Mubashir Bhai AA
It is almost impossible to get a true picture of Karachi from abroad. Karachi is not a city. It is a country with population nearing 20 million. It is city much bigger than London.From 1973 to 1998 I lived in the PECHS which was once the largest Cooperative societies in South Asia. The population of one of its block i.e.block VI (where I lived) was more than that of Luxenbourg and some other countries of Europe.
The trouble spots are mostly in the old parts of the city and in areas close to the old port area. Lyari is the nexus of drug trafficking in the world. Afghanistan produces the biggest amount of heroine that goes through Lyari to the entire world. The West is well aware of this fact.Even the Indian underworld dons use Karachi as their main base.The outskirts of the city are generally inhabited by Pathans and to some extent Bengalis. This is because the country has had no housing policy since its inception.From 1947 to 1973 I lived in the Jacob Lines which was a part of the Lines area cantonment.(Dr. Shabbir also lived there) It was a very peaceful area where Govt. employees lived in very spacious barracks left behind by the Gora Sahibs. Now it has turned into a slum. The rapid growth of population and ill planning has turned the city into a mega-city with no mass transit facilities.The Defence Housing Authority where I live now is perhaps the most well planned society of the city, although it is always short of water.
In a nutshell, the entire city maybe a hot spot but it is not all in flames.People still throng to the sea-side every day, they visit shopping malls and cinema houses and about a dozen food streets in different parts of the city.I visit the neighbourhood park every evening and later take a 70 minute walk to keep my heart in working condition.I usually visit visit different parts of the city, but my wife has banned my entry into the some of the old areas of the city close to the port.e. Lyari, Kharadar, Mithadar, Khadda, and some adjoining areas.
In the end it all boils down to the fact that there are groups fighting for control of the city. The MQM is the largest force followed by the PPP and ANP and some splinter groups. Due to suspension of economic activity anti-social elements and criminals are always on the loose.The situation is similar in many respects to NY, London, Bombay and other ports.