Growing disparity: Illustrating the social divide in Karachi

Speaker outlines differences between gated housing communities and slums in the city

Our Correspondent December 11, 2016

KARACHI: There are two Karachis, which have no relationship with each other, said economist Dr Kaiser Bangali while illustrating the social divide in the city.

He showed the audience pictures of Karachi's gated housing communities and juxtaposed them with pictures of different slums in the city while speaking at a session titled 'Governance and Citizenship' on the third day of the Fourth Annual Karachi Conference on Sunday.

He lamented that the elite have alienated themselves from the rest of the city, adding that they fail to understand that the underlying cause of the city's malaise is their apathy.

The lack of civic duty stems from apathy of the elite class while the absence of governance is caused by the fragmentation of the governing institutions, he explained.

The fragmentation can perhaps be attributed to the uncontrolled migration and sudden changes in the demographics of the city, which have resulted in multiple conflicts over control of space and resources, he pointed out.

Karachi's issues cannot be discussed without keeping Sindh in mind, as it in an integral part of Sindh, said Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) executive director Karamat Ali. He remarked that the indigenous people of the port city have been marginalised.

The city should be developed while keeping in mind the local population, Ali said, adding that the interests of the local population must be safeguarded.

There were about 95% Sindhis and 75% Hindus in Karachi at one point, but unfortunately the situation changed due to inward and outward migration of people, he claimed.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2016.

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