KARACHI: Karachi, the financial capital of Pakistan, was called by 32 different names over the past few hundred years, said historian Usman Damohi at the launch of his book on Monday evening.

Speaking at the launch of the second edition of his book ‘Karachi Tareekh Ke Aaeene Mein’ (Karachi in the Mirror of History) at the Arts Council, he also stressed that Karachi was once a big market of African slaves brought by ships and then sold into slavery in the Middle East.

Later, speaking about various aspects of the book, columnist and broadcaster Wusatullah Khan said that the magnum opus could not have been written without passion for the truth because revising and changing historical evidence was common in Pakistan.

Mr Khan also said that the teaching of history was badly neglected in Pakistan’s educational institutes.

Journalist Akhtar Baloch said that Damohi’s book was a great source of reference for all those who wrote about the history of Karachi.

“His book reflects the true past of Karachi and we can compare it with the current abysmal state of the city,” he added.

Poet Dr Javaid Manzar declared that the book helped him very much while working on his doctorate thesis under the name, ‘Karachi ka Dabastan e Shairi’ (Karachi school of thought in Urdu poetry).

He said that he referred to the book 35 times in his thesis.

He said that the book covered at least 500 years of Karachi’s history, beginning with the early foundation of the city, its multicultural diversity and different names over this period of time.

“Damohi also disclosed that the Malir Cant area was once a prison for slaves brought from Africa and the routes near the prison was planned as a labyrinth to stop the slaves from escaping,” he added.

He said that the slaves were auctioned in some parts of Lyari as well.

Dr Manzar called Karachi the gateway to landlocked Central Asian states.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Damohi said that he had planned to write the book much earlier on but it took 10 years to finish the final manuscript. “The book covers almost complete history of Karachi and contains many interesting facts of the city,” he said. “The book shows that the past of Karachi was very bright and we need to make its future as dazzling as its past.”