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KARACHI

KARACHI Before becoming Pakistan’s first capital in 1947, Karachi was a small port city with a population of only 200,000 The choice of Karachi was the result, in part, of its geographical location The city expanded rapidly but haphazardly after 1947, largely because of migration by people seeking to avail themselves of the opportunities it seemed to offer Migration was to play an important role in Karachi’s growth, more so than in other cities of Pakistan Migrants arrived in three “waves”; the first involved people displaced by the partition of British India and the creation of Pakistan; the second was comprised of the people who arrived a few years later to seek jobs in the rapidly expanding economy of the city; the third wave consisted of Afghans who sought both shelter and jobs in the city after their country was invaded by the Soviet UnionWhile the migrations associated with these waves added significantly to the growth in the population of Karachi, regular movements of people into the city from other parts of the country also brought hundreds of thousands of people to the growing metropolis In 1961, Karachi had a population of 19 million; by 1972, the population was estimated at 35 million; it grew to 51 million by 1981



In 1992, when Pakistan should have taken its fifth population census, Karachi had67 million living within its boundaries By the end of 1997, 50 years after the creation of Pakistan, Karachi’s population had exceeded 9 million; the census of 1998 estimated the city’s population at 93 million In 2005, the city’s population was estimated at 13 millionIn the 1980s the muhajir (refugees from India who arrived in Pakistan after the country gained independence in 1947) community organized itself into an effective political force under the banner of the Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz (MQM) The MQM won an impressive victory in the local elections held in November 1987 and went on to repeat its performance in the national elections held a year later Its electoral triumph in the national elections was at the expense of two powerful but competing political forces: the Pakistan People’s Party and the Jamaat-e-Islami It was clear that the MQM had drawn a larger number of people from these two parties In the national elections of October 1990, the MQM repeated its performance It was now a potent political force that had to be dealt with

The MQM went on to capture most of the seats on the National and Provincial Assemblies from Karachi in the elections of October 1993, February 1997, and October 2002 Migration from India-in particular from what is now called Uttar Pradesh-brought exponents of conservative and political Islam to the city Many of the new arrivals were influenced by the teachings of seminaries such as Deobandi Darul Uloom Some of the refugees established dini madrassas in Karachi patterned after the school at Deoband These schools turned Karachi into one of the centers of extremist Islam in West Asia See also ORANGI

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