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Are you laughing with someone or at someone? There's a big difference. And when Shahbaz Sharif guffawed after cracking a joke about 'Karanchi', it felt like the latter.

Shahbaz Sharif is a senior politician who has, yes, done well for Lahore. But now that he is looking to expand his voter base to Karachiwallas, he should be mindful of who they are, what they say, what they do — and not make a joke at their expense.

And he really — really — needs to stop boasting about how he can turn Karachi — home to more than 14 million people (according to the 2017 census) — into Lahore, Paris, or any other city.

If you're not from the city but are vying for votes, that can't and shouldn't be held against you. But if you're not willing to even try and understand (and respect) the dynamics of the city beyond the heaps of trash and shortage of water, then you have work to do.