Skip to comments.Karachi: bellwether for Pakistan, a country on the brink
Posted on 01/01/2012 8:28:49 PM PST by SunkenCiv
Karachi is one of the largest cities in the world, home to 17-million people, give or take a million. It is the economic engine of Pakistan, responsible for three-quarters of its economy. It is the bellwether for a precarious nation -- as Karachi goes, so goes Pakistan, they like to say here.
It's also, according to a recent report from global human resources consulting firm Mercer, South Asia's lowest-ranking city for personal safety and the sixth most dangerous city in the world. It has had no elected government for more than 18 months, after the last one dissolved in bickering over electoral reform.
What it does have is at least a half-dozen powerful political forces vying to control it, each with an armed wing. And each, for reasons of their own, will on occasion turn those forces loose: More than 1,000 people have died in 2011 of gunshots, explosions or torture. Some of that killing is criminal, some is ethnic, some is political.
In Karachi, the three are all but inseparable.
In the eyes of the pessimists, Karachi is a harbinger of the hell that will be the third-world megalopolis, a city irreparably fractured on ethnic lines, where the urban promise of social mobility can't be met, and the "melting pot" weakening of ethnic loyalties never happens, because kinship networks have to provide services like security and education that the state can't...
Dr. Haroon Ahmed is president of the Pakistan Association of Mental Health and one of the country's 425 psychiatrists. He treats wealthy patients in the city's leafy seaside south, and also runs a free clinic in a poor section of the city.
He says he has seen a steady deterioration in the mental health of Karachiites through his career.
(Excerpt) Read more at theglobeandmail.com ...
A paramilitary soldier walks past the site of a suicide bomb attack in Karachi on Sept. 19, 2011. [Athar Hussain / Reuters]
make that “alleged country on the brink”.
...alleged country allegedly on the brink.