Karachi. The city with over 15million people where the salty air mingles with the smoke from the traffic snaking its way through the city’s labyrinth, it is also known as the City of Lights for its constant state of activity no matter the hour.
Also called the City of Quaid, for the great Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was born and laid to rest here, Karachi is the financial hub of the southern province of Pakistan.
Thousands swarm to Karachi every year, looking for better opportunities and an improved way of life. While it still may be the far off land of opportunities for those who come here seeking to make their fortune, for the Karachites themselves, this metropolis is little more than Heaven on Earth.
“Whoever you are, wherever you have come from – you will easily fit into Karachi because this city knows no boundaries. It’s a melting pot of different people from all over the country – and it is this diversity that gives it that unique flavor, quite unlike any of the other cities,” says Suleiman, a businessman from Karachi.
While the Karachites obviously love their city, those who have come from different parts of Pakistan have various different views to share.
Ahmed, a student from Pindi who is currently preparing for his CSS examination, declared to this correspondent his complete satisfaction with life in the metropolis, away from his hometown. “Karachi is my dream city, where I’ve always wanted to live, study and work! I just love the people here, the culture, the lifestyle – and above all, the courage in the people.”
He further stated that only the crimes committed in the city make it “slightly different from the original notion of Heaven,” in his opinion.
“Karachi is made up of humans, not angels. Social issues and crimes are common enough in large cities – what makes it worth experiencing is the courage the people of Karachi have in the face of such situations.”
Mr. K. Muhammad, an advocate in the Sindh High Court, had a completely different point of view to share. Talking about days gone by, he referred to 2005 – the year he started his LLB – when he had first arrived in the city. Remembering those days, he sighed and said, “Everyone had a reason to smile, then. Now, the city has been hijacked by gangsters – everything has changed.”
He added, however, that “the people of Karachi are very brave! They live life to the fullest despite the dangers – and I doubt anybody can say otherwise. They really make the rest of us Pakistanis proud.”
Aside from the general aura of fear among the populace, however, Karachi has its own unique feel. The wonderful scent of salt in the air early morning, the crash of waves on the beach, the lit up malls with their pricey stores along with the various eateries around the city, not to mention the laughing groups of friends and families heading towards Dou Darya every night for a sumptuous fun-filled meal, are just a small part of the beauty that makes Karachi what it is.
As one Karachi-lover put it, “the sea, the salty air, the numerous hangout spots dotting the city, the illegal racing, and the emotional people – all of this is what makes this place so special! Even the na maloom afrad seem like an adventure to most when seen in the light of everyday events.”
Karachi, it seems, despite its many stumbling stones, will always remain the heart of Pakistan.
“Kuch bhi ho yaar, Karachi tou Karachi hay!”