Karachi vs Lahore

Image008.jpgThe debate seems to be as old as the two remarkably different yet important cities themselves. Last time I was here in Lahore, it was that fateful October of 1999 that saw Musharraf taking over the power from Nawaz Sharif. Incidentally, six years later, my next visit to the city is around the same time of the year and, more interestingly, with similar but more interesting times in our national politics.

But there is so much more to life than politics – like roads, trees, rickshaws, license plates, traffic policemen and building s’ heights.

It is normal for a Karachite who has not been to Lahore for a long time to indulge in the almost involuntary comparison between the two cities of pride. While there are so many things that stand out between the two – from the color of the sand to that of the traffic policemen’s uniform here is what I noted in the first 10 minutes on the roads of Lahore:

Image011.jpgThe motorbikes are getting standardized license plates. Not only are these bigger and clearer, in due course of time when most of these motorbikes are switched to the new format, they should help in reducing the problems associated with the make-at-home number plates that are used in Karachi.

The rickshaws have their rare unnecessarily exposed. I spotted the make of the chassis to be that of Vespa and hence this seems like more of a ‘city trademark’ than a technical necessity. Their cousins in Karachi are more demure.

I also spotted the traffic policemen equipped – so logically – with a headset to let them talk on their radios while controlling the tidal flows of the city which somehow also appears to be relatively saner than that in Karachi. They looked smart. The headset, I am sure, costs nothing, but it saves the hassle of having one hand constantly engaged in using the radios – a fate that finds its way to the traffic police in Karachi.

I did not travel in the old city except for once during these 48 hours. But I traveled for work in the new city over a hundred kilometers and kept on waiting without any success for a bumpy road – or even a patch like that. I was, honestly, feeling somewhat uneasy on the roads that were smooth and well marked. May be I deserve the bad roads that seems to be part of my life back in Karachi. I don’t know.

And finally, like an envious Karachite used to to live in a jungle of concrete, I was pleasantly struck by the greenery here and at the same time saddened by the lack of same back at home. But the even bigger surprise was a banner put up by the local Government that talked about planting more trees and associating it with the environment. I was duly impressed. The high rises residential apartments that dot every corner of Karachi without any fail were hard to spot in Lahore.

I must return back to Karachi tonight. I wish I had a magic copier of sorts that would let me copy – in full color, shape and form the good things I spotted here and paste that all back onto Karachi. But then, I am not sure if that sudden change would pose a health hazard to the fifteen million Karachiites who are used to of braving the inhuman behemoth Karachi has become.

80 Comments so far

  1. Lahori (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

    Most of the credit for Lahore’s progress goes to current Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi.
    Those Karachies who say that Karachi suffers becoz of Lahore or Punjab must get past this old Rant and come up with a new one, Musharraf is supporting Karachi from the beginning while there has been no federal help in Lahore’s projects except Ring Road which is going on at a snail’s pace.


  2. Lahori (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

    Most of the credit for Lahore’s progress goes to current Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi.
    Those Karachies who say that Karachi suffers becoz of Lahore or Punjab must get past this old Rant and come up with a new one, Musharraf is supporting Karachi from the beginning while there has been no federal help in Lahore’s projects except Ring Road which is going on at a snail’s pace.


  3. Lahori (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

    Most of the credit for Lahore’s progress goes to current Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi.
    Those Karachies who say that Karachi suffers becoz of Lahore or Punjab must get past this old Rant and come up with a new one, Musharraf is supporting Karachi from the beginning while there has been no federal help in Lahore’s projects except Ring Road which is going on at a snail’s pace.


  4. RockOnKarachi (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

    Once again….

    KARACHI ROCKS!
    ROCK ON KARACHI!


  5. imran (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

    What the hell is this “your comments have been received and waiting for blog owner’s approval”” what happend to the freedom of speech on KMB>…now everybody’s comments will require approval..

    The above message I recieved when I tried to post comments for “The Essence Of Time In Light Of Karachi’s Weddings” Author Zainub Rizvi…


  6. SELF (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

    “KARACHI ROCKS!
    ROCK ON KARACHI!”

    Can do with a little less rocking

    کراچی:بس پر فائرنگ، چھ ہلاک

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2007/09/070913_minibus_attack_rza.shtml


  7. RockOnKarachi (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    Karachi walas Rock simply because they are BRAVE enough to survive and live happily… Karachi is targeted by terrorists, racists and yet Karachi is alive and kicking!

    May God bless our Karachi! Ameen
    ROCK ON KARACHI & fight againts racists and terrorists!


  8. Karachi wala (unregistered) on September 14th, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

    First thing ……
    Karachi is contributing 67% of GDP.
    Secondly ……
    Even in terms of amount what karachi gets is less than lahore . And you can refer to any newspaper, any website. The reason given is, Since lahore is the capital of largest province of Pakistan so it should get more.
    Development budget approved for this yr reward punjab with 35 bn and sindh with only 5 bn. then how the hell even in terms of money karachi can get more than lahore.

    Now for those who have been criticizing on the politicians and on going projects of khi.
    When ever some builder tries to build a building over 30-35 floors PAF have a problem with that since they have bases all over khi. Victim projects have been Karachi finnacial tower, dolmen city (construction is halted due to paf notice), FPCCI tower, KPT tower. and many more.

    There is an institue named IAP(institue of architects Pakistan) based in lahore/islamabad. Whenever there is project proposed in khi. They are up with some funny objections.Victimized projects are Expressway over Sharah e faisal, and karachi mass transit Project.

    Now coming to those 2 islands. The objections were not at all posed by the politicians of karachi. But those F__kin sindhi politician, who even would not any knowledge about those island before the project was proposed.

    Now in general about the political scene in khi.
    From every corner of pakistan, a politician have to come to khi for their rally. Y not lahore.
    Y MMA chose khi for their rally when all of thier big names belong to lahore. Y ANP have to make their rallies in khi . Y imran khan always want to come to khi for their rallies y not lahore.

    Some one above claimed The most of the ppl in khi wants to go abroad and settle there. Go to overseas ministry, and see the stats, mostly ppl from upper and central punjab are settled abroad not from khi.

    Now if the Fedral govt is really conern about khi, y not there are more pubic sector unis in khi as compared to lahore, y there are more public hospitals in lahore as compared to karachi, y there are more it parks in lahore than karachi even no. of s/w houses in khi are more.

    I have been to lhr for 2 times. No doubt it is much greener than khi (but don’t forget it’s harder to make khi green as most of the land in khi is semi desert), much cleaner. But still the live is missing there. To be very true city blacks out after 12 mid night, empty roads almost no traffic.
    (one thing i need to mention here, lahoris don;t know how to drive, they have no traffic rules. i didn’t see any car stpping on red light :) )
    On the other hand khi is full of life. Even at 3 am you can see alots of car moving on roads. Rush at restaurants 10-15 km aways from khi (highways restaurants) can be seen at even 1-1:30 am.
    and I am fan of the traffic jams of karachi ….
    and that’s due to the number of cars not due to the breaking of traffic rules as i saw in lahore.
    I love to see the sharah-e-faisal jam from Regent to Nursary flyover. and this 2-3 KM is just because of number of cars . Which cannont be seen in anyother city of pakistan. And they need atleast 10 yrs to make such jams.

    With all the prob Karachi have, with all the extended support by federation to lahore and Islamabad, Karachi still leads and will lead for ever. Still the ppl in karachi are pround to be Pakistani. GA Karachi walay

    Since the 60 yrs of independence karachi sill contributes the most in GDP and % has increased with yrs instead of decreasing.

    Zindabad Pakistan
    Zindabad Karachi
    Zindabad Karachi Walay

    Love your Karachi


  9. SELF (unregistered) on September 14th, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

    “Karachi is contributing 67% of GDP”

    Can you substantiate your claim? What is it that Karachi has to contribute? The biggest money earners; cotton, wheat, rice, leather…how much of those are produced in Karachi? Or are you implying 65% of industry and/or services exist in Karachi?

    Let’s once and for all put this matter of 70 or 67% contribution to rest.


  10. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on September 14th, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

    Pakistan’s largest export: Textiles

    Where most of the cotton is grown? Answer: Punjab.

    Pakistan’s largest cash crop: Rice

    Where most of the paddy crop is sown? Answer: Punjab.

    We should not fool ourselves by blatantly bragging about ‘my city’ or ‘your city’, rather stop this BLAME GAME!!

    What this post was about, a genuine observation of Karachiite visitng Lahore after 8 years and look where this discussion was taken by these few people… B[


  11. RockOnKarachi (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 5:23 am

    The funniest part is that Lahoris compare there whole province with one city that is Karachi, I mean Karachi vs Lahore makes sense not Karachi vs Punjab!
    Well Lahoris prooved it, that Karachi ROCKS AND RULES!!!


  12. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 7:28 am

    Another thing is “Karachi” is name of thinking and living.


  13. SELF (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 10:42 am

    “The funniest part is that Lahoris compare there whole province with one city that is Karachi”

    Actually its the posters above comparing Karachi with the whole country….and implying that the rest of the country only contributes around 30-33% which to me sounds a little preposterous but I am waiting for some evidence before making judgment.


  14. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

    ‘Self’ is right. My comment was also for the same people.


  15. ashaikh (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

    “Karachi accounts for more than two-thirds of total revenue generated by the Central Board of Revenue each year. ”
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_2-6-2004_pg5_10

    “Though only 4 out of 18 customs clearance houses are located in Karachi, 50 per cent of all the customs revenue is generated in Karachi.”
    http://www.pakistaneconomist.com/database1/cover/c2002-62.asp

    “During the year1995-96 the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) collected Rs568 billion or 89 per cent of total tax revenue of Federal and Provincial governments. Karachi’s share in total revenue stood at 71 per cent.”
    http://www.pakistaneconomist.com/database2/cover/c99-15.asp.

    “Half of the sales tax collected in Karachi was distributed in all parts of West Pakistan.” … “It was in 1974 NFC award that sales tax was completely federalized and the noises made in Karachi were ignored. It declared population as the only criterion for distribution of revenue.”
    http://www.dawn.com/2005/06/06/ebr15.htm


  16. From Karachi (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

    Well done Ashaikh
    I would extend it a bit more

    well a post earlier says
    “Karachi is contributing 67% of GDP”, its not GDP but the revenue generated.
    Then Karachi contributes 50% of revenue generated by customs.
    Trading activities in Karachi is reflected by how the 2 stock exchanges of karachi are performing comparing to the rest in Pakistan.
    (For proof watch any pk news or business channel)
    If Karachi was not that great why almost all the major names in pk have their head offices in Karachi.
    (http://invest.surferzag.com/?p=6)
    Why still Government is not able to move state bank to Islamabad.

    With no offense against the rest of Pakistan at least they should realize the fact the Karachi is the BackBone of Pakistan Economy.

    I would like to add one more Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Karachi


  17. Ali (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

    Ham apas mai he lartai rahai gai .. stop blammin shoaib akhtar or shahid afridi or asif bhai .. galti govt. ke nahe hamari hai ..


  18. A for [pine]apple (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 2:30 am

    @Obi Wan Kenobi:

    Dear, Lahore is a name of not only thinking and living … Lahore is a kaifiyat :D


  19. karachi (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 5:37 am

    For SELF and Hasan Mubarak

    “Pakistan’s largest export: Textiles

    Where most of the cotton is grown? Answer: Punjab.

    Pakistan’s largest cash crop: Rice

    Where most of the paddy crop is sown? Answer: Punjab.”

    Which city has the most no. of textile mills : Karachi.
    (Infact all big names are in karachi)

    It’s the textile good that contributes towards the GDP not the cotton it self.

    Now my dear its the part of history that we are self sufficient in wheat and rice. Though condition of rice is not that dad as of wheat but it’s the matter of few yrs now. And the condition to wheat is quite visible yrly we import tons of wheat to fullfil our needs. :D

    It would be better if u compare lahore and sailkot
    for industry and GDP b/c karachi is far far far far ahead of any other city in Pakistan.


  20. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

    My dear friends, we are not here comparing. It was just a realization that one city cannot exist without the rest of the country. Karachi IS the largest and one of the most important cities in Pakistan. Yes, it is, we don’t deny it. But it cannot be so without the rest of the country…

    Plus, I’ve never been defiant of Karachi’s economic importance, rather, I condemn this blame game of accusing Lahore and Punjab of all Karachi’s miseries.

    That’s the point. Buss, aur kuch nahin! :)


  21. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

    70% Army Punjabies, 70% CSS jobs Punjabies. Go to any govt office in Khi and you will find punjabi officers. One of my friend was selected in PAF GDP program and he left it in middle because he was accused so many times of being “Nazuk” Urdu Speaking Muhajir(in Mid 90s). No Sindhi or Muhajir wants to trust in Punjab, See an example of Kala Bagh dam. These were the punjabies who broke the country in 1971. See any history book, the banglas always accussed Punjabies.

    I am not racist nor have any prejudice against any one but Punjab should accept that Karachi feeds them.


  22. Karachi (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

    For:
    Obi Wan Kenobi
    “Punjab should accept that Karachi feeds them” HAHAHA quite true..
    I am still unable to find any sindhi or urdu speaker in khi police.. I can see only pubjabisss …… this is an interesting fact ….

    One more interesting thing about this conversation it started with some observable differences between kh and lahore then it became karachi vs lahore and now it’s karachi vs Punjab.

    This too shows Lahore is small enough to be compared with karachi. ;)

    Now getting to some serious issues…..
    This blog is accessible thru out the world. This is quite shamefull that we instead of potraying great Pakistan are fighting against each other (ek dosray ki pole khol rahay hain). I have never seen a city comparision blog progressing in this way wheter it is newyork vs chicago , mumbai vs banglore vs dehli or some thing else.

    Karachi has its own importance and lahore has it’s own. The fact Karachi progressed with such a pace was the port and memon and parsi community and initial educated worker force that migrated from india. This really help making karachi the economic and finnancial capital of Pakistan. And this status cannot be challenged. And should be accepted open heartedly.
    Again the importance of lahore lies in its history and IT challenge it has took up in modern days.

    Instead of rivalry that’s harmful for the country lets make this rivalry constructive. This would be better for our future and for the prosperity of our country.


  23. SELF (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:21 pm

    I could not find any like for like reliable figures for Karachi vs. country’s GDP but here is what I got;

    According to http://www.citymayors.com/statistics/richest-cities-2005.html Karachi had a GDP of $55billion in 2005. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Pakistan, Pakistan’s total estimated GDP is $475.5 billion in 2007. A rough guess as to how much it was in 2005 (at half of 2007) would be $237.75. That makes Karachi’s GDP at 23% of country’s. I know Pakistan’s GDP figure is adjusted for PPP i.e. the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is calculated on a purchasing power parity, which adjusts the actual GDP per capita based on the costs of living in that country or city. I don’t know if Karachi’s GDP figure is adjusted for PPP making it a like for like comparison. If anyone has better figures please fee free to share.

    So taking Karachi’s GDP to 23% for now, since we are comparing Karachi with the rest of the country, let’s take out everything that Karachi gets from rest of Pakistan (cotton, leather, food, gas, oil, salt and even water) and recalculate the GDP (for a fairer comparison), which to my mind would be close to 0%.

    Those who claim that Karachi is feeding Pakistan, please feel free to not take what country gives them and see how long they can survive.

    I am not going to debate on how Karachi was a city well before any of the…ahem..guests…came in. I have highest respect for struggle for Pakistan and for those who suffered immensely as a result so no going there for me. I would however make some passing references to some facts; Lahore was *the best* (yeah check the history) in combined indo-pak, being the capital of the richest province. After partition, the capital of the nation should have been somewhere in Punjab being the majority province such as in Rawalpindi which would have taken the investment there. The national language of the country should have been Punjabi instead of Urdu which makes the majority of population learn another language while a minority gets away with without even learning the language of the majority (and seems somewhat proud of it as well), indeed a unique case in the history of nations. In most countries majorities will not even allow official recognition to minority languages/dialects let alone sacrifice their own language. Cotton is produced in Punjab, why was first textile mill set up in Karachi? …and many other points like this….but enough for now.


  24. SELF (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:35 pm

    We have an Urdu speaking President, Chief of Army Staff, Prime Minister, Governor Sindh, City Nazam and so on…

    First of all how come all these guys got there, if there is so much prejudice? Secondly we all know the mess the country and Karachi is in…

    In this country everyone got a chance to ruin the country and Karachi.. including the urdu speaking…so no complains there please.


  25. Syed Johny (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

    @ Self
    brother most of these points backfire at you dude!
    If you say Karachi’s GDP is 25 % of Pakistan !

    Then Why does Karachi give’s about 70% of Taxes too???
    What does that corresponds to???? 25% GDP is generating 70% tax!!
    “Lahore was *the best* (yeah check the history) in combined indo-pak, being the capital of the richest province. ”
    “After partition, the capital of the nation should have been somewhere in Punjab being the majority province such as in Rawalpindi which would have taken the investment there.”
    Ok ! Why was Punjabi Bureaucracy afraid of moving Capital to Dhaka?? When Bengal had more that 50% of Population! and something more! Before 1971 Everyone in Bureaucracy opposed division of Govt on sole basis of population, While just after 1971 Punjabis demanded that the division of Govt funds should be on the basis of Population Factor only!!
    As far as uoy richest province is concerned ! I dont know from where you get ur statistics ! A/c to Oxfords Pakistan Encyclopedia Dated 1994 (I have Hard Copy!) Sind was the most Urbanized province of Pakistan!

    I also can go on and on ! start start craping like you buddy!

    And when you say that U should have adopted Punjabi as national Language, just cause you are in Majority ! Why wasn’t Bengali Allowed to be the National Language when they were in Majority !!!

    Learn the history ! and then start your Crap about the Issue!


  26. SELF (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

    “This too shows Lahore is small enough to be compared with karachi. ;)”

    According to http://www.citymayors.com/statistics/richest-cities-2005.html Lahore’s GDP is slightly above half of Karachi’s ($55b Karachi vs. $28b Lahore) this goes inline with the fact that Lahore has roughly half the population of Karachi. ;) ;)


  27. SELF (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

    “This too shows Lahore is small enough to be compared with karachi. ;)”

    According to http://www.citymayors.com/statistics/richest-cities-2005.html Lahore’s GDP is slightly above half of Karachi’s ($55b Karachi vs. $28b Lahore) this goes inline with the fact that Lahore has roughly half the population of Karachi. ;) ;)


  28. SELF (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

    “This too shows Lahore is small enough to be compared with karachi. ;)”

    According to http://www.citymayors.com/statistics/richest-cities-2005.html Lahore’s GDP is slightly above half of Karachi’s ($55b Karachi vs. $28b Lahore) this goes inline with the fact that Lahore has roughly half the population of Karachi. ;) ;)


  29. Syed Johny (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

    @ Self
    brother most of these points backfire at you dude!
    If you say Karachi’s GDP is 25 % of Pakistan !

    Then Why does Karachi give’s about 70% of Taxes too???
    What does that corresponds to???? 25% GDP is generating 70% tax!!
    “Lahore was *the best* (yeah check the history) in combined indo-pak, being the capital of the richest province. ”
    “After partition, the capital of the nation should have been somewhere in Punjab being the majority province such as in Rawalpindi which would have taken the investment there.”
    Ok ! Why was Punjabi Bureaucracy afraid of moving Capital to Dhaka?? When Bengal had more that 50% of Population! and something more! Before 1971 Everyone in Bureaucracy opposed division of Govt on sole basis of population, While just after 1971 Punjabis demanded that the division of Govt funds should be on the basis of Population Factor only!!
    As far as uoy richest province is concerned ! I dont know from where you get ur statistics ! A/c to Oxfords Pakistan Encyclopedia Dated 1994 (I have Hard Copy!) Sind was the most Urbanized province of Pakistan!

    I also can go on and on ! start start craping like you buddy!

    And when you say that U should have adopted Punjabi as national Language, just cause you are in Majority ! Why wasn’t Bengali Allowed to be the National Language when they were in Majority !!!

    Learn the history ! and then start your Crap about the Issue!


  30. Syed Johny (unregistered) on September 16th, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

    Brother ! even if Lahores GDP is half !!
    but why dont the Lahoris Pay taxes????



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