15 Jun City of Lights – Karachi
Karachi, the capital of Sindh province in southern Pakistan, is the largest city and primary seaport of the country. It serves as a major hub for commerce and industry. Situated on the Arabian Sea coast, just northwest of the Indus River delta, Karachi is renowned for its cosmopolitan and diverse nature. It boasts linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversity, along with a strong secular and liberal character.
As a port city on the Arabian Sea, Karachi is home to the bustling Jinnah International Airport, a a prominent transit point. Its development and establishment were greatly influenced by the British East India Company, which facilitated rail and sea connections. While it was once known as the “city of lights” due to its vibrant nightlife in the 1960s and 1970s, Karachi has unfortunately experienced turbulent sectarian and ethnic conflicts during the 1980s.
Karachi endures scorching summers resembling desert-like conditions, followed by high humidity due to its proximity to the sea. It also experiences a prolonged and harsh monsoon season. The British developed the city around its harbor and referred to it as the “new town.” The Karachi cantonment and Clifton area are still regarded as the most picturesque parts of the city, offering an excellent residential environment.
Architecturally, Karachi showcases a blend of Western and Eastern styles. British-era buildings were constructed using stone in Western architectural styles, while central parts of the city exhibit a fusion of Eastern and Western elements, featuring towers, domes, pillars, arches, hanging balconies, and rectangular courtyards.
The population of Karachi is predominantly Muslim, although there are small Christian, Hindu, Parsi, Buddhist, and Jain communities. The city’s manufacturing sector is centered around textiles and footwear, with additional production of metal products, food and beverages, paper and printing, wood and furniture, machinery, chemicals and petroleum, leather and rubber, and electrical goods. Karachi is also renowned for its handicrafts and cottage industries, producing handloomed cloth, lace, carpets, brass and bell metal articles, pottery, leather goods, and gold and silver embroidery.
Known as the “Wall Street of Pakistan,” Karachi is home to the Pakistan Stock Exchange and serves as the headquarters for numerous public and private banks, totaling twenty-five. The city also plays a vital role in the economic development of the country through its insurance companies, which invest significant sums in power development, housing programs, joint-stock companies, government loan securities, and savings certificates.
Karachi serves as the terminus of Pakistan’s railway system, primarily facilitating the transportation of goods between the city and other parts of the country. It boasts more than 20 general hospitals, along with numerous specialized healthcare facilities.
Karachi is home to the largest shopping mall in Pakistan and South Asia, Lucky One Mall, housing over two hundred stores. It also hosts Dolmen Mall, Clifton, a popular shopping destination, and Port Grand, the country’s favorite entertainment complex. Notable tourist attractions in and around Karachi include the National Museum of Pakistan, Pakistan Air Force Museum, Pakistan Maritime Museum, and various parks such as Bagh Ibne Qasim, Boat Basin Park, Mazar-e-Quaid, Karachi Zoo, Hill Park, Safari Park, Bagh-e-Jinnah, PAF Museum Park, and Maritime Museum Park.
Time zone: The time zone for Karachi is GMT+5.
Currency: Pakistani Rupee (PKR)
Country dial Code: +92
Residential properties – Housing in Karachi
The neighborhoods situated in the southern and eastern parts of Karachi are highly sought-after by expatriates looking for residential options. Karachi, known for being the most densely populated city in Pakistan, has gained recognition as the fastest-growing cosmopolitan district. The city is divided into six districts and six Cantonment Towns, which are administratively managed by the country’s military.
The upscale areas of Clifton and Defense belong to Karachi South. Both Defense and Clifton neighborhoods have a reputation for their affluence, featuring luxurious homes, shops, shopping centers, and state-of-the-art restaurants. While originally intended for military personnel, these areas have attracted the rich and affluent of the city. These neighborhoods are considered VIP areas as they house upscale shopping and recreational facilities, providing an unparalleled experience for residents. Expatriates prefer living in the residential areas of Clifton, which offer picturesque settings, beautiful sea views, breathtaking sunsets, and elegant restaurants. These neighborhoods are well-planned, less congested, and feature well-maintained parks. They are also in close proximity to the upscale embassy area and international consulates. Clifton and Defense Housing Authority (DHA) offer luxury houses with up to five bedrooms, as well as luxury apartments with up to four bedrooms. Expats find Creek Vista apartments within DHA particularly attractive due to their combination of luxury and security. Navy housing scheme within Clifton offers security and a range of luxury houses and apartments.
Gulshan-e-Iqbal, a large township located in the heart of the city, is now home to various important landmarks. The area benefits from the presence of two major arterial roads, University Road and Lyari Expressway, which make navigation easier. Independent houses, stand-alone apartments, and bungalows are predominantly available in this area.
Gulistan-e-Johar is centrally located and highly popular among local Karachi families. The area is easily accessible through several main roads and offers a range of malls, food and beverage options, and entertainment facilities. Its proximity to Jinnah International Airport makes it a promising location for residents.
Bahria Town is known for its excellent security, featuring a three-tier security system that ensures the safety of its residents. With timed or manually operated security alarms and gated streets, it provides a peaceful living environment, especially for working women. Although it is located on the outskirts of Karachi, it is considered one of the safest areas for single working women. Travel expenses are reduced as companies often provide pick-up and drop-off services. Some of the newly constructed apartments in Bahria Town are meticulously planned and luxurious, offering modular kitchens, modern fixtures, and fittings. Certain apartments may include a well-designed terrace or garden, and ground-floor units may have basements that can be utilized for multiple purposes.
KDA Scheme 1, an initiative by the Karachi Development Authority, offers houses and apartments for rent. It is considered one of the upscale localities of Karachi, known for its enhanced security compared to neighboring residential areas such as Mohammed Ali Society and Dohraji. Another advantage is its proximity to Shara-e-Faisal, making commuting to the main city quick, convenient, and easy. Additionally, Agha Khan Hospital and Liaquat National Hospital are approximately 4 km away. KDA Scheme-1 provides a comprehensive package for homebuyers seeking comfort, security, and convenience.
Jamshed Town is located in the central part of Karachi. To the northwest lies Liaquatabad Town across the Lyari River, while Gulshan Town is to the east, and Korangi Town is to the southeast across the Malir River. Jamshed Town shares borders with Karachi Cantonment and Clifton Cantonment to the west. Pakistan Employees Cooperative Housing Society (PECHS) is the preferred housing location in this area, offering four- and five-bedroom houses for lease and rent.
These are just a few of the many residential areas in Karachi. Each neighborhood has its own unique character, amenities, and price ranges, allowing individuals to find a suitable place to call home based on their preferences and requirements. Whether it’s upscale living, affordability, convenience, or a sense of community, Karachi’s residential areas cater to a diverse range of residents.
A Blog by our team member from New Delhi, Reynold Varghese