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If Karachi’s ethnic groups got along it could be a city like New York

T-Faz

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KARACHI:

A Pakistan expert comments on a city’s weakest point.

Karachi is like 25% of all of Pakistan’s economy, and it just simply not functioning. This was the opinion of Stephen P. Cohen, a senior fellow on foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, expressed recently on a radio show.

Cohen was interviewed on the Bloomberg Surveillance show by host Tom Keene and co-host Ken Prewitt. “I am stunned at the demographics of Karachi when I study their population growth and their absolutely unique demographics,” said Keene according to a transcript dated May 26. “What does America need to know about the future of Karachi,” he asked Cohen.

“Karachi could have been – I sound like Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront” – could have been a major economic and trade centre in the world, analogous to Singapore or Hong Kong,” said Cohen. It was one of those British cities that was on the Imperial trade routes and, of course, now that Asia has become more important, Karachi sits between the Gulf and the rest of Asia.

But, of course, it has gone steadily downhill from the creation of Pakistan, he went on to say. “Its demography is that it is divided between three or four different ethnolinguistic groups, which are mutually exclusive.”

“So it is a – if they got along well, it would be an amazingly complex city, a lot like New York,” he said. “But, of course, they don’t get along well and it is in the context of a failing Pakistan economy of which Karachi is a major part.”

The Bloomberg Surveillance co-host, Ken Prewitt, then asked whether it was ethnic strife that went wrong or if there were other factors. “Generally speaking, former British colonies have done certainly better than former French or other colonies,” Prewitt added.

According to Cohen, there were two great cities in British India that were in a sense euthanized by Partition. One was Karachi, when Pakistan was created. “Karachi lost a bunch of its Hindu land, the rest – parts of India to the east of Karachi,” he explained. “And the other, of course, Calcutta. Calcutta was one of the empire’s great cities and partitioned in the halving off of Pakistan from India and eastern India meant that Calcutta lost its Hindu land.”

According to Cohen, these two great cities lost their purpose – much of their purpose. But Karachi remained a valuable and important city until, of course, the military moved the capital from Karachi to Rawalpindi and then Islamabad, a “remote, isolated station” at the time.

If Karachi
 

ice_man

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the problem with karachi is that everyone plays the vicitimisation card....be it Urdu speaking or sindhi or Pashtuns or the baloch of liyari!!!!!
 

Ajaxpaul

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Why should it be compared to NY. If the groups got along well, It would still be a Karachi, with a big brand name that NY would look to replicate. But Will Karachi allow people from all over the world to come and live life?
 

SQ8

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Why should it be compared to NY. If the groups got along well, It would still be a Karachi, with a big brand name that NY would look to replicate. But Will Karachi allow people from all over the world to come and live life?
They already do so from all over the nation.. and from south Asia.
A lot of Karachi's premier education systems employ Sri lankan's..
Bangladeshi's come and go from Karachi..
Karachi as a whole, is a lot more tolerant than the rest of the nation.. a lot more than Islamabad.
 

T-Faz

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Why should it be compared to NY. If the groups got along well, It would still be a Karachi, with a big brand name that NY would look to replicate. But Will Karachi allow people from all over the world to come and live life?
Stephen P. Cohen (look up his credentials if you want to verify his credibility) said that it has the potential to be a major economic and trade centre of the world that follows in the steps of New York.

It won't become NY overnight, it can however achieve the level of importance that cities like Honk Kong and Singapore hold.

Its a comparison to elicit a certain response, to give an idea of how much potential it has.
 

aakash_2410

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They already do so from all over the nation.. and from south Asia.
A lot of Karachi's premier education systems employ Sri lankan's..
Bangladeshi's come and go from Karachi..
Karachi as a whole, is a lot more tolerant than the rest of the nation.. a lot more than Islamabad.
You forgot to mention India? :O As most of the Karachites can trace their roots back to India. :)
 

Ajaxpaul

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Stephen P. Cohen (look up his credentials if you want to verify his credibility) said that it has the potential to be a major economic and trade centre of the world that follows in the steps of New York.

It won't become NY overnight, it can however achieve the level of importance that cities like Honk Kong and Singapore hold.

Its a comparison to elicit a certain response, to give an idea of how much potential it has.
Karachi was always a major trade centre like bombay. These 2 cities were the gateway to the western world( from an Indian's POV ) before independence. Our PM said mumbai will be a shanghai within 20 yrs. I will guarantee you mumbai will not become shanghai. But I feel confident that Gurgaon or Noida can reach shanghai level.

Comparisons are useless. It should only be taken to raise the bar for improvement of a city. Karachi was already big and still big. Only Pakistan has to make it better, not make it a NY.

Pardon me if my post has gone offtopic...I have not explained the problems faced by Karachi or Bombay, because i know what problems, bombay is facing but not Karachi. I feel Karachi is similar to bombay.
 

integra

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Comparisons are a rather futile attempt
to standardize a city on par with globalized standards.
Is it really necessary to revamp a city into something like
NY? Think of Detroit city. Those Broadways and theaters are
facing the downturn of economic crunch, alleys becoming
haunted.

Well there was this long trip in Singapore I made few years back
due to medical reasons, its a wonderful city no doubt but it lacked soul.
Too much regulations, mundane people, systematic lifestyles
no gangsters it was so boring.

If anyone saw metropolis the matter will be clear. A machine like
city is not comparable to a cramped bizarre weird cities like the ones in
south Asia. But they have ambiance and soul,
a worthwhile read is the book wittern on urban landscape by
Charles Correa. There a very justifiable comparison was done
between old mumbai and Manhattan. Karachi should certainly
synthesize and maintain its own unique phenomenon.
Mutations will only seem overboard.
 

Capt.Popeye

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Apr 5, 2010
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Comparisons are a rather futile attempt
to standardize a city on par with globalized standards.
Is it really necessary to revamp a city into something like
NY? Think of Detroit city. Those Broadways and theaters are
facing the downturn of economic crunch, alleys becoming
haunted.

Well there was this long trip in Singapore I made few years back
due to medical reasons, its a wonderful city no doubt but it lacked soul.
Too much regulations, mundane people, systematic lifestyles
no gangsters it was so boring.

If anyone saw metropolis the matter will be clear. A machine like
city is not comparable to a cramped bizarre weird cities like the ones in
south east Asia. But they have ambiance and soul,
a worthwhile read is the book wittern on urban landscape by
Charles Correa. There a very justifiable comparison was done
between old mumbai and Manhattan. Karachi should certainly
synthesize and maintain its own unique phenomenon.
Mutations will only seem overboard.
Absolutely correct on the underlined part. Visiting Singapore over a three decade period, I have found it to be an increasingly synthetic and sterile city. Most of all people in Singapore rarely smile, leave alone laugh a big "belly laugh". Hardly a role model for any city, leave alone Karachi.

Though my last visit to Karachi was more than a decade ago, I found it to be city of immense color and a clear "soul". I hope that Karachi gets it share of steel and glass and glitz. But not lose any of the vibrancy that is inherent to its existence.
 

Evil Flare

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Education is the first step , majority of the parents send their kids only to madarsas . :sick:
 

BelligerentPacifist

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You forgot to mention India? :O As most of the Karachites can trace their roots back to India. :)
I thought initially of reporting this post, but then decided to reply to this agent-provocateur.

So you think that like the Bangladeshis, the Myanmaris, the Afghanistanis and the Lankans, the people you refer to with "most of the Karachites can trace their roots back to India" carry an Indian passport or remotely, remotely wish to?
 

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