Islamabad vs Karachi

After reading a post from meena and comments from her on my blog i thought lemme do some comparision between islamabad and karachi. i know i might step on alot of people’s toes and feet but i dont care i just think it would be interesting to do a small comparision day by day.

History of Karachi and Islamabad

Origin of Karachi
The area that now consists of Karachi was originally a group of small villages called Kalachi-jo-Kun. Any history of Karachi prior to the 19th century is sketchy. It is said that the city called Krokola from which one of Alexander the Great’s admirals sailed at the end of his conquests was the same as Karachi. When Muhammad bin Qasim came to India in the year 712 he captured the city of Debul. It has been said that Debal was the ancestral village of present day Karachi. However, this has neither been proven or disproven.
It was in 1729 that the village Kolachi-jo-Goth was transformed from a fishing village to a trading post when it was selected as a port for trade with Muscat and Bahrain. In the following years a fort was built and cannons brought in from Muscat were mounted on it. The fort had two doorways, one facing the sea called the Khara Dar or Brackish Gate and one facing the River Lyari called the Meetha Dar or Sweet Gate. Currently, the site of those gates corresponds to the location of the neighbourhoods of Kharadar and Meethadar. In 1795 the city passed from the Khan of Kalat to the Talpur rulers of Sindh.

The British Era

Karachi gained in position as port which led to its importance being recognised by the British, and consequently led to the conquering of the town on the 3rd of February 1839. Three years later, it was annexed into British India as a district. The British recognized the importance of Karachi as a natural harbor and port for the produce of the Indus basin, and the city was rapidly developed into a bustling port city. A famous quote about Karachi attributed to Charles Napier is Would that I could come again to see you in your grandeur!. Napier’s quote proved almost prophetic as it was under the British raj that Karachi would grow rapily as its harbour was developed. When the Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar declared the War of Independence in 1857, the 21st Native Infantry stationed in Karachi declared allegiance to the Emperor and joined the cause of the War on the 10th of September 1857. The uprising though, was defeated by the British who were able to quickly reassert their control over Karachi.

In 1876, the founder of Pakistan Muhammed Ali Jinnah was born in the city, and he would later be buried there. By this time Karachi was a developed city with railroads, churches, paved streets, courts and many commercial centres as well as a magnificent harbour built by the British. Many of the buildings were built in classical British colonial style, contrasting significantly with the “Mughal Gothic” of Lahore. Many of these old buildings exist today and provide interesting destinations for visitors.

Karachi continued to grow in size as well as importance due to its position as a major port. A railroad connected Karachi to the rest of British India in the 1880s. Population grew from 73,500 (1881), to 105,199 (1891), to 115,407 (1901) (Britannica 1911 ed.). In 1899 Karachi was said to be the largest wheat exporting port in the East (Feldman 1970:57). In 1911 when the capital was shifted to Delhi, Karachi became closer to being a Gateway to India. Karachi was declared the capital of the newly formed Sindh province in 1936, chosen over the traditional capital of Hyderabad.

A Pakistani City

In 1947, Karachi was made the capital of the new nation of Pakistan. At that time Karachi was a city of only 400,000 people, and its growth accelerated as a result of its new status. Being the capital, Karachi became a focal point for the new nation and this added to its status as a cultural centre in this part of the world. Although the capital later moved to Rawalpindi and then Islamabad, Karachi remains the economic centre of Pakistan, accounting for a large portion of the GDP of the country and a large chunk of the nation’s white collar workers.

In the 1960s, Karachi was seen as an economic role model around the developing world and there was much praise for the way its economy was progressing. But in 1990s, Karachi was wracked with sectarian violence. Thousands of people were killed during 1992 military operation, and as result soco-economic activities gravely suffered.

In the last 20 years, Karachi has continued to grow, passing the ten million mark. The current economic boom in Pakistan has created a sudden growth spurt in Karachi as jobs and infrastructure projects are increasing with time.

From independence until 1958 Pakistan’s capital was Karachi in Sindh in the far south. Worries about the concentration of investment and development in that city are said to have led to the idea of building a new capital in a different location. During the administration of Pakistani President Ayub Khan, a site immediately north of Rawalpindi was chosen. Rawalpindi was designated as the temporary capital. Work on the new capital started during the 1960s.

The planning and construction was largely headed by the Greek urban planner Constantinos A. Doxiadis. His plan revolved around the building of the city in sectors, each containing four sub-sectors separated by green belts and parks. There was a strong emphasis on greenery and open space. When Islamabad was finally built growth was slow – the government did not fully relocate to the city from Rawalpindi until the 1980s. During this time the capital’s population was small, at around 250,000. This changed dramatically during the 1990s with the population increasing, instigating the building of new sectors.

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