Cover Image: Quadvision Photography
Diverse cultures, countless spoken languages, brilliant architectural heritage, and full of history, Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, is the heart of the country. What started out as a small fishing village, courtesy of an old fisherwoman named Mai Kolachi, has now become the most populated and largest revenue-generating city of the country.
From being home to different religions, languages, and cultures, to sporting a natural harbor in its south, here are a few reasons as to why ‘The City of Lights’ is, in fact, the greatest city of Pakistan.
1. Rich history
According to historians, Alexander the Great camped in Krokola (Greek name for present day Karachi) in 325BC to prepare his troops for Babylonia. This was also one of the places from where, in around 710AD, a young Umayyad general called Muhammad Bin Qasim brought his conquering army into South Asia.
Source: Click Click
About two centuries ago, Baloch tribesman occupied this area, and developed it into a small fishing town. After the annexation of Sindh by the British in 1843, Karachi got the status of a town, which was soon changed to that of a city. Then after partition, the city was named as the capital of Pakistan until 1960.
2. Financial Capital
Karachi is known to be the financial and commercial capital of Pakistan.
According to the Federal Board of Revenue, Karachi generates roughly 54% of the total collections of the board, a big chunk of which comprises of customs duty and sales tax on imports, mainly because of the presence of the two ports in the city, the airport being one of the busiest in Asia.
Source: Best on Top 10
Khaleej Times recently reported that since 2009, the Pakistani equities delivered 26% annually for US dollar investors, allowing the Karachi Stock Exchange to be the best-performing stock exchange in the world!
In other words, Karachi is a money-making mega-city. Bling bling.
Pakistan, generally, is home to hearty, food lovers. Karachi is not far behind when it comes to having a wide range of food eateries. The world famous Burns Road, also known as Banns Road, is a street in the very heart of the city, neighbored by the hustling and bustling of Saddar, and is famous for its traditional food items such as Nihari, Karahi, Haleem, Katakat, all sorts of barbequed Kababs, fried fish, desserts such as Rabri, and traditional drinks such as Lassi and Gannay ka Rus.
Source: Express Tribune
Lahore might be called the food capital of Pakistan, but Karachi’s ability to provide its people with a wide gastronomic repertoire from Paye to pizza, Burgers to Biryani, Sajji to Steaks, and Ravioli to Rabri, makes the city stake its claim as a serious contender for the food capital throne.
Karachi is home to about 21 million people, belonging to different religions, races, and ethnicities, with majority of the population being descendants of migrants from India, post-1947. Pathans, Sindhi, Punjabi, Gilgiti, Balochi, and Afghani make up the remaining part of the population. It is this beautiful mix of diverse cultures and traditions that makes Karachi a wonderful place to live in. The neighborhoods are tightly knit together – joys and sorrows equally shared.
Plus, Karachi is the birth city of people like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Mehdi Hassan, and Anwar Maqsood. Quite a lot of legends, that!
5. Architectural diversity
Boasting one of the country’s most beautiful skylines, Karachi houses some of the oldest architectural designs, dating back to the Victorian era, and some of the tallest, modern-day architectural wonders as well.
The Merewether Clock Tower, Empress Market, and Frere Hall are brilliant architectural pieces from the British Victorian Era, while modern day architecture includes the Harbor Front, MCB Tower, Bahria Town Icon, and The Ocean Tower.
Source: Dolmen Group
The Karachi skyline also dons the famous Habib Bank Plaza building, and the glowing mausoleum of the Quaid.
6. Altaf Bhai
Haha, just kidding.
Source: Voice of Journalists
The term Altaf Bhai or Bhai Loag is synonymous with the people of Karachi. Bhai created and trademarked the term ‘Hello!? Awaz aa rahi hai!?’ courtesy his telephonic speeches, long before Skype calls made it cool. He has since gone on and made occasional city shutdowns, resigning, withdrawing, resigning and withdrawing his own resigning orders again, and most recently hunger strikes, cool too.
7. Art on Wheels
The City of Lights houses one of the largest public transport systems of Asia, with beautifully painted trucks, buses, mini-buses, rickshaws, and Tuk-Tuks spread around in the city.
The best thing about Karachi is the convenience to buy absolutely everything that money can buy.
Tiny shoe laces, luxury yacht, cheap furniture, electronic gadgets, clothes, cigarettes, drugs, arms and ammunition – you can buy just about everything! There are fancy boutiques that sell luxurious designer clothing for weddings and parties, and markets that sell cheap clothes for every other occasion!
Finally, why is Karachi the greatest city in Pakistan? Because it has the sea, damn it! Not a canal or a river or a dam or a fountain, but the whole friggin’ sea! For starters, we have Clifton Beach, which in all honesty isn’t that fancy. But then we have the French Beach and Gadani, which, quite frankly, would pass as beaches of high, international standards!
People from Lahore say Lahore Lahore Hai. As a Karachi wala, born and bred in the city of Altaf Bhai, I would say Lahore Lahore Hai, par jitna Lahore hai, utna Karachi mai sirf Johar hai.
Even if that statement isn’t true, which it probably isn’t, Karachi and Lahore are among the greatest cities of Pakistan in terms of history and cultural heritage.