‘Karachi is a paradise for criminals’

Foreign investors express alarm, unsafety as security situation deteriorates

GOHAR ALI KHAN July 11, 2024
Foreign investors expressed grave concerns over the country’s security in the OICCI 2024 Survey released on Wednesday, highlighting that Karachi’s overall security situation has worsened from 69% to 80%. photo: file


Foreign investors and local business leaders are increasingly alarmed by the deteriorating security situation in Karachi, which they now describe as a paradise for criminals. Street crime has surged by 100% in the past six months, transforming Karachi from the city of lights to the city of danger.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the business leaders expressed deep concern about the worsening law and order situation, where none feel safe except heavily-guarded VIPs like politicians and bureaucrats. The apathy of political parties has dashed any hopes for improvement, further frustrating business leaders who view Karachi as a crucial contributor to the national economy and a major source of employment. Pakistan is known because of Karachi, and thus, net-net, Pakistan suffers if Karachi breaks down.

Karachi faces multiple issues. The toll of the negative image of Karachi has been further magnified by the continuous loadshedding and frequent outages of electricity, the low gas pressure, the erratic availability of water, the ballooning corruption at all tiers of the government machinery, and the landscaping of its beautiful environment by scattered litter, heaps of stomach-churning garbage, and obnoxious graffiti nearly everywhere. Karachi has transformed from the city of lights to the city of danger.

Eminent business leader and famous industrialist Majyd Aziz said, “Karachi is a paradise for criminals. The escalating volatile situation in Karachi has exposed the law enforcing agencies’ lack of expertise in controlling rising crimes. At the same time, the failure of the politicians to evolve a workable solution has also shown their lack of will and command in persuading the law enforcing agencies to put their house in order.”

The crime scenario has become an albatross around the neck of the business community since this explosive and dangerous situation has compelled foreign buyers to revisit their business relationship with Pakistani counterparts.

All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI) Chairman Atiq Mir said it is painful that the local administration of Karachi is trying hard to hush up the ground realities of the worst law and order situation instead of improving it.

“100% street crimes have increased during the last six months on account of runaway unemployment, rising poverty, and no control on hardcore criminals. After the federal budget 2023-2024, the crime rate will skyrocket as all essential commodities are out of reach of poor people. People have a clear-cut perception that the existing rulers, including all top institutions, are responsible for this storm of inflation and issues,” he said.

Moreover, foreign investors expressed grave concerns over the country’s security in the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) 2024 Survey released on Wednesday, while highlighting street crimes in the business hub of the country.

The OICCI has released the results of its latest Security Survey 2024, highlighting increasing concerns over the country’s deteriorating security environment. The survey reported a deterioration in Karachi’s security, with concerns about street crime rising from 69% to 80%. Balochistan’s security situation also worsened, increasing from 68% to 75%. However, there were marginal improvements in Lahore, where the security situation improved from 73% to 49%, in Punjab from 63% to 53%, and in Peshawar from 68% to 58%.

OICCI management committee member Kamran Ataullah Khan said, “Our members stress the importance of sustained efforts by law enforcement agencies to enhance security, which is crucial for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).”

He said visits by foreign nationals for business purposes have been impacted by economic instability and security incidents.

OICCI Secretary General M Abdul Aleem said the survey provides detailed feedback from foreign investors on various aspects of doing business related to security, such as street crimes, expatriate security, illegal gratification, and protests.

Approximately 75% of OICCI members are based in Karachi, with the remainder in Lahore and Islamabad, operating throughout the country.


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