It may sound like a famous coffee commercial to many Americans, but Pakistan indeed runs on taxes paid by its largest city, Karachi.
Every government, civilian or military, however, has severely neglected even the basic needs of this great city. For decades, the city’s youth have been denied government jobs and admissions in government-owned professional educational institutions under the pretext of a highly unjust quota system. People of urban Sindh are also not accepted in local police and the country’s armed forces. This blatant injustice has resulted in widespread unemployment and poverty in urban Sindh.
In the absence of any plan to remedy the situation, the murderous outfit ISIS and Pakistan’s jihadist groups are likely to take advantage of this situation by luring these desperate youths into their deadly trap. The creation of a secular Greater Karachi can effectively thwart the march of extremist forces in South Asia.
Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city and is the capital of Sindh Province; it lies on Pakistan’s southern coast, on the Arabian Sea just northwest of the Indus River Delta. Karachi also happens to be Pakistan’s main port-city and its chief economic center. Even though Pakistani authorities have wiped off nearly half of its population in the last census figures, most independent organizations admit that Karachi has exceeded 30 million.
It will not be an overstatement to say that it is the taxes paid by Karachi that run Pakistan and Sindh Province, for it pays over 65 percent revenue to Pakistan’s national treasury and around 95 percent to the treasury of Sindh province. Despite Karachi’s massive contribution towards Pakistan’s economy, this magnificent city has been ignored by every successive government in Pakistan, both civilian and military.
Karachi is endowed with a vast young and highly educated population. Successive Pakistani governments, however, have done nothing to harness this young talent. Instead, they have used every measure at their disposal to deny them professional education, employment, and other opportunities to grow. These young Mohajirs are the descendants of those who had created and led the movement for Pakistan’s creation. However, Pakistan’s Punjabi-dominated civilian and military leadership, which itself played no role whatsoever in Pakistan’s establishment, has always treated them with high suspicion. Both civilian and military governments have answered Karachi’s Mohajir population’s demand for justice and equality with allegations of treason and the use of brutal state force, including inhuman torture in custody and extrajudicial killings in fake police encounters. Over 25,000 Mohajirs have been killed extrajudicially since 1992, whereas hundreds have become the target of “enforced or involuntary disappearance.”
Karachi’s woes are not a secret: The World Bank in one of its recent reports has highlighted the sorry state of affairs in Karachi and has recommended spending $10 billion every year to address the fundamental civic problems in Karachi. The rural-dominated Sindh Government, which has come into power through proven