancient civilization. But wait! China has done still better. And, though far smaller, many emergent countries of East Asia — Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore — also boast of better performance than India’s.
In every case, the secret of success is well-known — strong systems of education that create skills, knowledge, attitudes and social behavior’s suited for modern times. Together with that, a strong work ethic in the labor force. Stated differently, high national achievement springs naturally from the quickness with which a country universalizes or ‘Westernizes’ its education and creates positive attitudes towards work.
Here’s how India grew into the present. Empowered by the scientific and industrial revolutions, Britain colonized India and sought to spread Western education and values. Conservative Hindus emphatically rejected this modernization butsar reformist movements such as Brahmo Samaj under Ram Mohan Roy and others made deep inroads.
By 1947 under Jawaharlal Nehru — an avowed Hindu atheist devoted to the ‘scientific temper’ — India was already intellectually equipped to enter the modern world. For the next 50 years, India’s education sought to create a pluralist, secular, scientifically minded society. It reaps rich harvests to the present day — which the BJP happily appropriates as its own.
But Hindu nationalists now want India’s goals and self-image drastically revised. Modi’s second engine, fueled by febrile imaginations, pushes India towards emulating some kind of Hindu rashtra from an idyllic past. My friend Prof Badri Raina, now retired from Delhi University, says that “this backward engine would have us believe that in ancient times we had knowledge of plastic surgery, aeronautics, satellite vision, even as streams of foaming white milk flowed down our plains, and golden birds perched on the branches of trees”.
The loudest call for reforming Muslim education was that of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Madressahs, he said, are entirely unnecessary. Using religious idiom, he passionately argued for science and modernity. While his efforts led to some measure of functionality and to jobs within the colonial system, they were nowhere deep or wide as that of Brahmo Samaj. Conservative backlash limited Sir Syed’s influence.
Thus, by the time Partition came around, there was a massive Hindu-Muslim gap. Nevertheless, for the first few decades, Pakistan’s engine #1 steadily gained strength and was consistently stronger than its second engine. Among other things, Pakistan’s space program (born 1961, now dead) much preceded India’s.
More than 150,000 people visited the 17th Karachi International Book Fair in just two days and organisers of the event expect at least 400,000 people to take the trip to the five-day expo that ends on December 12.
The Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA) has organised the annual exhibition at the Karachi Expo Centre that is open from 9am to 10pm daily.
Some 40 foreign publishing houses from 17 countries and over 130 noted publishers from Pakistan are participating in the event by setting up 330 book stalls.
According to the event organisers, the annual exhibition serves as a platform to let book publishers and retailers around the world share with each other the latest trends, technological improvements, and innovations introduced to upgrade the publishing industry.
Sindh Education and Culture Minister, Syed Sardar Ali Shah, said such events provided the opportunity to teach the new generation to stay away from violent and gory video games played on smartphones and reconnect with their native culture that stands for peace and security for everyone.
He conceded that the number of book readers had sharply gone down over the last several years due to excessive reliance on digital means of communication but still books play an important role in the lives of coming generations.
He advised the PPBA to organise fairs in other cities including in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, and Larkana as the authorities would provide all help in this regard.
The provincial government aims to expand the network of public libraries to small towns and in the first phase the number of libraries was being increased in Karachi.
The retired bureaucrat and former lawmaker, Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, said that the recent pandemic had provided an opportunity for many people in the world to reconnect with the hobby of book reading.
PPBA Chairman, Aziz Khalid, appealed to the government to lessen the duty on paper and also introduce incentives for local paper producers for promoting the Pakistani publishing industry which had been facing a challenging situation due to economic woes.
Haroon Aziz, a first-year college student, said it was an amazing sight for him that the Karachi Expo Centre, which just a month back had hosted an international arms expo was now exhibiting thousands of books under one roof.
He said the books displayed at the expo would be highly helpful in his studies in addition to encouraging him to adopt the reading habit in his leisure time.
Sindh CM inaugurates headquarters of Rescue 1122 in Karachi
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah inaugurated the headquarters of Rescue 1122 established in cooperation with the World Bank in Karachi on Friday.
Addressing the ceremony on the occasion, Syed Murad Ali Shah said Rescue 1122 service is already working in Karachi, Larkana, Thatta, Sujawal, Qambar-Shahdadkot and Hyderabad districts and from tomorrow it will also start working in Badin as well.
He said that Rescue 1122 emergency service has been established under World Bank Sindh Resilience Project.
The Chief Minister Sindh said that ambulance service, fire service, urban rescue and search service, water rescue service will be provided in Karachi city under this service.
He said that the rescue service will be started at main roads and highways every after 50 kilometers to ensure provision of immediate services to the people in emergencies in the province.
ML-1, KCR (Karachi Circular Railway) upgrade projects to start in March
He (Ambassador Non Rong) recalled that under the CPEC, 192,000 jobs were created, 6000MW of electricity was generated, 510 km of highway was constructed and 886 km of transmission was set up, which laid a solid foundation for Pakistan’s socio-economic development. “In fact, Pakistan’s trade surplus of agricultural products is expected to exceed a record high of $1 billion in 2022,” the ambassador said.
The Chinese sources said the ML-1 is the largest infrastructure project of CPEC worth $6.86 billion. The project involves the up-gradation and dualization of ML-1 to increase the operating speed from the current 60 km/h and 105 km/h to a proposed 160 km/h. The project also involves the establishment of a dry port near Havelian. ML-1, the Karachi to Peshawar line, is one of four main railway lines in Pakistan, operated and maintained by Pakistan Railways. The line begins from Karachi City Station or Kiamari station and ends at Peshawar Cantonment Station. The total length of this railway line is 1,687 kilometers. There are 184 railway stations from Kiamari to Peshawar Cantonment on this line. The line serves as the main passenger and freight line of the country. 75 percent of the country’s cargo and passenger traffic uses the ML-1. The existing timeline for the completion of ML-1 extends to December 2024. Under the umbrella of this project, level crossing will be converted into flyovers or underpasses so that the speed can be increased by getting rid of the obstacles.
The project could not be started during the PTI government due to China’s concerns over debt repayment plan, the sources pointed out. ML-I railway line project is very important to achieve connectivity between Gwadar (Pakistan) and Kashgar (China) through a train track that will provide the easiest and safest way to transport oil between China and the Middle East, saving China travel costs. The railway line upgrade will provide faster travel facilities to the people of Pakistan and commercial benefits like bringing raw materials to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and faster delivery of finished goods to remote areas of the country as well Gwadar port. Another great benefit is that coal will be delivered for fuel to the power plants through the railway track, which will also generate good revenue for the railways. Due to unnecessary delays, the cost of this historic project has increased. The Imran’s PTI government failed to convince the IMF and the Chinese government to start the project. Another reason for the increase is the recent floods in Pakistan, which has destroyed the railway lines of most parts of the country. As soon as the new government was formed in April, 2022, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal restarted the discussion with the Chinese authorities on revival of the project.
The revived KCR operation is intended to become an inter-regional public transit system in Karachi, with an aim to connect the city centre with several industrial and commercial districts within the city and the outlying localities. In May 2017, the then government approved Rs27.9 billion ($120 million) restoration package for the KCR. However, delays and disputes with the Sindh provincial government ultimately led to cancellation of the funding. KCR would be constructed with the cost of Rs294 billion and used by 500,000 passengers/day, which would increase to 1 million in later years. KCR will have 250 modern driverless electric bullet trains, which would run 17-hours a day throughout a week. The KCR project would be run by the Sindh government through Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) and likely to be completed by 2025.
The rocky road ahead for Pakistan’s start-up ecosystem | fDi Intelligence – Your source for foreign direct investment information - fDiIntelligence.com
February 22, 2023
Based out of the NED University of Engineering and Technology, NIC Karachi is funded by Pakistan’s national technology fund, Ignite, and operated by LMKT, a private tech company which runs two other NICs in the cities of Hyderabad and Peshawar.
Atif Khan, the chairman and CEO of LMKT, says the philosophy behind the incubation centres “was not to create unicorns”, but to act as digital skills development centres: “We are training and grooming a lot of talent in the country.”
NIC Karachi has already incubated more than 250 start-ups, such as ride-hailing app Bykea and London-based proptech platform Gridizen. Kamran Mahmood, the CEO of Gridizen, who recently returned to Pakistan to join NIC Karachi, says he has found it even easier to meet decision makers at large companies in Pakistan than the UK.
“[NIC Karachi] is doing an excellent job of internationalising and progressing the start-up scene in the country,” he says. Data Darbar figures show that Karachi-based start-ups attracted $236.7m of funding in 2022, equivalent to two-thirds of Pakistan's total and almost double the previous year. The financial capital is followed by Lahore ($69.2m) and Islamabad ($41.6m).
In July 2022, Pakistan’s fledgling start-up scene was dealt a major blow. Airlift, a fast delivery start-up that had raised $85m barely a year earlier, said it would permanently close operations due to the “devastating impact” of worsening economic conditions.
“This has been an extremely taxing decision that impacts a large set of stakeholders and an emerging technology ecosystem,” Airlift wrote in a statement. Start-up failures are common in more mature markets, and seen as an integral part of the innovation and disruption process. But the collapse of a company hoped to be Pakistan’s first ‘unicorn’, or start-up valued at above $1bn, rattled the country’s nascent tech scene.
Several advisors, investors and entrepreneurs tell fDi that Airlift’s failure has caused Pakistani start-up founders and investors to shift their focus away from pursuing “hyper-growth” to building more “sustainable” business models.
Similar to the caution permeating the global tech and venture capital (VC) industry, start-up funding in Pakistan has dropped considerably. Start-ups in Pakistan raised just over $15m in the final quarter of 2022, the worst volumes since the first quarter of 2020 and 79% lower than the same period a year earlier, according to Data Darbar, which tracks the Pakistani start-up scene.
“Given the global slowdown and Pakistan’s macroeconomic and political challenges, things are tough right now and will likely remain so in 2023,” says Aatif Awan, the founder of early stage venture fund Indus Valley Capital, which is focused on Pakistan and had invested in Airlift.
Several acute challenges currently facing the country — including dwindling foreign exchange reserves, security issues, blackouts and severe flood risks — are causing many young Pakistanis to leave. Despite significant obstacles, those involved in Pakistan’s ecosystem believe that the country’s demographics and rapidly digitalising economy make it an untapped opportunity with potential for long-term growth.
When Shamim Rajani co-founded her software development business Genetech Solutions in Pakistan’s commercial capital Karachi back in 2004, she remembers a “lot of stubbornness” from the government and local corporates towards the IT sector.
“Pakistan wasn’t [even] ready for women CEOs in the tech sector then,” remarks Ms Rajani, adding that she had to look for global clients in countries like the US. “Saying these words today, I don’t even believe it myself.”
From #Karachi with love: exploring #Pakistan’s annual #flower show run by Pak #Horticulture Society at Karachi Boat Club: Big-headed yellow marigolds; purple & white stocks & annual carnations displayed with a distinctive style.
I have just been exploring links forged by flowers in dry south Pakistan. I was there on separate business, my life-long object of study, Alexander the Great. In 326-325BC he conquered his way down the Indus river valley, but he never planted a garden. He banned a curved fruit that was new to the Greeks and was thought to be upsetting his soldiers’ stomachs. It was probably a banana. Obedient to Alexander I never eat bananas.
Between lectures on his legend and localised study of his campaign, I have explored aspects of their setting, all new to me, and noticed how joined-up gardening links us to Pakistan. I was set on my path by a tree.
In the exclusive Karachi Boat Club, a fine old tree surveys the lawn, beautifully groomed for the members’ benefit. On its trunk a notice proclaims: “I have closely witnessed the evolutions of the upper middle classes of this metropolis for more than a century.”
If trees could talk, what would the plane trees in Berkeley Square be telling us about changes in London’s high society?
“Music and the playing of military bands,” the tree’s notice continues, “reminds me of the RAJ ERA when such parties were most prominent.” The tree is a bodhi tree, like the one under which the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.
Seeking sociological enlightenment, I looked at the gardening round the club’s lawn. Postcolonial petunias; big-headed yellow marigolds; purple and white stocks and annual carnations were displayed with a distinctive style: single plants of each had been planted in a painted clay pot, and then the pots were massed by the dozen to make lines and curves.
In the paved courtyard of the Gymkhana club in Hyderabad, plants in individual pots are banked up into a circular centrepiece which is a blaze of colour. I watched while the club’s gardeners took each pot to a tap in order to water it. At home I sometimes plant a spare petunia in a single pot, but it never reaches such a diameter. I need to give it some Pakistani care.
Admiring these bright variations on mere flowerbeds, I widened my social survey. I went to a popular gathering, the Pakistan Annual Flower Show, run by the Horticulture Society of Pakistan. As it began in the first spring of Pakistan’s existence, this year is its 75th anniversary. For three days, visitors flocked to Seaview and the AK Khan park, which commemorates Abdul Karim Khan, a founding genius of the show in 1948.
What a delight to see plants in profusion, packing individual nurseries’ tents and spilling out on to the grass while a military band played favourite Pakistani tunes. The show occupies a space that measures up to the Royal Hospital site of London’s Chelsea Show and the crowds are as dense as on any of Chelsea’s days. So much is on sale throughout, from excellent foliage plants to roses, including a superb flat-petalled crimson and a prizewinning red with white streaks called Double Delight.
Nurseries have joyful banners on their tents: “we do rockeries and manures” or “we are the Blossoming Nursery for rented plants”. Orange awnings brighten the scene, lit with those mainstays of Pakistani staging, lines of bare lightbulbs.
Much of the audience was middle class: how have flowers’ uses evolved elsewhere in society? Outside Karachi I was securely escorted to a great evening occasion, a Friday celebration at the famous shrine in the westerly town of Sehwan. It is the resting place of the 13th-century Sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, and is a place of pilgrimage from far and wide.
Inside, red-robed dancers twirled to the beat of hand drums before thousands of packed spectators, entranced by the music and the rhythms, boys and men in the front, girls and women in the side chapels.
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