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Karachi: cities within a city


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CITY states were peculiarity of the Greek political system. They have gone a long way in developing and strengthening the democratic political institutions throughout Europe.

Reversing this order, somehow, we have created many ‘states’ within the city of Karachi. Greeks were innovative and so are we.

At present Karachi is divided into such parts and areas on the ethno-linguistic basis as have virtually assumed the status of independent states.

So, having many ‘sovereign’ and ‘independent’ states, the city of Karachi can rightly be called a ‘globe in microcosm’. Each state in the city has its own demarcated ‘territory’ that is almost a no-go area for any other and with whom no one is allowed to interfere with.

Each state has its own system of governance, hierarchy of command, official language and distinctive ethnicity.

Likewise, each state has its own system of ‘taxation’ preferably the direct one such as extortion, ransom and alike.

These states are equally at full liberty to grant anyone within its territory a ‘licence to kill’ and may impose upon any of its inhabitant a ‘liability to be killed’ as, under the state law, one may be presumed to be guilty until he is proven dead.

As each state has always been willing and trying to extend its limits and influence, the inhabitants within other state’s territory, therefore, inter-state clashes and skirmishes are very common here.

The oldest state in the city, being the ‘superpower’, is very particular in this regard and has been eager to demand and establish its absolute domination over the city.

The role of the Sindh government is none other than that of the UN while dealing with these states. It often remains either a silent spectator or a passive collaborator by paying just lip-service during all the intrastate and interstate conflicts.

It has always acted in accordance with the provisions of its newly-formulated ‘charter of reconciliation’ while using its premier ‘peacekeeping’ force in the city — the Karachi police.

The superpower, unlike the other states within the city, does believe in the electoral process. For this, it has been excessively obsessed and, perhaps, equally blessed too.

It is quite obvious that the government has nothing to do with these states. Nevertheless, they may have much appeal for the students of modern political philosophy.


Comments (10) Closed

gangadin Dec 07, 2012 07:44pm
Karachi should be divided based on ethnicity, if that will bring peace.
sja Dec 08, 2012 03:12am
The reflection about the city within the city, is a misnomer, actually there are three majority of three minorities, each has its own territory, rules, guards, safetyzones, and like the private water distribution authorities parallel to the local government, so see there are so many complexities, there were rumors of state with in the province and then states within karachi or whatever, THE REAL STATE OF UNION in karachi is ready unstable, let us pray that the KARACHITES BECOME ONE PAKISTANI NATION UNDER THE FEDERAL GOVT OF PAKISTAN with equality, freedoms and JUSTICE FOR ALL. Amen
Karachi Lover Dec 09, 2012 06:25pm
Great ironical style to discuss the Karachi issue. Peoples are killed daily and Sindh government only acting like the UN - perhaps due to its coalition partners in the city.
pathanoo Dec 07, 2012 05:32pm
Any attempt at conflating Karachi with the old Greek city states is simpy false. Karachi is a non-functional anarchy where as democracy flourished out of these Greek city states. People were not killing each other in these Greek city states. On the contrary they were bonded to each other. What a confusing directionless article.
nasir Dec 07, 2012 04:14pm
the author seems to be representing the feudal mindset. there is law and order situation in karachi like in rest of pakistan. there are some hidden sources changing the demography of karachi. millions of people from KP and waziristan are brought to settle in karachi, although there are large number of mega industrial cities in the way while coming to karachi. e.g lahore , faisalabad, sialkot.some forces including our judiciary implanting the futures civil war in karachi to making karachi polarize. now lets come to the topic, there should be more governing rights transferred from province or fedral to cities.
adam memon Dec 07, 2012 03:42pm
Karachi is mother of Pakistan.Every body wants to settle in Karachi because of job oppurtunity but no body love his mother.
Mahdi Dec 07, 2012 03:26pm
Very touchy and exact explanation of the Karachi issue. There are states within the state in Karachi. State seems to have no writ here. Karachiites have been left at the mercy of these criminals and dacoits in the guise of politicians. May Allah save this city!
Usman Dec 07, 2012 09:53am
''Each (I wish I could have highlighted this word) state in the city has its own demarcated ?territory? that is almost a no-go area for any other''? What an exaggeration! Once again, a very simplified and blinkered perspective about Karachi from a non-Karachiite............
Khan Dec 07, 2012 12:41pm
These non-karachiite mind set is the root cause of the problem as when they come to Karachi they consider it only as a goose who lay golden egg , and they can't share the egg with the goose but take for themselves that too by cutting the stomach of the goose. Whenever there is a natural disaster in Pakistan people of Karachi has generously helped people of other provinces , how much help now they are providing to the victims of violence in any form?
karachi wala Dec 07, 2012 02:37pm
every non karachite thinks by reading newspaper or watchin pml n bash mqm they are expert at situation of khi; where in reality they are 1000miles apart from whats happening in fact ppl from the largest province wld want this city to remain violent so they can get all the investments and prosperity