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IntroductionDistrict at a Glance

Karachi District Profile

Introduction/Geographical location; Karachi District

Karachi is the capital of Sindh. It is the largest city, the main seaport, and the financial capital of Pakistan. With a city population of 17.1 million[1], Karachi is the 8th largest city of the world in terms of population, 13th largest urban agglomeration (2006[2]), the 4th largest metropolitan area in the world, and the 2nd largest city within the organization of the Islamic Conference[3]. Located between 24º 45” to 25º 15” North longitudes and 66º 37” to 67º 37” East latitudes, it is bounded by Jamshoro district in the Northeast, Thatta district in the Southeast, the Arabian Sea in the South and the Lasbela district of Balochistan in the West. Karachi city is spread over 3,530 km2 (1,360 sq. mi) in area, which is almost five times bigger than the entire area of Singapore.

Karachi District at a Glance

Name of District Karachi District
District Headquarter No headquarters
Population[4] 16,052,000 persons
Area[5] 3,527 km2
Population Density 4551 persons/ km2
Population Growth Rate[6] 2.6% per year
Male Population[7] 52.6%
Female Population[8] 47.4%
Urban Population[9] 92.9%
Tehsils/ Townships

Since Karachi is both a city and a district, it is divided into townships instead of Tehsils. There are a total of 18 towns:

  1. Baldia
  2. Bin Qasim
  3. Gadap
  4. Gulberg
  5. Gulshan
  6. Jamshed
  7. Kemari
  8. Korangi
  9. Landhi
  10. Liaquatabad
  11. Lyari
  12. Malir
  13. New Karachi
  14. North Nazimabad
  15. Orangi
  16. Saddar
  17. Shah Faisal
  18. Saddar
Cantonments 06
Main Towns See Tehsils/ Townships
Literacy Rate[10] 82%
Male Literacy Rate[11] 85%
Female Literacy Rate[12] 78%
Major Economic Occupations[13] Construction 19.1%
Activities not Adequately Defined 27.2%
Community, social & Personal Services 20.8%
Manufacturing 25.2%
Wholesale, Retail, Hotel/Restaurant 19.1%
Main Crops Cotton, wheat, jowar, maize, sesanum, moong, and maash
Major Fruits Banana, coconut, chikoo, dates, guava, grapes, jaamun, mango, watermelon, musk melon, papaya, phalsa, citrus, and ber
Major Vegetables Onion, peas, okra, tinda, brinjal, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, melon pumpkin, luffa, cucumber, long melon, purslane field vetch, turnip, carrot, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, radish, garden peas, lettuce, chilies, spearmint, fenugreek, garlic, and coriander
Forests (Area)[14] 112,000 HA
Provincial Highways[15] 89.4 km
Access Roads[16] 175.0 km
Secondary Roads[17] 250 km
No. of Grid Stations[18] 64 Grid Stations
No. of Telephone Exchanges Data not available
Industrial Zones

There are 12 major Industrial Zones in Karachi:

1.    SITE Karachi

2.    Korangi Industrial Area

3.    Landhi Industrial Area

4.    North Karachi Industrial Area

5.    Federal B Industrial Area

6.    Korangi Creek Industrial Park

7.    Bin Qasim Industrial Zone

8.    Karachi Export Processing Zone

9.    Pakistan Textile City

10. West Wharf Industrial Area

11. SITE Superhighway Phase I

12. SITE Superhighway Phase II

No. of Industrial Units and Major Industry[19] There are 1,198 industrial units in the district. Major industries of Karachi: textiles, pharmaceuticals, steel, automobiles, marble, food and beverage, plastic, and leather goods
Household Size[20] 6.7 persons per house
Houses with Piped Water Inside[21] 84%
Houses with Electricity[22] 99%
Houses with Gas For Cooking[23] 98%

Table 1.1 Karachi District at a Glance

[1] Wall Street Special Report 2017. The population figures are estimated for 2016

[3] Retrieved from blog by Moiz Alam, corroborated from List of Largest Cities in Organization of Islamic Conference (Wikipedia)

[4] Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18

[5] 1998 District Profile; Karachi, by GoPakistan

[6] Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18

[7] 2017 Census

[8] 2017 Census

[9] 2017 Census

[10] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM) Latest available

[11] PSLM

[12] PSLM

[13] Karachi District Profile 1998 by GoPakistan ; the percentages included in each category are averages of numbers published separately for each district of Karachi. This is the latest available; results of 2017 census have not been published as yet. For a listing of the city districts, please consult the section on Administrative Divisions.

[14] Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18

[15] Road List Issued by GoS, 2009 (Latest available)

[16] Road List

[17] Road List

[18] Karachi Electric Official Website (Extracted in 2020)

[19] Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18 (Extracted from Census of Manufacturing Industry (2005-06); latest available

[20] Karachi District Profile 1998 by GoPakistan; 2017 Census data has not been made public yet.

[21] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey  (PSLM) 2014-15; latest available.

[22] PSLM 2014-15; latest available.

[23] PSLM 2014-15; latest available.

Brief HistoryGovernmental StructureAdministrative DivisionsHeritage Buildings and Historical Sites

Brief History; Karachi District

Karachi is locally referred to as the “City of Lights” and “The Bride of the Cities” for its dynamic vitality and its metropolitan energy, especially at night. It is also referred to as the “City of the Quaid”, since the Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in the city and then also buried in Karachi. He made the city his home after Pakistan’s Independence from the British in 1947.

It is well-known that the land on which the current metropolis stands has been home to various civilizations. Evidence of Paleolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, in fact, has been found in 1979 by a Karachi University team led by A. Rauf Khan, on the Mulri Hills, South of Karachi University Campus. This find constitutes one of the most important archeological discoveries made in Sindh. The team concluded that the last hunter-gatherers, who left abundant traces of their passage, repeatedly inhabited the hills. Some 20 different locations of flint tools were discovered during the surface surveys.

The area now belonging to Karachi was first discovered, and conquered, by Alexander the Great in 324-326 BC and became known to the ancient Greeks by many names: Krokola, the place where Alexander the Great camped to prepare a fleet for Babylonia after his campaign in the Indus Valley; Morontobar (probably Manora island near Karachi Harbor), from whence Alexander’s Admiral Nearchus set sail; and Barbarikon[1] (the entire sea coast of Karachi, now called Pakistan Coast), a port of the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdom. After the Greek conquest, the area was next mentioned by Arab conquerors, who called it Debal. The area referred to as Debal was the port of entry for Muhammad bin Qasim and his army in 712 AD. Muhammad bin Qasim is responsible for the Arab conquest of the area now called the Indian subcontinent. According to the British historian Henry Miers Elliot[2], parts of the city of Karachi and the island of Manora constituted the city of Debal.

The area has been consistently used as a port of entry by other, major, conquering armies. The Imperial Gazetteer of India shows, for example, that

Between 1019 and 1026 AD Mahmood of Ghazni invaded the area and paved the way for the supremacy of Sumra Dynasty and in 1333 the Samma tribe from Kech [Makran] settled first at Sehwan [now Jamshoro district] and afterwards at Thatta. Close under the Makli Hills stood Samui, the capital of Samma Princes originally a Hindu or Buddhist race. They converted to Islam close to 14th century AD and continued to retain their practical autonomy, in spite of a nominal allegiance to Firoz Tughlaq of Delhi and the town of Tatta [now spelled Thatta], where they generally resided became, in after years, the chief center for population and commerce for Sindh.

In 1521, Shah Beg, founder of the Arghun Dynasty completely defeated the last Samma Prince and established his own claim to the sovereignty of the Lower Indus Valley. After 34 years only, the Arghun Dynasty became extinct, since Shah Hasan the son of the founder died childless in 1554 AD. Mirza Jani Beg the last ruler of Thatta was defeated by Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great in 1592, and the District along with rest of Sindh became part of Multan Subah in the imperial organization (Vol. 15, pg. 3).

After Mirza Jani pledged allegiance to the Mughal emperor, Thatta was restored to him as his Jagir (landholding).

The Imperial Gazetteer of India further states:

The town of Karachi had little or no importance under the Mughal Empire. Its rise to notice began during the rule of Talpur Mirs in succession to Kalhora Princes, who usurped power on the fall of Mughal Empire. They were the first to recognize the importance of the harbor for commerce and in 1792 recovered Karachi from the Khan of Kalat; but soon afterwards they divided into three branches each ruling different parts of Sindh (Vol. 15, pg. 4).

Historically, Karachi was founded as “Kolachi” by Baloch and Sindhi tribes from Balochistan and Makran, who established a small fishing community in the area. According to local legends, the name is attributed to a Sindhi fisherwoman by the name of Mai Kolachi who took up residence and started a family in the area. The village that later grew out of this settlement was known as Kolachi-jo-Goth (The Village of Kolachi) in Sindhi. Descendants of the original community still live in the area on the small island of Abdullah Goth, which is located near Karachi Port. The original name Kolachi survives in the name of a well-known Karachi locality named Mai Kolachi.

By the late 1720s, the village was trading across the Arabian Sea with Muscat and the Persian Gulf region. A small fort was constructed for its protection, armed with cannons imported from Muscat. The fort had two main gateways: one facing the sea, known as Kharra Darwaaza (Brackish Gate) or Kharadar and the other facing the Lyari River known as the Meet’ha Darwaaza (Sweet Gate) or Mithadar. The location of these gates corresponds to the modern areas of Kharadar and Mithadar.

In 1795, the village became a domain of the Balochi Talpur rulers of Sindh. A small factory was opened in the village by the British in September 1799, but was closed down within a year. After sending some exploratory missions to the area, the British East India Company took over the town when HMS Wellesley anchored off Manora Island on 1 February 1839. The fort of the village surrendered on February 3, 1839. The village was later annexed to the British Indian Empire when the province of Sindh was conquered by Charles Napier in the Battle of Miani on 17 February 1843. Karachi was made the capital of Sindh in the 1840s by the British Colonial Administration. On his departure from the region in 1847, Napier is said to have remarked[3] (about Karachi): “Would that I could come again to see you in your grandeur!”

On Napier’s departure, Kolachi was added, along with the rest of Sindh, to the jurisdiction of the Bombay Presidency, a move that caused considerable resentment among the native Sindhis. The British, realizing the importance of the city as a military cantonment and as a port for exporting the produce of the Indus River basin, rapidly developed its harbor for shipping. The foundations of a City Municipal Government were laid, and infrastructure development was undertaken. New businesses started opening up and the population of the town began increasing rapidly. The arrival of the troops of the Company Bahadur (the local title for the East India Company) in 1839 laid the foundation of the military cantonment. The cantonment formed the basis of the “white” city, to which the locals were not allowed free access. Thus, Karachi was divided into two major areas by the British: the “white” town, which was modeled after English industrial parent-cities (where work and residential spaces were separated, as were residential spaces from recreational places), and the “black” town in the northwest which was enlarged to accommodate the burgeoning Indian mercantile population.

When the Indian Rebellion (called Mutiny by British historians) of 1857 broke out in South Asia, the 21st Native Infantry, then stationed in Karachi, declared allegiance to the native rebels and joined their numbers on 10 September 1857. The British were, however, able to quickly reassert control over Karachi and defeat the uprising.

In 1864, a direct telegraph connection was laid between Karachi and London, and Karachi became the first city from which the first telegraphic message was sent from India to England. In 1878, the city was connected to the rest of British India by rail. Public building projects, such as Frere Hall (1865) and the Empress Market (1890), were undertaken. In 1876, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in the city, which, by then, had become a bustling city with mosques, churches, courthouses, paved streets, and a magnificent harbor. By 1899, Karachi had become the largest wheat exporting port in the East. These developments in Karachi resulted in a large influx of economic migrants comprised of Parsis, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Marathis, Goans, Armenians, Chinese, British, Lebanese, and Gujaratis. The population of the city was about 105,000 inhabitants by the end of the 19th century, with a cosmopolitan mix of different nationalities. British colonialists embarked on a number of public works of sanitation and transportation, such as the laying of gravel paved streets, construction of proper drains, employment of street sweepers, and the development of a network of trams and horse-drawn trolleys. Colonial Administrators set up military camps, a European inhabited quarter, and organized marketplaces, of which the Empress Market is most notable.

Independence (1947)

By the time of Independence of Pakistan in 1947, Karachi had become a bustling metropolis with beautiful classical and colonial European-styled buildings lining the city’s thoroughfares. Karachi was chosen as the capital of Pakistan in 1947, and became the focus for settlement by Muslim migrants from India, who drastically expanded the city’s population and transformed its demographics and economy. In 1958, the capital of Pakistan was moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi and then in 1960, to the newly built city, Islamabad.

Karachi had a Municipal Corporation and a Karachi Divisional Council in the 1960s, which developed plans for schools, colleges, roads, municipal gardens, and parks. The Karachi Divisional Council had separate working committees for education, roads, and residential society development and planning. During the 1960s, Karachi was seen as an economic role model around the world. Many countries sought to emulate Pakistan’s economic planning strategy and one of them, South Korea, copied the city’s second “Five-Year Plan” and the World Financial Center in Seoul is designed and modeled after that in Karachi.

The 1980s and 1990s saw an influx of refugees from the Soviet war in Afghanistan into Karachi; they were followed in smaller numbers by refugees escaping from Iran. Political tensions between the Muhajir (Urdu-speaking Muslim migrants from India, having arrived around 1947) and other native groups (e.g. Sindhis, Punjabis, Pashtuns, and others), erupted, and the city was wracked with political and ethnic violence. The period from 1992 to 1994 is regarded as the bloodiest period in the history of the city, when the army commenced its Operation Clean-up against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the political party that is purported to be the political representative of the Muhajir populace of Karachi. Most of these tensions have now dissipated. Karachi continues to be an important financial and industrial center, and handles most of the overseas trade of Pakistan and the other Central Asian countries. It accounts for 20%[4] of the GDP of Pakistan, and a large proportion[5] of the country’s white collar workers. The multi-ethnic mix of the city is highlighted by the fact that there are more Pashtun residents in Karachi than in any city of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province of origin for ethnic Pashtuns[6].

Karachi is also known for the legend of Morirro Mirbahar, whose bravery has been praised and immortalized by Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai in his poetry. This legendary story has also been dramatized in a Sindhi movie Ghatoo Ghar na Ayaa.

Governmental Structure; Karachi District

At the Federal level, Karachi district is allocated a set number of representatives in both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly:

  • Number of representatives in the National Assembly: 20
  • Number of representatives in the Provincial Assembly: 41

The Karachi Local Government consists of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) which is subdivided into 6 District Municipal Corporations (DMCs). Each DMC is headed by a Chairman who, in turn, is assisted by a Deputy Chairman. The districts or zila of Karachi Local Government, according to the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 are District Central, District West, District East, District South, Malir and Korangi. Each district is further divided into Union Committees (UCs) which are also headed by Chairmen and Vice Chairmen. Each UC is further subdivided into 4 Wards. The Local Government elections directly elect the UC Chairman/ Vice Chairman panel, and the 4 Ward Members of each UC. Seats are reserved for women, non-Muslim minorities, youth members and laborers in a Union Committee all of whom are indirectly elected/ selected by the already elected Chairman/ Vice Chairman panel.

The Chairman of a UC belongs to the City Council-KMC and elects the Mayor/ Deputy Mayor candidate, while the Vice Chairman of the Union Committee elects the Chairman/ Vice Chairman of the DMC and works in the DMC office.

Figure 1.3 Kothari Parade in the “white” town, Karachi

Administrative Divisions; Karachi district

As of 2016, there are 6 Administrative Districts in Karachi. Under Local Government Ordinance 2001, the (previously) 5 districts of Karachi were merged into one City District. It was structured as a three-tier Federation, with the two lower tiers composed of 18 Towns and 178 Union Councils. In 2011, City District Government of Karachi has been de-merged into its 5 original constituent districts: Karachi East, Karachi West, Karachi Central, Karachi South and Malir. In November 2013, another district, Korangi was created from District East, after which, the number of districts in Karachi rose to 6. These Administrative Districts constitute the Karachi City District of Pakistan.

Karachi is one of 10[7] City Districts in Pakistan. A City District is a district that consists primarily of, or entirely of, a major city or large metropolitan area. While there are 117 districts in Pakistan, there are only 10 City Districts. A City District contains subdivisions called Towns and Union Councils. Karachi city district is divided into 18 Towns and 178 Union Councils as follows:

Karachi South
Lyari Town 11 Union Councils
Saddar Town 11 Union Councils
Karachi East
Jamshed Town 13 Union Councils
Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town 07 Union Councils
Karachi Central
Liaquatabad Town 11 Union Councils
North Nazimabad Town 10 Union Councils
Gulberg Town 08 Union Councils
New Karachi Town 13 Union Councils
Karachi West
Kemari Town 08 Union Councils
SITE Town 09 Union Councils
Baldia Town 08 Union Councils
Orangi Town 13 Union Councils
Malir Town 07 Union Councils
Bin Qasim Town 07 Union Councils
Gadap Town 08 Union Councils
Korangi Township
Shah Faisal Town 07 Union Councils
Korangi Town 09 Union Councils
Landhi Town 12 Union Councils

Table 1.2 Karachi Administrative Divisions

Heritage Buildings/Historical Sites; Karachi district

The following buildings in Karachi district are protected under Federal Laws of Pakistan:

  • Wazir Mansion (Birth Place of Quaid-e-Azam); Karachi district
  • Lakho Sheikh Graveyard; Karachi district
  • KhaliqDina Hall and Library; Karachi district
  • Frere Hall Karachi; Karachi district
  • Flag Staff House (Quiad-e-Azam House/ Museum); Karachi district
  • Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam; Karachi district

According to Guidelines for Sensitive & Critical Areas GoP 1999, there are 208 buildings protected under the Provincial Government acts. These are as follows:

Victoria Mansion; Jehangir Kothari Mansion; Krishna Mansion; Lotias and Partmers Building; Excelsior Hotel; Ekanic Building; Speechly Building; Service Building; Allah Rakhi Begum Building; Nusserwanjee Building; Hashim Chambers Building; Suleiman Umber Building; Victoria Furnishing Mart; Old Llaco House; Mohammad Ali Building; Fazal Manzil; Hasan Ali Building; Karim Mansion; Sir Jehangir Kothari Building; Nabi Manzil; Ragoonwala Building; Muljee Building; Rainbow House Building; Kanjee Wasti Building; Emes Building; Abu Building; Sunderji Hameji Building; Abubaker Building; Haji Younis Building; Kanji Kara Building; Salamwala Building; Gopaldas Building; Abdul Aziz Building; Haji Abu Trust Building; Saleh M. Sattar Manzil; United Bank Building; Habib Bank Building; Shirin Karimbai Jivaji Building; Khadija Bai Building; Tahirali Asgharalighatila Building; A. Moosajee Manzil; Khyber Hotel; Edulji Dinshaw Dispensary; Mandi Wala Building; Rawalpindiwala Building; Biramjee Building; Empress Market Building; Sheikh Fida Ali Building; Faiz-E-Hussaini Building; Parsi Dar-E-Mahar; Golwala Building; Ismail D. Adam Soomar Building; Goldenwala Building; Aijiwala Building; Haryanawala Building; Captain House; Dossalani Terrace; Jama Masjid Qasaban; Abdul Wahid Building; Farid Mansion; Haji Younis Building; Haque Building; Katchi Memon Masjid; Sir Raja Haroon Building; Palia House; Abdullah Haroon Trust Building; Khwaja Manzil; Lali Bai Building; Olympia Building; Medina Building; Duarte Mansion; Braganza House; Sega Building; St. Xavier’s School; Bawaja Building; Merewether Tower; Rustumji Building; Shikarpuri Cloth Market; New Cloth Market; Standard Chartered Bank; State Bank of Pakistan; Nisar Bungalows (Police Quarters); Overseas Chamber of Commerce House; Standard Insurance House; Karachi Chamber of Commerce; Lotia Chambers; Ferozepurwala Chambers; Feroze House; Rubab Chambers; Lotia Building; Kulsoom Bai Building; St. Xavier’s School Building; Hussaini Arcade; Mohammad Mansion; Mandviwala Building; Dadabhouy Center; Sheikh Electric Market; Salim Center; Mercantile Bank Building; Hafiz Chamber; Asia Building; Kamil Chambers; Sindh Provincial Cooperative Bank; Safiabai Sughrabai Building; S.M. Science College; Sindh Madrassah Mosque; Sindh Madrassah Building; Sindh Madrassah Library; Sindh Madrassah Primary School; Sindh Madrassah Housing (Hospital); Haji Haroon Waqf Building; Devdas Building; Cotton Exchange Building; and Hanifji Building.

The city is also home to some specific ancient cultural sites, some of which include:

  • Wagu Darr (earthen cavity for living of a crocodile); Karachi district: This is located at the coastal village namely Chashma Goth near A natural sweet water spring flows perennially by the side of this site. It hosts a crocodile worship ritual (also performed in Manghopir) where people offer meat to the crocodiles and bathe in hot and cold sulphuric springs for treatment of their skin diseases
  • The ruins of Rato Kot (Fort); Karachi district: These are located in the Korangi Creek. This fort is thought to have been a contemporary settlement ofDebal Port (called Bhambhore by some archeologists), conquered by Mohammad bin Qasim in 712 AD. Baked earthen balls used in mechanically-driven cannons of the 8th century, shards, glazed tiles, and other artefacts have been found scattered on the surface of the site
  • The Chowkandi graveyard and Baloch Tombs; Karachi district: These are located near Memon Goth of Malir. The Chowkandi graveyard is a protected monument of the 17th and 18th centuries AD. Both exhibit monumental structures of stone-carved graves
  • Mokhi-Matara tombs; Karachi district: These are situated on the top of Narathar Hill near Gadap and located on an ancient route originating from the ancient Debal port and connecting it to Central Asia. The folklore of Mokhi-Matara has also been sung by Sindh’s greatest poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

[1] Name used by the Greeks to refer to the area which is now the city of Karachi

[2] Henry Miers Elliot 1808-1853, best known for his work The History of India as told by its own Historians published posthumously in 8 volumes between 1867-1877 in London

[3] Daily Dawn November 21, 2004

[4] Karachi Coastline Case

[5] An exact number or percentage is not available

[6] “Karachi Population 2016”, World Population Review

[7] At the time of Partition, Pakistan had 5 City Districts. This number has increased to 10 districts, which are Karachi South, Karachi East, Malir, Korangi, Central Karachi, West Karachi, Islamabad Capital Territory, Lahore district, Peshawar district, and Quetta district.

Topography of Karachi district

Karachi district is comprised of 3 distinct features as per its physiographic characteristics:

Hilly Region[1]: The Western part of Karachi, the Manora Islands, and the Oyster Rocks all form the hilly region of the district. The Western border is skirted by the Kirthar Range, the highest point of which is about 528 m in the extreme North of Karachi. These hills are barren, with very little to no vegetation and have wide intervening plains, dry riverbeds, and water channels. The Khasa Hills (an off-shoot of the Kirthar Range) lie in the Northwest and form the border between North Nazimabad Town and Orangi Town. The hill ranges of Manghopir are located in the Northwest. They start from the Hub River Dam area, running North to South, then change direction slightly towards the West. This section is referred to as Orangi Hills and Gorakh Lakki Hills. These hills decline at Cape Monze, an area marked by projecting sea cliffs and rocky sandstone promontories, which is located near Hub River and Gadani Beach. The Cape is locally known as Ras Muari at the coast of Karachi. Another important coastal range is known as Jhill Hills. At the Eastern coast of Karachi, the topography is dominated by an eroded hilly range known as Ibrahim Hyderi Hills. The Northeastern part of the Malir River is also occupied by hilly ranges. In between the Lyari and the Malir River there are small portions of hilly ranges, all of which have different names and specific local characteristics. Some of these hills are the Mulri Hills (over which Gulistan-e-Jauhar has been built), Drigh Road Hills, Hill Park, and Gizri Hills.

Piedmont Plain and Gadap Basin: The Piedmont Plain areas lie South of the Eastern hilly areas extending up to the coastal belt. This Piedmont Plain has a smooth configuration and slopes gently Southward with an average 5% gradient.

The Gadap Basin is a large saucer-like or synclinal[2] alluvial plain in the Northeastern part of Karachi. The Western part of this basin is crossed by the Lyari River and its tributaries.

Coastal Area and Marshy Land: The marshy lands constitute the coastal belt from Gharo Creek to Hawkes Bay. The coast of Karachi is situated between Cape Monze, a high cliff projecting into the Arabian Sea and the Korangi Creek. The coastline of Karachi is about 70 km long. It is generally oriented Northwest to Southwest. On the Western side, it is bounded by the Hub River and on the East by the Mangrove swamps and creeks of the Port Qasim area. Famous recreational beaches include Hawkes Bay, Paradise Point, Sandspit, and Clifton. China Creek and Korangi Creek provide excellent calm water channels for rowing and other water activities. At a short distance from the shoreline are small islands including Shamsh Pir, Baba Bhit, Bunker, Salehabad, and Manora.

The Karachi Harbor is a sheltered bay to the Southwest of the city, protected from storms by the Sandspit Beach, Manora Island, and the Oyster Rocks. The Arabian Sea beach lines the southern coastline of Karachi. Dense Mangroves and creeks of the Indus Delta can be found towards the southeastern side of the city. Towards the West and the North is Cape Monze.

Rivers, Streams, and LakesForestsSoilsClimate – Seismic Activity

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes; Karachi district

Karachi is situated in the South of Sindh, on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Two rivers pass through the city:

  • River Malir, which flows from the East towards the South and center. It is perennial in its upper reaches and becomes seasonal on reaching the plains. The main tributaries of Malir River are the Mol and the Khadeji. Other smaller tributaries[3] are Thaddo, Langheji, Jarando, Sukhan, and Bazar nadis. Malir River discharges into the Gizri Creek and from there to the Arabian Sea
  • River Lyari originates from the Manghopir Hills and flows from North to the Southwest. Lyari River terminates in the marshy flats West of Karachi Harbor. Mokhi Nala[4] originating from Taiser hills, Orangi Nala originating from Orangi Hills and Gujro Nala originating from Manghopir Hills are the main tributaries of Lyari River

The surface waters of Karachi[5] are also drained by the Budnai Nadi, which originates from the ridges of Orangi Hills. It receives waters from a number of small but powerful streams originating from ridges of both Orangi Hills and Jhill Hills in Mochko and around Sona Pass. The total length of Budnai stream is about 46 km, and its catchment area is 96 km2.

There is one lake in Karachi, the Hub Dam Reservoir, which supplies water to the city of Karachi.

Forests; Karachi district

Sindh is home to coastal or Mangrove forests of Indus Delta; these forests are present in the districts of Thatta and Karachi. The area around Karachi Harbor includes several Mangrove forests. To the East of the port lies Chinna Creek, which covers an area of 6 km2 and is dotted with Mangrove islands. To the Southwest of the port is another much larger Mangrove forest in the bay formed by several islands and Manora breakwater; the River Lyari flows into this bay, bringing waste from upstream suburbs. These Mangroves support the growth of teemur (Avicennia marina), kumri (Rhizophora mucronata), chaunr (Aegiceras corniculatum) and kiriri (Ceriopstagal).

SUPARCO (Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission), in 2009, estimated that the Mangroves along the Karachi Harbor are spread over 1,160 HA and over an area of 106,480 HA in the Indus Deltaic region.

Gutter Baghicha is another important forest and planned garden area in Lyari Town Karachi. Gutter Baghicha is designated as a Public Amenity Space. It used to be 1,017 acres[6], in the area known as Trans-Lyari before Independence. In the 1969 map of Karachi, Gutter Baghicha is shown as a Municipal Garden spread over an area of 1,016.76 acres. Technically, it is still all government land, meant for public recreation; however, in 1993, 200 acres within Gutter Baghicha were illegally leased to the KMC Officers’ Cooperative Housing Society by City District Government of Karachi (CDGK). Since then, the lands have continued to be awarded illegal leases for various purposes, including industrial uses. Some of it is being used as a sewage dumping ground. Most of the illegal construction has been stopped by a Stay-Order of the High Court and the land is now considered as “disputed”.

Soils; Karachi district

The soils between the hills surrounding Karachi are alluvial in nature and have been deposited by the Hub, Lyari and Malir Rivers as well as by the seasonal flow of water creating very flat sloping plains and low lying areas. The soil of the coastal region is comprised of river-borne clay, silt, and sometimes loam. The soil is rich in salts (sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, and nitrates). The muddy soil (clay) is poor in other mineral substances.

Climate; Karachi district

As the city is located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, it tends to have a moderate climate due to marine effects. The city has two main seasons: summer and winter. The spring and autumn seasons are very short, and are barely noticeable since there is no dramatic change in temperatures. The summer season starts in March and ends in November. The summers are scorching in the city due to high humidity levels. May and June are the hottest months of the year, when temperatures often reach the 43 °C mark. Winters are mild and dry. They start in December and last till February, with January being the coldest month when temperatures go down to as low as 5 °C.

The main factors[7] that alter the weather in Karachi city include:

  • Western Disturbances, which mostly occur during the winter months and cause drizzle and light showers. Temperature also decreases due to this weather pattern
  • Tropical Storms, which usually form during the summer months, from late April till June and then from late September till November
  • Southwest Monsoon, which occurs in summer from the month of July till September. Monsoon rains bring much awaited relief from the scorching summer heat. These Monsoon rains are quite heavy by nature and can cause significant flooding in the city
  • Continental air, which prevails through most of the year, due to which there is little to no precipitation in the metropolis

Karachi receives the tail-end of the Monsoon rains. Average annual rainfall in Karachi is about 200 mm, most of which occurs during the months of July and August.

Karachi receives some rains during the winter months also. Most of the winter rains are during the months of January and February, and average about 11 mm.

Seismic Activity/Seismicity; Karachi

Karachi is located near the convergence of the Eurasian, Arabian, and Indian tectonic plates, making it an area particularly prone to seismic disturbances. Past record shows that over 50 earthquakes of magnitude 8 and above have been reported in around 75 years along the coastline of Pakistan. Of these, 4 were accompanied by tsunamis, in the years 1919, 1943, 1945, and 1956.

Karachi district belongs to Zone 2B of the Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan, which means there could be significant damage due to a high magnitude earthquake[8].

[1] Names of the hills have been included in Sindh University Research Journal (Science Series): Surface Water Drainage and Flooding in Karachi City.

[2] Syncline is a geographical term for a U shaped fold, so synclinal alluvium plain would be a U shaped deposit of sediments by a river

[3] Names of these tributaries have been drawn from Surface Water Drainage and Flooding in Karachi City by S. Akhtar and M.R. Dhanani, Department of Geography, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan

[4] Surface Water Drainage

[5] Surface Water Drainage

[6] From: Daily Dawn November 04, 2004

[7] Pakistan Weather Portal.

[8] Please refer to Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan included in Chapter on Pakistan

Population of Karachi

Karachi has now been divided into 6 districts: Karachi Central, Karachi East, Karachi South, Karachi West, Korangi and Malir. The population statistics based on this division, as per 2017 census, are as follows:

Division/ District



Population Male % Female % Urban % Growth Rate %
Karachi Division 3,527 16,051,521 53.8 46.2 94.8 2.6
Karachi East 139 2,457,019 52.6 47.4 100
Karachi West 929 3,914,757 52.8 47.2 92.8
Karachi South 122 1,791,751 52.7 47.3 100
Karachi Central 69 2,971,626 52.0 48.0 100
Malir 2,268 2,008,901 53.5 46.5 57.3

Table 1.3 Karachi Population Statistics

The city’s population is growing at about 5% per year (mainly as a result of rural-urban internal migration), including an estimated 45,000[1] migrant workers coming to the city every month from different parts of Pakistan.

Religions; Karachi

Average of all 5 Karachi districts[2] is shown in the following table:

Muslims 96.3%
Christian 2.4%
Hindus 1.0%
Ahmadis 0.2%
Scheduled castes Negligible%
Other[3] 0.10%

Table 1.4 Karachi Religions

Languages; Karachi[4]

Urdu 43.1%
Punjabi 14.5%
Pashto 12.7%
Sindhi 9.6%
Balochi 5.2%
Seraiki 2.13%
Other[5] 12.8%

Table 1.5 Karachi Languages

[1] Figures taken from an article in Express Tribune: “Demography and Migrations: Curious Case of Karachi’s Ghost Population” by Mahim Maher Published March 29, 2014

[2] 1998 Census , 2017 Census data has not been made public yet.

[3] Other religious groups include Parsis, Sikhs, Baha’i, Jews, and Buddhists

[4] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[5] These include Bengali, Dari, Arabic, Brahui, Burushaski, Gujarati, Hindko, Khowar, Makrani, Marathi, Jatki, Memoni, Persian, and Sinhalese. Numerous other languages are spoken by small communities within the city.

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity; Karachi

AgricultureLand UseLivestock – IrrigationMinerals and MiningIndustry – Handicrafts

Karachi is the commercial hub[1] and the gateway of Pakistan. It accounts for:

  • 95% of Pakistan’s foreign trade
  • 30% of Pakistan’s industrial production
  • 40% of national employment in large-scale manufacturing
  • 46.8% of direct[2] taxes, 33.7% of Federal excise tax[3] and 23.4% of domestic sales[4] tax[5]
  • more than 4,500 industrial units in the formal[6] industrial sectors, with many of these being export-oriented
  • the only Deep Sea Port of Pakistan to trade with South Asia
  • 90% of the head offices of Pakistan’s banks, financial institutions, and multi-national companies, which are located in Karachi
  • the largest Stock Exchange of Pakistan (the Karachi Stock Exchange)
  • a vibrant cottage industry, which is a rapidly flourishing Free Zone with an annual growth rate of nearly 6.5%
  • the biggest fishery hub in Pakistan through the Korangi Fish Harbor and Karachi Fish Harbor
  • the hub of electronic and print media centers, with head offices of most of the TV channels including Jaag Pakistan, Dawn News, TV One, Indus Television Network, ARY Digital, Aaj TV, Kawish Television Network (KTN) NEWS, Kashish TV, and Geo TV located in Karachi

In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan[7]. In 2010, research by the global Human Resources Company, Mercer, concluded that Karachi is the most inexpensive city in the world[8].

According to the 1998 census, major economic activities[9] of the district are (2017 Census Results are not available):

  • Construction (19.1%)
  • Activities not adequately defined (27.2%)
  • Community, Social & Personal Services (20.8%)
  • Manufacturing (25.2%)
  • Wholesale, Retail, Hotel/Restaurant (19.1%)

[1] Official Web Portal of Karachi Municipal Corporation. Accessed Nov 2014.

[2] Direct taxes are those collected from the Income Tax, Corporate Tax, Property Tax, Inheritance Tax, Gift Tax, and Wealth Tax.

[3] Federal Excise Tax is paid on goods produced or manufactured in Pakistan, goods imported into Pakistan, and Services Rendered.

[4] Sales Tax is the tax collected on consumer goods purchased by customers.

[5] Federal Board of Revenue’s 2006-2007 year book

[6] The report by International labor organization shows that Pakistan has a large informal industrial sector where the workers have limited access to labor welfare services. The Labour Force Survey 2008-09 states that the informal sector accounts for more than 73.3% of the employment in main jobs outside agriculture, with more jobs in rural than in urban areas.

[7] Dawn Group of Newspapers  “World Bank Report: Karachi Termed Most Business-Friendly” retrieved Nov. 2014

[8] Cost of Living Rankings by Mercer 2014

[9] All percentages are averages

Land Use; Karachi

The following table shows the land utilization statistics of Karachi as per the Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18:

Land Use Area Land Use Area
Geographical Area 353,000 HA Reported Area 353,000 HA
Cultivated Area 58,000 HA Current Fallows 54,000 HA
Net Area Sown 4,000 HA Uncultivated Area 295,000 HA
Forest Area 112,000 HA

Table 1.6 Karachi Land Use Statistics

Irrigation Network; Karachi

Karachi gets its water supply from canals drawn from Hub Dam. Most of this water is for domestic and industrial use. Initially, water for the irrigation of Malir and Gadap agricultural lands was obtained from Malir River and the Thaddo Dam Reservoir. The Malir River only flows during the rainy season and carries sand which is deposited on the river bed; this sandy bed absorbs most of the water, which is then stored underground and used for irrigation purposes through open wells and small water canals. Thaddo Dam is a small dam constructed to collect rain water, supplying irrigation water for agriculture in Gadap. The following table shows the mode of irrigation and area irrigated by the mode according to the Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18

Mode of Irrigation Area Mode of Irrigation Area
Total Irrigated Area 2,717 HA Canal Irrigated 2,025 HA
Well Irrigated 0 HA Tube Well Irrigated 692 HA
Un-Irrigated Area 84 HA

Table 1.13 Karachi Irrigation Statistics

Agriculture; Karachi

Karachi district belongs to the Western Dry Mountains and Western Dry Plateau Agro-Ecological Zones of Pakistan. Agricultural activity has been made possible in Malir with irrigation through tube wells.

Major crops grown in the district include wheat, jowar, maize, sesanum, moong, and maash.

Vegetables produced in the district include onion, peas, okra, tinda, brinjal, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, luffa, cucumber, long melon, purslane, field vetch, turnip, carrot, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, radish, garden peas, lettuce, chilies, spearmint, garlic, and coriander.

Fruits grown in the district include banana, coconut, chiko, dates, guava, grapes, jaamun, mango, watermelon, musk melon, papaya, phalsa, citrus, and ber.

Figure 1.4 Mangrove Forests

Figure 1.5 Gutter Bagicha, Karachi

Livestock Breeding; Karachi

The following table shows the livestock statistics of Karachi city district as per the Livestock Census 2006 as detailed in Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18

Cattle 271,000 Heads Buffaloes 414,000 Heads
Sheep 113,000 Heads Goats 500,000 Heads
Camels 6,000 Heads Horses 3,000 Heads
Asses 20,000 Heads Mules 2,000 Heads

Table 1.7 Karachi Livestock Statistics

Red Sindhi cow, kundi buffaloes, chappar or kohistani or jabli breed of goats, lehri goat, Makrani camels, and kharai camels are indigenous breeds of livestock in Karachi.

Poultry Farms; Karachi

There are 328 Government-owned poultry farms in and around Karachi (Table 17, Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock).

Fishing; Karachi

Karachi started as a fishing village by a woman called Kolachi, who settled on the coast (as popular legend would have it) and raised a family. The Mai Kolachi village, named after its pioneer, continues to thrive in the district, with people of the village still engaged in fishing. Fishing, thus, remains a very important economic activity for the people of Karachi.

There are 2 fish harbors in Karachi:

  • the Karachi Fish Harbor
  • the Korangi Fish Harbor

Karachi Fish Harbor is in West Karachi near the main port. It is relatively well-equipped with facilities, with 2 large auction halls, a smaller, upgraded, auction hall mainly for export fish, a landing area for fish intended for fishmeal, one 40 ton flake ice machine (most ice used is block ice and brought in by truck from outside the harbor area), an unloading wharf next to the market hall as well as export processing factories. Boatbuilding facilities and a slipway are on the creek side of the harbor. Karachi Fish Harbor handles about 90% of the fish and seafood catch in Pakistan and 95% of fish and seafood exports from Pakistan.

The Korangi Fish Harbor was developed to ease the pressure on Karachi Fish Harbor, but has not been utilized to its full potential. It currently functions as a docking area for trawlers and small vessels.

The Fishing Industry of Karachi provides employment to about 300,000 fishermen directly. In addition, another 400,000 people are employed in ancillary industries. It is also a major source of export earnings.

Figure 1.6 Fishing Boats on Karachi Fish Harbor

Bee Keeping/Api Culture; Karachi

Honey bee keeping was introduced in Pakistan in the 1980s, when IUCN and UNDP introduced apiculture in the coastal villages of Sindh, especially in and near the Mangrove forests, the trees of which attract honey bees. Thus, apiculture was introduced as an income generating activity, mainly to provide an alternative source of income for the villagers who rely on fishing as their main source of income. With the introduction of apiculture to the region, villagers’ dependence on fishing has been reduced, and the environmental degradation of the Mangrove ecosystem has been slowed considerably. A study by the Forest Department[1] concluded that the existing forests can support as many as 300,000 bee colonies during the May-June flowering season.

Minerals and Mining; Karachi

Sea salt is the only mineral found in Karachi district. Even though there are no minerals found in Karachi, the head offices of most of the companies engaged in mining activities are located in Karachi, making mining a key industry contributing to the district’s overall economic infrastructure.

Industry and Manufacture; Karachi

Karachi is Pakistan’s epicenter of banking, industry, and trade. The city is home to Pakistan’s largest corporations that control industries like textiles, shipping, the automotive industry, entertainment, the arts, fashion, advertising, publishing, software development, and medical research. 60% of all of the manufacturing industries of Pakistan are located in Karachi. The Port of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim are among the region’s largest and busiest ports.

The major industries of Karachi are textiles, pharmaceuticals, steel, and automobiles. Karachi also has a flourishing “Free Zone[1]” with an annual growth rate of nearly 6.5%. An Expo Center has been set up in Karachi which hosts many regional and international exhibitions, with exhibitors showcasing products made in Pakistan, promoting trade and commerce at the local, national, and international levels. Karachi city is also home to international automobile manufacturing companies like Toyota and Suzuki Motor Company, as well as local manufacturers like Millat Tractors and Adam Motor Company. Daihatsu, and HinoPak Buses and Trucks also have manufacturing plants located in Karachi.

The Manghopir SITE, in Karachi district, is the biggest industrial area[2] of Pakistan with more than 4,000 factories. Newer Industrial Zones include Landhi, Korangi, FB Area, North Karachi, and Port Qasim.

The largest industry of Karachi (in terms of production capacity) is the Pakistan Steel Mill located in Bin Qasim town. Other important industries are Abbot Pakistan, Al-Karam Textile Mills, and Gul Ahmad Textile Mills. Factories manufacturing ceramic crockery are also important to Karachi’s economy. There are a total of 4 Oil Refineries in Pakistan, 2 of which are located in Karachi. Karachi Refinery (located in Korangi) is a petroleum refinery that uses hydro-skimming to produce high speed diesel, furnace oil, motor spirit, Naphtha, kerosene, jet fuels and liquefied petroleum gas. Naphtha produced at the refinery is exported, while all the other products are sold locally. Another refinery is Indus Refinery located in Port Qasim.

In addition to oil refineries, Karachi district produces nuclear power, with 2 nuclear power plants in the district. They are collectively referred to as the Karachi Nuclear Power Complex (which consists of Karachi Nuclear Power Plant, KANUPP, and Control & Instrumentation Analysis Lab, CIAL) which is located near Paradise Point.

Karachi is home to a strong ship building industry, controlled by Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW), which is the only ship building company in Pakistan. The first indigenously made Small Tanker Cum Utility Service Ship was launched recently[3] by this company. The KS&EW manufactures and repairs submarines, small vessels including oil carriers, barges, and tug boats. It also manufactures boats for Pakistan Navy, including Larkana Class Patrol Boat, which was the first of its kind made solely in Pakistan. Karachi Shipyard also possesses dry docks for repairing ships.

Since Karachi is a coastal district, and since it has the only industrialized port in Pakistan, the shipping port is a robust contributor to the district’s economy. The Karachi Port handles a large amount of cargo containers daily, handling 26 million tons of cargo annually[4] which includes 14 million tons of liquid and 12 million tons of dry cargo and 650,000 TEUs[5].  Presently, about 1,600 ships visit Karachi Port annually[6]. The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) is responsible for overseeing all operations at Karachi Port.

In addition to these industries, the construction industry of Karachi is a booming industry and employs a large number of both skilled and unskilled persons.

Following table gives the Industry and number of units in Karachi as per the Census of Manufacturing Industry 2005-06 (Latest available)

Industry # of Units Industry # of Units
Food Products & Beverages 173 Manufacturing of Textile 325
Wearing Apparel 159 Leather Products 28
Paper & Paper Products 80 Chemical & Chemical Products 236
Rubber & Plastic Products 52 Other Non-Metallic Products 23
Metal Products 58 All Types of Machinery 47
Motor Vehicles & Trailers & Transport equipment 79 Coke & Petroleum 11
Wood & Wood Products and Furniture 26

Handicrafts; Karachi

Karachi is home to a large number of artisans and people engaged in small, mostly home-based, enterprises. Artisans of various trades arrived in Karachi not just from India at the time of Partition, but also from different parts of Pakistan, making Karachi the hub of a flourishing, and diverse, handicraft industry. Thus, cottage industry flourishes in Karachi and there are specific areas and lands ear-marked for cottage industry, with the biggest concentration of this industry in Baldia town.

Karachi city is supplied with all kinds of raw material, including granite, marble, yarn, all kinds of wood, and chips (for chipboards), among others. The artisans of Karachi are experts at converting industrial wastes like small pieces of marble, granite, wood, and yarn into household items like small decoration pieces, wooden items like small boxes for jewelry and other decorative items, as well as large pieces of furniture like sofas and beds. Anything that can be recycled is converted into something useful and marketable. Food cans, for example, are cut and made into small boxes nailed onto a wooden slab for storing spices. Or, newspapers are used to make shopping bags and sold to shop owners. In other words, products made from recycled material are in high demand in the Karachi consumer market, and this trade sustains the cottage industry in the district.

Other major handicrafts produced in Karachi are decorative items made with marble, wood, leather goods, ceramics, and other products. Chinioti[7] furniture, for example, is very popular, not only in Pakistan but across the world. This furniture is made of wood with beautiful carvings. Furniture made with cane wood and wrought iron is also very popular, as well as furniture made with chip wood is very popular. Most items made with stainless steel like cutlery are also handmade in Karachi. Pakistan is among the largest exporters of leather garments, especially jackets, gloves, caps, wallets, key chains, ladies’ purses, and leather belts. Seashells found on Karachi beaches are used for making a number of items and these are a major handicraft unique to the district.

Figure 1.7 Leather Goods

Figure 1.8 Handmade Sea Shell Goods


Economic Infrastructure; Karachi

Water SupplyRoads and TransportRailwayAirwaysPortsMediaTelecommunicationsPost Offices/ Courier ServicesBanking/ Financial InstitutionsEnergy ResourcesEducationHealthPolicing

Karachi, as the hub of all industries and business centers of Pakistan, has a well-developed economic infrastructure. It is well connected to other parts of Pakistan and internationally through road networks, railway, and by air. Karachi has 2 well-developed sea ports that, at present, only handle cargo ships.

Karachi has its own electric supply company, the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) (now K-Electric). Not only does this company look after the supply and transmission of electricity, it is also responsible for generating the electricity that it then supplies to the District.

Water Supply; Karachi

Karachi’s water supply is unique because Karachi is one of only 5 metropoles of the world that import water from faraway places. The cities importing water are Los Angeles, Boston (both in USA), Mumbai (India), Karachi (Pakistan) and Hong Kong. Karachi gets its water supply from 2 sources: the Hub Dam Reservoir and the Kinjhar Lake. The Hub Dam Reservoir is situated 52 km from Karachi on Motorway M-10, and Kinjhar Lake is located 137 km from Karachi near Thatta. This supply is handled through a bulk conveyance system involving a complex network of canals, conduits, siphons, multi-stage pumping and filtration. The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KW&SB) is responsible for the City District’s water supply, sanitation, and storm water drainage.

Road Statistics; Karachi

The intra-city road network has a radial pattern, consisting of a series of arterial roads, a few circumferential roads, with unpaved links in some areas, and a large number of local and collector roads. In terms of connectivity, the network is deficient in secondary roads that should provide feeder service to major thoroughfares. The weakness has arisen from piece-meal development of infrastructure, focused more on the development of residential schemes than on planned growth of a complete infrastructure. The narrow focus on housing development, thus, has resulted in pockets of residential neighborhoods without access to basic amenities like proper drainage or road access. In the 2000s, substantial improvements to the road network have been made through the construction of flyovers, and underpasses that connect major parts of the city more efficiently, as well as a remodeling of intersections and road rehabilitation has been undertaken, resulting in significant improvements in traffic flow through the city. To account for the heavy traffic to, and from, the Karachi Port, 2 logistic by-passes have also been constructed.

As per the Road List issued by the City District Government Karachi in 2009 (Latest available), Karachi has the following types of roads:

Provincial Highways 89.4 km
Access Roads 121.3 km
Secondary Roads 250.2 km

Table 1.8 Karachi Types of Roads

The Karachi Master Plan 2020, prepared by Engineering Consultants International Ltd., for City District Government in 2007, provides a summary of the existing road network in the city as follows:

Expressways 77.2 km
Principal Arterials 265.9 km
Minor Arterials 169.1 km
Collector Streets 234.3 km
Local Streets 9,197.8 km

Table 1.9 Karachi Road Network

The existing road network in Karachi city district is connected with the rest of the country by the Super Highway (M-9), National Highway (N-5) and RCD Highway (National Highway N-25).

The main arterials of the city that begin at Mereweather Tower in the vicinity of the port, and run through the center of the city in a general East-West direction are:

  • The Nishtar Road (formerly Lawrence Road)
  • M.A. Jinnah road (Formerly Bunder Road)
  • Shara-e-Liaquat Road (formerly Frere Road)
  • I. I. Chundrigarh Road (Formerly McLeod Road)

Several roads, such as Napier Road, Dr. Zia-ud-din Ahmed Road (Kutchery Road), and Garden Road, cut perpendicularly across these arteries from North to South.

According to the Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18, total Black Topped Roads in the district are 321 km of roads maintained by the Highway Department.

Some of the important road links in Karachi district are:

  • Main Shahrah-e-Faisal connected with National Highway N-5
  • M.A. Jinnah Road connected with Super Highway through S.M. Taufique Road and Shahrah-e-Pakistan
  • M.A. Jinnah Road connected to Hub Chowki via Mauripur road and Hub River Road
  • Manghopir Road
  • Road from Super Highway to Gadap
  • Road from Super Highway to Darsano Channo
  • Main University Road
  • Korangi Road connecting Industrial area to Defence
  • Mauripur Road connecting Hawkes Bay, Paradise Point, and Manora

Karachi Mass Transit Plan

A Karachi Transport Study was launched in 1987 and concluded in 1991. The study recommended the construction of an 87.4 km network of transit ways in the major traffic corridors of Karachi and its suburbs for exclusive use of mass transit vehicles. These transit ways were to be designed and built as busways that could eventually be converted to a Light Rail Transit Ways network. The transit way network proposal was translated into a Mass Transit Master Plan comprising of 6 priority corridors. However, this is yet to be implemented.

Due to the recent economic and population growth, and also due to land development in suburban areas, the city has expanded both vertically and horizontally. This has resulted in motor-vehicle traffic increase and heavy traffic congestion due to a lack of a mass transit system. As an immediate measure to minimize traffic congestion, CDGK initiated road improvement projects including the construction of flyovers/ underpasses and road widening programs. Thus, a number of flyovers have been constructed at major intersections in the city, helping ease some of the traffic congestion.

The Karachi Strategic Development Plan 2020 (KSDP 2020), approved by CDGK in 2007, proposed a Light Rail Transit (LRT) and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to improve Karachi’s transport system.

This proposed master plan network consists of

  • Karachi Circular Railway (KCR)
  • Two Mass Rapid Transits (MRTs) named as Blue Line and Brown Line
  • 6 BRTs along major corridors

The construction work started on the 6 BRTs in 2015.

Railway; Karachi 

The Karachi city district had a circular railway (local train network to connect different parts of the city) which was discontinued a few years after Partition and efforts are currently underway to revive it. There are at least 4 major railway stations: the City Railway Station, the Cantonment Railway Station, Malir Railway Station and the Drigh Road Railway Station that serviced the circular railway when it was operational, and the structures of which continue to be a part of the cityscape. Other stations include Karachi Bunder and Siding Railway Station, KPT Halt Railway Station, and Karachi University Railway Station. These stations are all part of the pre-existing KCR system. This system began operations in 1964, covering the areas from Drigh Road to Wazir Mansion. In 1970, this railway was extended to Karachi city. During the 1970s and the 80s, KCR operated 24 trains, and the main line operated 80 trains per day, providing transportation to more than 6 million passengers per year. But due to negligence and non-maintenance, the infrastructure dwindled, and the operations came to a complete halt in December 1999. Since then, the plans for the revival of the KCR have been in the pipeline. It is now a part of the Karachi Strategic Development Plan (KSDP) 2030. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be funding the project.

In addition to the KCR network, the city is connected to other parts of Pakistan through a network of railway lines[1].

Airways; Karachi

Karachi’s airport, Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, is the biggest and busiest airport of Pakistan. Karachi airport is named after the founder of Pakistan[2], Muhammad Ali Jinnah popularly known as Quaid-e-Azam. It consists of 4 terminals: Terminals I, II, and III, and the Jinnah Terminal. The airport has a long history. In 1924, an aerodrome was built on the area currently used for the airport, making Karachi the main airport of entry into British India. In 1925, the first international route, Karachi-Cairo, was established, and commercial flights originating from Karachi were started in 1929. During World War II, Karachi Airport (Terminal I) was a major trans-shipment base for US Forces units, with extensive facilities for Air Technical Service Command to receive, assemble, and test the aircrafts prior to being flown to their combat units.

After Independence, the site was officially designated as Karachi’s airport, and in 1955, PIA (Pakistan International Airline) launched its first international flight to London-Heathrow through Cairo airport.

The new and modern Jinnah Terminal Complex was completed in 1992. It has the capacity to handle more than 12 million passengers annually. Up to 45 airlines operate regular flights to/ from the airport. According to the statistics provided by the Civil Aviation Authority Pakistan, Karachi airport handled 6,196,903 passengers, 187,171 metric tons of cargo and 13,216 metric tons of mail for both domestic and international routes.

The airport connects Karachi with 69 cities worldwide (including domestic destinations) by handling both passenger and cargo flights.

Ports; Karachi

Karachi has 2 ports: the Kemari Port and the Bin Qasim Port. These 2 ports handle more than 90% of Pakistan’s International Sea Trade. At present, there are no facilities to handle passenger ships and only cargo ships come to these ports. The Kemari Port or the Port of Karachi is one of the largest and busiest Deep Sea Ports of Asia. The KPT administers the affairs of the port and is entrusted with the development and maintenance of the harbor.

Figure 1.12 Karachi Port in 1906


Figure 1.13 Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Administrative Building

Media; Karachi


The first radio station was built in Karachi in 1948. Karachi Station is one of the main broadcasting houses of the country. There is one State-owned AM and one FM (FM 101) Radio station in the district. In addition, there are a number of privately owned FM Radio channels in the district, like Josh FM 99, Apna Karachi 107, FM 90.6, and Karachi University Campus Radio Station.


Karachi has the second largest television broadcasting station of the State-owned Pakistan Television Station. Many of Pakistan’s independent television and radio channels are based in Karachi, including Dawn News, Business Plus, Geo TV, CNBC Pakistan, Hum TV, TV ONE, Aaj TV, ARY Digital, Express News, Indus Television Network, KTN, Good News TV, and Sindh TV as well as the local channel, Metro One.

Pakistan’s premier news television networks are based in Karachi, including News One, GEO News, ARY One World, and Aaj News. AAG TV and MTV Pakistan are the main music television channels, and Business Plus, and CNBC Pakistan are the main business television channels based in the city. The Punjabi language channel, Apna TV, is also based in Karachi.

Print and Other Media

The bulk of Pakistan’s periodical publishing industry is centered in Karachi, including magazines such as Spider[3], The Herald[4], Humsay[5], The Cricketer[6], Moorad Shipping News[7], and The Internet[8].

Major advertising companies including Interflow Communications, and Orient McCann Erickson have their head offices in Karachi.

Telecommunications; Karachi

Pakistan’s telecommunications industry is one of the fastest growing mobile telecom markets in Asia. Telecommunications have become a significant part of Karachi’s economy. Call Centers for foreign companies have been ear-marked as a significant area of growth, with the government making efforts to reduce taxes by as much as 80% in order to gain foreign investments in the IT sector.

Post Offices/ Courier Services; Karachi

Statistics on the number of government post offices in Karachi are not available, but in general, the local needs of the population are met adequately by Pakistan Post, with the slack being picked up by privately owned, and international, courier companies. A large number of these courier services operate in Karachi, some of which are TCS, Leopards, PDHS, OCS, Gerry’s International, FedEx Express, DHL Pakistan Ltd., and SpeedEx Courier.

Banking/ Financial Institutions; Karachi

Karachi is the hub of all banking and financial services. Nearly all the national and international banks have their head offices in Karachi with branches all over the city. Karachi Stock Exchange is the biggest stock exchange of the country.

According to List of reporting Bank Branches issued by State Bank of Pakistan for the year 2019 there were a total of 1524 branches of all conventional Banks and 628 branches of Islamic Banks operating in the District.

Energy Resources; Karachi


KE (formerly KESC) is responsible for providing electricity to the citizens of Karachi. This company generates its own electricity. The KE fleet has a total of 3,084 MWs[9] of installed capacity to cater to the city load requirement. The main generation units generating and supplying electricity to the city are: Bin Qasim Power Station, Korangi Thermal Power Station, SITE Gas Turbines and Korangi Gas Turbines, and a new power plant at Korangi (this is a Combined Cycle Power Plant).

The transmission/distribution infrastructure managed and maintained by KE includes[10]:

11 KV Feeders 1,729 Nos.
Grid Stations 64 Nos
Pole Mounted Transformers  & Distribution Transformers 27,388 Nos
Distribution centers 30 Nos

Table 1.11 Karachi KE Infrastructure

The generation capacity of KE[11] is as follows:

Combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) Korangi 247 MW
GEJB Korangi and SITE 200 MW
Bin Qasim Power Station-1 50 MW
Bin Qasim Power Station-2 560 MW
IPPs Connected to KE 366 MW
SPPs, CPPs, N-CPPS Connected to KE 87 MW
Renewable Energy 200 MW
Total 3,084 MW

Table 1.12 Karachi KESC Electricity Generating Capacity


The first ever natural gas field for the region was discovered at Sui, Balochistan, Pakistan, in 1952, and commercial drilling for the resource started in 1955. That same year, a 16” diameter and 558 km long gas transmission pipeline was laid to transport gas from Sui to Karachi. The Sui Gas Transmission Company was formed in 1954, which was responsible for laying the pipeline and maintaining it. This company was merged with Karachi Gas Company Ltd. and Indus Gas Company Ltd. to form the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) in 1984. Currently, SSGC looks after the transmission and supply of natural gas to Karachi.

Educational Institutions; Karachi

The city is home to major institutions of higher education in South Asia and the wider Islamic world. According to the Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15, the literacy rate of Karachi is 82% with 84% urban and 53% rural population considered to be literate. The following table shows the number of Government-owned educational institutions in the Karachi city district as per Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18:

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 1,687/270 Middle Schools 247/128
High Schools 323/302 Higher Secondary Schools 02/04
Colleges 64/52 Post Graduate Colleges -/04
Technical Schools 18/05 Commercial Training Colleges 05/-
Vocational Institutes 07/88 Public Sector Universities 14[1]
Public Sector Medical Schools 3 Public Sector Engineering Universities 04

Table 1.14 Karachi Educational Institutes

In addition to these, there are 33 privately owned universities offering degree courses in all types of disciplines, 138 private colleges affiliated with the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi, 20 BA/ B ED/ M ED degree-awarding colleges, 16 private Medical Teaching Universities/Hospitals, 6 Medical and Dental degree-awarding colleges, 8 Engineering schools, 14 MBA/ BBA/ MCS degree-awarding institutes and 1 PGD in Meteorology College in Karachi.

There are innumerable private elementary and secondary schools, which impart education not only in the Pakistani system of matriculation but in Oxford/ Cambridge systems of ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels by awarding Cambridge/ Oxford Certificates. There are a large number of Montessori Schools as well, which enroll preschoolers as young as 18 months old.

Karachi’s gross enrollment (in the primary level) ratio of 111% in the urban areas is the highest in Sindh[2].

Figure 1.14 Karachi University BDS Department


Figure 1.15 Karachi Institute of Business Administration (IBA)

Healthcare Facilities; Karachi

Major institutes providing healthcare services to Karachi residents include institutions like the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Civil Hospital, PNS Rahat, PNS Shifa, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Aga Khan University Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, Ziauddin Hospital, and Lady Dufferin Hospital.

Medical schools include the Dow Medical College, Aga Khan University, Sindh Medical College, Baqai Medical University and Hospital, Jinnah Medical & Dental College, Hamdard College of Medicine & Dentistry, Anklesaria Hospital and Ziauddin Medical University. Karachi is a center of research in biomedicine.

The following table shows the Government Health Care Institutions in Karachi district as per Health Profile Sindh District 2016-17 (Latest available):

Institution No./Beds Institution No./Beds
Teaching Hospitals (Public) -/3,311 Specialized Hospitals (Public) 04/800
Government Hospitals 20/1,881 Dispensaries (Public) 241/11
Rural Health Centers 06/94 Basic Health Units 37/76
T B Clinics 20/- Mother Child Health Centers 44/-
Private Hospitals 141/8,358 Private TB Clinics 03/-
Private Dispensaries 402/256 Private MCHC 41/26

Table 1.15 Karachi Health Institutes

In addition, there are Leprosy clinics, Maternity homes, Trauma Emergency Centers, Homeo Dispensaries, Unani Shifa Khanas, Urban Health Centers, and Urban Health Units.

Figure 1.16 Kidney Center, Karachi

Policing; Karachi

In order to efficiently manage the law and order situation of Karachi, Karachi city district has been divided into 3 zones: the West Zone, East Zone, and the South Zone. The West Zone comprises of SITE, North Nazimabad, New Karachi, Gulberg, Liaquatabad, Baldia, and Orangi towns. The East Zone consists of Gulshan, Shah Faisal, Landhi, Bin Qasim, Gadap, and Korangi towns. The South Zone includes Kemari, Saddar, Jamshed town, Clifton, and Lyari.

The City District Police is headed by the Capital City Police Officer. Each zone is headed by the Deputy Inspector General Police. The Superintendent of Police or Senior Superintendent Police is responsible for each town.

In all, there are 123 Police stations[3] in Karachi.

Figure 1.18 Old Hindu Gymkhana now renovated and Housing the National Academy of Performing Arts


Figure 1.19 Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum


Figure 1.20 Mohatta Palace Karachi


Figure 1.21 Port Grand Karachi


Figure 1.22 Quaid’s School and Christian Missionary High School Karachi


Figure 1.23 Flag Staff House/Wazir Mansion, Karachi


Figure 1.24 Manora Beach Karachi. (A Hindu temple can be seen in the background)

[1] Bahria University (Karachi Campus), Dawood University of E&T, Dow University of HS, Federal Urdu University (Karachi Campus), Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi, NED University of E&T, Pakistan Marine Academy, Pakistan Naval Academy, Pakistan Navy Engineering College, University of Karachi, Sindh Madrasatul Islam.

[2] Karachi Metropolitan Corporation Official website


[3] Sindh Police Official Website extracted June 2020

[1] Please refer to the chapter on Pakistan for details

[2] Official website of Karachi Airport

[3] Spider is a monthly magazine published by the Dawn media group, focusing on issues related to software/ hardware and internet technologies.

[4] The Herald is a monthly political magazine published in Karachi, Pakistan. The magazine is owned by Pakistan Herald Publications Limited (PHPL)

[5] Humsay is a bi-monthly English online media magazine of Pakistan based in Karachi. It was first published in September 2007 from Karachi.

[6] The Cricketer was a monthly English language cricket magazine published in Karachi, Pakistan. It was founded in 1972 by Riaz Ahmed Mansuri. The first issue was published in April 1972. It was edited by statistician and cricket historian Gul Hameed Bhatti. The magazine closed in April 2008 after 36 years in publication.

[7] Bi-weekly news magazine founded by D. Y. Moorad in 1956, focusing on the merchant shipping industry.

[8] Monthly magazine first established in 1999, devoted to issues related to Internet usage in Pakistan.

[9] State of Industry Report by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority; 2019

[10] KE Official Website extracted on June 2020

[11] State of Industry Report by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority; 2019

[1] A Free Zone is an industrial zone for tax free industries

[2] Retrieved from

[3] Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Official website

[4] Karachi Port Trust Official website

[5] Twenty foot Equivalent Units

[6] Karachi Port Trust Official Website

[7] Even though Chinioti furniture as artisanal furniture is associated with the Chiniot district of Punjab province, artisans specializing in this type of furniture are popular in Karachi as well. Chinioti furniture is internationally recognized for its distinct floral and geometric patterns carved into wood.

[1] Mangroves by International Society for Mangrove Eco-Systems, News Letter #27, September 2004.

Environment and Biodiversity; Karachi

According to a SUPARCO report released in July 2006, air and water pollution levels in Karachi have crossed national and international environment danger marks. The survey reveals that in Karachi, the smoke and dust participle known as SPM, which causes lung diseases, is twice the world average and five times higher than in developed countries and Latin America.

The major causes of the rise in air pollution are dust, industrial waste, burning of solid waste, smoke-emitting vehicles (especially two-stroke vehicles), diesel trucks and buses and the use of substandard fuel. It must be noted that there are about 75,000 rickshaws, buses, minibuses, taxies, trucks, delivery vans, and pickup trucks plying the city roads without any integrated vehicle checking system. Environmentalists are of the opinion that air pollution from vehicular emissions can be controlled by installing pollution control devices. Environmental degradation can be checked by switching vehicles that use substandard fuel to those using cleaner fuel, by modifying the design of engines and by phasing out obsolete technology in older vehicles still being used in the city.

Flora and FaunaEndangered Animals and Protected Wildlife Areas – Picnic Spots/ Recreational Areas

Flora and Fauna; Karachi


Geological and archeological evidence suggests that the Karachi district region was fairly humid and bore tropical forests around 500 BC. As a result of geographical changes, however, the zone is now an arid one and the dominant vegetation within the Karachi city district is comprised of open communities of deciduous, xerophytic trees and shrubs.

Natural vegetation of the City District is restricted all over the urban area to depression areas where moisture would be available for a greater part of the year and longer periods of time. The native vegetation is of the desert scrub type, comprising a wide variety of bushes and shrubs, including karir (Capris aphylia), babul (Acacia nilotica), khor or gum Arabic (Acacia senegal), khabar or vann/peelu (Salvadora oleoides), kandi or jand (Prosopis cineraria), kikar or babul (Acacia Arabica or nilotica), lai or jhau Indian tamarisk (Tamarix gallica), bhahan or tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla), desert poplar (Populus euphratica), boi kalan (Aerua javanica), desert maerua or hemkand (Maerua arenaria), peeli booti (Abutilon sp.), chulari (Amaranthus viridis), gondi (Cordia gharaf), sihar (Rhazya stricta), karil (Capparis aphyila), siris (Acacia), wild siris (Acacia lebbek), pipal (Ficus religiosa) and tamarind (Tamarindus indica).

In the alluvial plains and calcareous hilly area of the district, 25 species of plants are found. Most of the species are of minor importance, and only a few of them are dominant and wide spread. These are: mesquite (Prosopis juliflora), jand (Prosopis cineraia), kikar (Acacia nilotica) and milk bush, pencil cactus or naked lady (Euphorbia tirucalli). Amaltas or golden shower tree (Cassia fistula), gul mohar[1] (Delonix regia), and frangipani or champa (Plumeria rubra) are also common. The CDGK recently introduced a plant called green buttonwood (Conocarpus eractus) which is a fast growing plant, and suited to the climate. Other newly introduced trees in Karachi include the Kathal tree or Jack Fruit tree (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lamk), and various palms like coconut palm, dwarf palm, and date palm.


Large and wild mammals[2] are virtually absent in the City District. There are a number of characteristic bird species that have adapted to the agricultural environment in the outskirts and suburban areas (farming areas of Gadap Town and Malir); these are Indian roller, common mynah, pigeon, and house sparrow.

Some wildlife still exists in the suburban towns. These include Indian hedgehog (now very rare), Asiatic jackal (rare), chinkara gazelle (very rare), Indian fox (rare), small Indian mongoose (common), Indian pangolin (rare), Indian desert cat (rare), Indian crested porcupine (rare), honey badger (vulnerable), hog deer (very rare), spiny mouse (rare), and hare/ rabbit (common).

Reptiles include spiny-tailed lizard (common), krait (vulnerable), mugger crocodile (vulnerable), python (very rare), ghariyal (endangered), and marsh crocodile (endangered).

Avifauna of the city include Dalmatian pelican (vulnerable), marbled teal (vulnerable), pallid harrier (vulnerable), white-backed vulture (vulnerable), Pallas’ fish eagle (rare), and houbara bustard (endangered).

Clifton Beach, Hawkes Bay and Sandspit beaches of Karachi are home to a variety of marine life, including algae, and crabs. The beaches are also the nesting ground for protected green and olive ridley turtles.

The Karachi coast is known for its high diversity of bird and marine mammals. A total of 62 species of birds were reported by Abrarul Hasan and Syed Iftikhar Ahmed[3] (1994) from the coast of Sindh including Karachi. The Mangrove thickets at the Korangi/ Phitti creek system provide an ideal habitat for various species of birds as well as shrimp, and prawns.

At least 5 species of dolphins are spotted regularly on the beaches of Karachi: the humpback dolphin, bottle-nosed dolphin, long-beaked dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, and the electra dolphin, as well as one species of porpoise, which is the black finless porpoise.

Some birds found on the beaches include[4]: little grebe, white pelican, great cormorant, Indian shag, little cormorant, pond heron, reef heron, little egret, grey heron, median egret, large egret, spoonbill, flamingo, common shoveller, pariah kite, brahminy kite, osprey, common coot, oyster catcher, black-winged stilt, various varieties of plover, red-wattled lapwing, sanderling, little stint, curlew sandpiper, dunlin, ruff, curlew, variety of godwit, whimbrel, red shank, gulls, and common sand piper.

The reptilian fauna of Karachi beaches include the endangered green turtles, and the olive ridley turtles. Another turtle found on Karachi beaches is the hawksbill turtle. Other reptiles include the common tree lizard, spotted barn gecko, common house gecko, blue-tailed sand lizard, spotted Lacerta, cliff racer, diadem snake, black cobra, beaked sea snake, blue green sea snake, and other varieties of sea snakes.

Endangered Animals and Protected Wildlife Areas

The Sandspit Beach, Clifton Beach, Korangi Creek, Gharo Creek, and the Hawkes Bay Beach are all protected areas in the district, where hunting of birds and turtles is prohibited.

The white pelican, Indian shag, little cormorant, pond heron, reef heron, various varieties of egrets, flamingo, painted snipe, greater sand plover, red-wattled lapwing, varieties of gotwit, and the whimbrel are considered endangered.

The green sea turtles, which are the largest hard-shelled sea turtles, are protected under the Wildlife Laws of the Government of Pakistan and provided sanctuary in the Turtle Beach of Karachi.

There is a Crocodile Sanctuary at Manghopir Karachi, where mugger crocodiles and ghariyals are provided sanctuary.

The Hub Dam Reservoir is a favorable area for feeding and nesting for cranes, pelicans, ducks and waders. It is also an important habitat of migratory birds. The dam was designated a Ramsar site on 1 May 2001.

Figure 1.9 Endangered Green Sea Turtle

Picnic Spots/ Recreational Areas; Karachi

As a coastal City District, Karachi offers some very beautiful beaches, where families can gather, and spend time together. Some of the famous ones are as follows:

  • French Beach: French Beach of Karachi is located half way between Hawkes Bay and Paradise Point. It is a small fishing village known to the locals as Haji Abdullah Goth. Surrounded by a boundary wall, it offers 20 huts—constructed by the villagers—for rent. Its rocky beach and clear waters are ideal for surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving during the Monsoon season. Visitors have to bring their own equipment, as well as food and drinking supplies
  • Clifton Beach and Seaview: Clifton Beach, located within city limits, was the most popular silver sand beach during the 20th century. The beach area boasts attractions for families and tourists, including beachside horse and camel rides, amusement parks, restaurants, and swimming in the Arabian Sea. The beach area of Clifton and Seaview is considered safe and peaceful even in times of political tensions in the city
  • Sandspit Beach: Sandspit Beach is situated Southwest of Karachi. It is a famous tourist spot. The sea at Sandspit is very calm and quiet from October to March and very rough during the Monsoon. A variety of marine life, like algae and crabs, is found here. The shallow water is ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Facilities at the Sandspit Beach include horseback and camel riding, and pre-constructed huts for rent
  • Paradise Point: Paradise Point is a sandstone rock promontory with a natural arch. The beach has attractions for families and tourists, including beachside horse and camel rides, amusement parks, restaurants, and swimming in the Arabian Sea

Other attractions in Karachi include:

  • Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam
  • Kemari with its boat ride to Manora Islands
  • Alladin Park
  • Frere Hall and Gardens
  • Mohatta Palace and Museum
  • Pakistan Air Force Museum
  • Karachi Zoo
  • Safari Park
  • Pakistan Maritime Museum
  • Wazir Mansion
  • Hill Park
  • National Museum of Pakistan
  • Jheel Park
  • Port Grand Food & Entertainment Complex
  • Arabian Sea Country Club (in addition to many other smaller Golf clubs like Karachi Golf Club, Defence Housing Authority Golf Club etc.)
  • Churna Island
  • Bagh-e-Ibn-e-Qasim
  • Boat Basin Park
  • Aziz Bhatti Park
  • Alladin Water Park
  • Dream World Resort
  • Cosy Water Park
  • The Great Fiesta Water Park
  • Sindbad Amusement Park
  • Samzu Water Park
  • Sunway Lagoon Water Park
  • Waterworld Park

There are a large number of sufi shrines, of which the Shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi is the most notable. It is widely believed that God saves Karachi from tidal waves and storms of the Arabian Sea because of the prayers of Syed Abdullah Shah Ghazi (the great saint who had come to India with Mohammad bin Qasim in the 8th century AD and stayed back). An annual 3 day long urs is held at the shrine. Other important shrines of the district include Alam Shah Baba at Jama Cloth, Gaib Shah Baba at Kemari, Misri Shah Baba at Gizri, Muhammed Shah Dullah Sabzwari at Kharadar, Nuri Baba at Teen Hatty, Qari Muslehuddin Aleh Rehma at Jodia Bazaar, Gaib Shah Ghazi at Garden, Hasan Peer at Gadap, Peer Panah at Malir, Abraheem Shah Baba at Malir Samnderi Baba at Karachi Link Road, Hazrat Syed Mehmood Shah Bukhari at Chaneser Goth, Chuttan Shah Baba at Kharadar, and Qaraar Shah Baba at Chappal Bazar/ Phool Chowk.

Other attractions in Karachi include a large number of malls and shopping areas where consumer goods are available at affordable prices. Some important shopping areas (divided according to expensive and reasonable) include:

High End (luxury):

  • Dolmen City Mall
  • Ocean Mall
  • Park Towers
  • The Forum Karachi
  • Zamzama Shopping area

Middle End (reasonable):

  • Hyderi Shopping Center
  • Khadda Market (Defence)
  • Millenium Mall
  • Zaibun Nisa Street
  • Tariq Road

Low End shopping areas (wholesale):

  • Zainab Market
  • Saddar/ Bohri Bazar
  • Banaras Chowk
  • Ranchore Lines Area
  • Liaquat Market
  • Jama Cloth Market

Some important and well-known Bazaars[5] of Karachi include:

  • Soldier Bazaar (known for the diversity of its offerings)
  • Sarafa Bazaar (for gold and silver jewelry)
  • Urdu Bazaar (known for its vendors of books and stationery)
  • Rainbow Center (mostly computer-related products)
  • Meena Bazaar (a women-only market, popular for its Mehndi artisans and selections of bangles)
  • Empress Market (wholesale market for pulses, spices, fruits, and vegetables)
  • Boulton Market (a wholesale market catering to retailers operating in the entire city, offering consumer goods)


Figure 1.10 French Beach, Karachi


Figure 1.11 Sea View Clifton Beach, Karachi

[1] Flame of the forest

[2] Environmental Impact Assessment: Grade Separated Traffic Improvement Plan from Park Tower to A T Naqvi Roundabout by National Environmental Consultants for KMC 2014.

[3] Some Observations on Birds and Marine Mammals of Karachi Coast. By Abrarul Hasan and Syed Iftikhar Ahmad, Zoological Survey Department, Government of Pakistan, Karachi: 1994.

[4] most of these birds are now becoming rare and/ or vulnerable

[5] According to the web dictionary, a bazaar is a market consisting of streets lined with shops and stalls