Karachi is the heart of Pakistan. It has the total population of around 18 million. Since the last three decades, it was plagued by the menace of terrorism and violence. The political fragmentation, economic disparity, lack of governance and hostility, were the root causes of violence in Karachi. Sectarian and criminal violence, militancy and ethno-political culture further filled in the void. As a result, thousands were killed and hundreds were injured. Surprisingly, alone in the year 2012, more than 1,800 people lost their lives.
However, the city is now being hailed for its role as the windpipe for the economy of Pakistan. As the economic stability is directly proportional to the national stability, hence the harmonization of peace in Karachi is essential for growth in Pakistan. A recent study stipulates that Karachi contributes about 30 percent of Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), 54 percent of central government tax revenues, 30 percent of industrial output, and 65 percent of national income tax revenue.
Since the last five years, the security situation has improved significantly. The law enforcement agencies, political setup and administration of Karachi combined their efforts to bring the city its lights back. Their combined efforts were astonishing because Karachi gradually started improving in all aspects. As evident by the international crime index prepared by Numbeo, Karachi now ranks as the 50th dangerous city unlike its previous ranking as no. 10. The decline in the graph of violence summoned up the gratitude and prosperity for the people of Karachi as they were labelled earlier as the dangerous citizens of the world.
Being the hub of Pakistan’s commercial activities, every event happening in Karachi is like a move of the chessboard. Categorically, the soft image of the city matters because economic activities turn vibrant when there is peace and stability. Karachi needed a major breakthrough to get the economy to rejuvenate. This move was required to subterfuge the bad label from Karachi, and it was done by placing the final of Pakistan Super League 3, the grand finale in the Pakistan’s largest city on 25th March. A massive crowd including showbiz affiliates, politicians, journalists, businessmen came to see the big match. The whole nation thrummed as international cricket came home after a decade of faltering and fumbling situations. The fireworks after the match increased the festivity, people of Karachi were on roads, the stadium was full, and stars were shining on the ground.
This whole activity sent a vital message around the world that Pakistan is not the safe haven for terrorists anymore. This wavelength has numerous aspects, which have been jotted down:
Increase in Economy:
This whole Pakistan Super League Grand Finale in Karachi increased the economic vitality of the city and country. The image which has been crafted after the match will bring more foreign direct investment (FDI) into Pakistan. Karachi is golden gates for investors; the whole episode of this vibrant event will eventually attract the world’s attention towards the city of lights.
Karachi has been labelled as a city of terrorists, killers, and militants notorious for the incitement of communal violence. This event was a slap in the face of all caricatures who still label Karachi as a distressed city. The law and order situation has improved, as the cultural and musical events are on-going in Karachi, whereas this mega event has put in the last nail in the coffin. This event played a role in perception management in building a soft image in favour of Karachi. This soft image of Karachi will take back the city on same heights on which it was in past.
Nation Wide Message:
In the holistic view, the accomplishment of this event was not done by one institution, organ or segment of the country. This event proved that whole Pakistan was on one platform, from legislatures to executive, from executive to the public when they stood together as a binding force and sent the message to the whole world that “united we stand”. This message was also vital as Pakistan is ushering into a new era of development from the perspective of China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The social fabric of Karachi was shredded by the menace of terrorism. But now again Karachi has been vitalized and regained its momentum. This order must be kept in proper framework and authorities must not repeat the same mistakes which leads the city in hands of outliers. Karachi was important for Pakistan, it is, and it will play a significant role in the development of Pakistan. The only thing to do is to secure its stabilization, which can be only done by the maintaining of law and order situation.
is a lecturer at the Muslim Youth University. He has done his M.Phil from the National Defence University, Islamabad. Ousama writes on contemporary issues related to foreign policy and security.