From development authorities to democratic institutions: Studies in planning and management transition in the Karachi Metropolitan Region

Noman Ahmed


Karachi is a relatively young metropolis. The city is about three centuries old, founded as a port by local Hindu merchants and traders. The British conquered the city in 1839, occupied the entire principality of Sindh in 1843 and designated Karachi as headquarters of the territory. The city experienced different phases of growth. When Pakistan came into being in 1947, a large number of refugees entered the city and the population jumped from 435,000 in 1947 to 1,050,000 in 1951. Karachi has remained the primate city of Pakistan, with a high annual growth rate of 5-7 percent per annum (Ahmed 1998). Current estimates suggest that the city has about 17 million inhabitants.

Karachi houses 7 per cent of the total population and 23 per cent of the urban population of Pakistan. Its current rate of growth is estimated at around 5 per cent, of which 3 per cent is due to natural increase and 2 per cent to migration from the other parts of the country. Karachi provides 25 per cent of federal revenue and 15 per cent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, 50 per cent of the country’s bank deposits and 72 per cent of all issued capital is contributed by the city (Hasan 2010; CDGK 2008). It houses the country’s largest stock market and about 26 per cent of the total national industrial establishments.

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