A bloody wave of violence sweeping Karachi has claimed hundreds of lives this year, and experts say it is also taking a punishing financial toll on the city that is Pakistan's economic heartbeat.
Karachi is vital to Pakistan's economy, contributing 42 percent of GDP, 70 percent of income tax revenue and 62 percent of sales tax revenue, but Ateeq Mir, the chairman of the Karachi Markets Alliance, compared the situation to the country's insurgency-wracked northwest.
“Karachi has become an urban Waziristan where the government has lost its writ,” he said.
With each political or sectarian killing, parts of the city go into lockdown as armed men take to the streets seeking reprisals, prompting residents to flee to safety and shops, markets and schools to close.
Millions in the city rely on daily piece work to make a living, and every day lost to violence or shutdowns is a day without income. Fruit seller Mohammad Haleem, 34, said the unrest was making it hard to make ends meet.
“I could not earn livelihood for my five kids for most of the last week as it was dangerous to go outside,” said Mohammad Haleem, 34, a fruit vendor.
“It is getting too difficult for me to take a loan to feed my kids as the lenders are themselves in distress.”
Here’s a look at the daily wagers of Pakistan, who might be most at stake economically in the wake of day-to-day bloodshed. – Photos and text by Agencies
Pakistani labourers and traders busy at work in a market in the port city of Karachi. – AFP Photo
A Pakistani labourer carrying a bag of grain at a market in the port city of Karachi. – AFP Photo
Pakistani tailors making garments at a small factory in the port city of Karachi. – AFP Photo
A man prepares biscuits to be backed in an oven at a workshop in Quetta. – Reuters Photo
A Pakistani laborer transports the front portion of a vehicle with his handcart on a road in Lahore. – AP Photo
A barefooted boy carries a sack for recyclable materials as he walks past the British era Empress Market building in Karachi. The Empress Market was constructed between 1884 and 1889 and was named to commemorate Queen Victoria, Empress of India. – Reuters Photo
A Pakistani monkey handler Naseer Khan plays flute to attract passers by for a monkey show to earn his living in Islamabad. – AP Photo
Pakistani herders feed their livestock in a field on the outskirts of Islamabad. – AP Photo
A Pakistani female vendor helps a customer to try on bangles at a roadside in Lahore. – AP Photo
A man loads clay pots on a cart for sale in a market Faisalabad. – Reuters Photo