News / Asia

    Violence Cripples Pakistan's Economic Hub

    Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi is the country’s economic engine and home to some 20 million people. It is also the country’s most violent city, where gangs aligned with local political parties settle scores with shoot-outs. The violence is taking a toll on the country's commercial hub.
     
    Political killings, honor killings, kidnappings and gang warfare are not uncommon in this city.

    Violence taking a toll

    According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, more than 1,450 people including children were killed in Karachi in the first six months of this year. That’s an average of about 6 people a day.

    Karachi produces more than 50 percent of Pakistan’s revenue. Businessmen like Naeem Ahmed, a member of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, say the daily violence is impacting the country’s economy. “If Karachi is not working well, it does not just mean that Karachi is not working, it means Pakistan is not working,” he explained.

    Police say they don’t have the manpower to secure such a large city, where there is high unemployment and poverty-driven crime.

    Beyond law enforcement

    Businessmen say political parties also are also using violence to gain economic power. Police chief Ahmed Farooqi says political violence is beyond law enforcement's ability to control.

    “Police can stop them for a little while, [stop] this violence to happen, but for larger stability, and a larger improvement in the law and order situation, the political forces must come into play,” he said.

    There is also a lot of wealth in Karachi. And people want protection. Despite strict licensing procedures, gun sales are up. And not only among men, says shop manager Mahmoud Salim.

    “Besides hunting and paper target shooting at the range, people also buy guns for personal protection, and that also includes women, even young women," he added. "They come and they want to have a license, they want to have a weapon for their personal security.”
     
    Businessmen say the only solution will come from political parties joining forces, and tackling the problems, rather than being a part of them.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: john from: german
    September 03, 2012 11:42 PM
    Nobody can deny the fact that killings, kidnappings and gang warfare go together with Muslim, no economics will develope in those regions.
    In Response

    by: shamsherzada from: los angeles
    September 11, 2012 1:42 PM
    western society has a good way of blaming everything that ails muslim countries as somehow being the fault of islam. its like saying nazi germany represented all of christianity, or that american policy is the policy of all western countires(not that our policies are bad for us at least) so all this muslim hating wont get us anywhere but where we r now. so please lets move this conversation past blaming a religion and get to the root cause of it.(karachi) was swamped by imigrants once british raj gave independence to india and pakistan, the local populace never embraced the imigrants wholeheartedly and that exactly whats behind all this violence.so a little research will go a long way dont b like all those brainwashed people who keep repeating the same mantra............

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