Tariq Road – Once at the fore, but not anymore?

What is the ultimate Karachi shopping experience? Some say Park Towers…. No. The Forum?  Not really. Those places are too small to be worthy of being named the “Ultimate”. Once upon a time however, it used to be the Saddar area. Most especially, the Elphinstone Street (current Zaib-un-Nissa street) where you would find most upmarket and good shopping outlets in Karachi. But that was also the days of yore. For our current day and the recent past, the reigning position has consistently been occupied by the Tariq Road. This has most definitely been a go-to place for all sorts of families and all sorts of people to buy all sorts of things apparel related. For easily about two decades Tariq road has occupied the top spot on the Karachi shopping scene. And very rightly so. It is a bazaar-cum-market-cum-mall where you can find the best deals, the best bargains, the most variety and the most seasoned material. Could you say its Karachi’s Oxford Street or İstiklal Avenue? ummmm……

Karachi (2)

Nah, I wouldn’t really say that. Its much too dirty and overcrowded to be compared to elegant places like those. If I get any foreign visitors, I will definitely keep them the hell away from Tariq Road. So why has it really become like that? I remember when I was young, the name Tariq road used to bring to mind images of a very lively shopping scene. Now when I think of it, I only think of horrible traffic jams, broken roads, pollution, noise, and wayy too many people with nowhere to move.

And garbage on the medians?

And garbage on the medians?

I think our city government really forgot about this golden road. Oft trodden, but now forgotten. In the span of the past few years, the CDGK has carried out remarkable development activity in Karachi – something no other government could ever achieve – however it really needs to be reminded about the plight of this road before the current setup gets brushed aside and somebody incompetent ends up taking its place. There is much to be fixed here, and some of it can easily be done. However once done, it will make the shopping experience at Tariq road something to talk about once again. Here are a few suggested improvements:

  • Re-carpet the entire stretch of the road. The current road condition is very grating. The older carpeting had been greatly destroyed. There are holes, rubbly stretches, places to test your off-roading skills etc. all to be found in close vicinity of each other. Re-carpeting will make the road more drivable, pleasant, and will ease the traffic jams a little. And no, patch fixing will not help.
  • Make proper high sidewalks on both sides of the road, and repair the median. This is essential as both are broken beyond recognition, and both are in urgent need of repair. In the case of sidewalks, I think it would be almost a first time construction other than the sidewalks created by the mall builders themselves.
  • Build big parking plazas on the back streets of every block, and prohibit parking on the main road. Now this is a very lofty aim and I think it will not be accomplished easily – if ever. It must also be made obligatory for every new building / mall to construct underground or above ground parking floors to accomodate the amount of cars they aim to attract. For shopkeepers and shoppers alike. They should be allowed to charge for it so they can recover their building expenses.
Chaos theory originated from here.

Chaos theory originated here.

  • Make lots of pedestrian bridges along the whole stretch of the road, 2-3 per block, and screen off pedestrian use of the main road using decorated iron grills.
  • Make sidewalk zones where street vendors can display their wares easily and away from obstruction. However, the street vendors should be allowed to stay at Tariq road to maintain its ambience.
  • Have a proper garbage collection system set up. (— well actually all of Karachi would benefit from that).

Now I may be dreaming here with making all these extraordinarily wonderful suggestions, however due to the excellent performance of CDGK over the past few years, I am pretty sure it can accomplish this if it sets its mind on the task. Maybe send a link to Mustafa Kamal? I am sure however, that once this work is accomplished, this street will once again be able to regain the reigns of the Karachi shopping experience.

Say what?

Say what?

7 Comments so far

  1. Sheeraz (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2010 @ 2:09 am

    Tariq Road is truly the lifeline of Karachi. It has everything for all income groups, from cheap apparels in Uzma Center to branded clothing in Dolmen Mall. CDGK should pay attention to this road. They can designate it a traffic-free zone, at least during evening and night peak shopping times.

  2. بستنی (wasiq) on February 2nd, 2010 @ 5:55 am

    @balma jee….aap bhi na…khamakhaan bachay per naraz ho rahey hain…perdesh main raha hai ….usko yeah sahulatt nahein mili naa…
    btw,pole mounted tyres and tube could only mean two things….pitstop ahead…or life guard nearby….but since this is a market place very far from the beach…

    @Sheeraz saab….sir believe me….they have tried every possible option and experimented practically in the past decade….there is also a problem of what our dear friend fasee saab highlighted in another post here at KMB of 5% not getting the penguins…(possible hee nahein hai) apart from the main roads the area is still a residential area…lol

    @Swerveut dear….all I can see in your post is shinny cars…jam packed streets and the illuminated malls …so I don’t understand what else do you want ….

    Then I see the edge I look I fall
    And I get deeper and deeper
    The more I see the more I fall no place to hide
    You better take the call
    I get deeper and deeper

    I’m goin’ deeper underground
    There’s too much panic in this town
    I’m goin’ deeper underground

  3. SwERveUT (swerveut) on February 2nd, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    @ Wasiq: Its all about vision and progress. You seem to go for the least, I however go for the most.

    @ all: Please no retarded comments. Keep your comments constructive, listen to your parents and go to school. It will help you in your life.

  4. balma on February 2nd, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

    haa-ai’n, hamaara tabsirah nikaal diyaa gayaa!!!?????
    Aray, LalooKhet kaa naam kyaa lay liyaa, hangaamah ho gayaa?

    Fasiq dude, desis have been going overseas for education for a long time….remember Iqbal, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, first PM Liaquat Ali Khan who gave his name to LalooKhet, Pandit Nehru? They could all read the poster in Urdu above the stack of tyres!
    Yes, they all listened to their parents and went to school:-)

  5. SwERveUT (swerveut) on February 2nd, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

    Dude, I feel sorry for you for not having understood the joke. The sign is for a tyre fixing shop in the middle of a clothes market. Where even the thella-wallas sell clothes. And obviously, you have got to give credit to the very beautiful method of advertisement – sticking up tyres on a cut up tree trunk. This is why I am saying, go to school.

  6. Master Yoda (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    @ swerveut,

    dude, we all go to sakool and kallege….but only girls sakool n girls collge…..

    i remmebr in early age when i had just joined office work..there used to be a pretty girl maybe 9th or 10th grade….we used to run down our office building to have aglimse of her when she passed by with her bag ( and a new boyfirend every week )…..

    but surprise surprsie….we were not alone..there were many 40 n 50 plus office people follwoign this ritual…..

    ( kon kehta haihum ko taleem say piyaar nai )

    “TYRE on teh pole”

    and i thought achanak pamela anderson kaheen say bhagti hoi a jai gi apni red bikini main….

    wudnt it be a great tourist attraction for tariq road….wud be good for busineess

    ( yet bad for teen talwar ka WOH wala business )

  7. بستنی (wasiq) on February 2nd, 2010 @ 11:46 pm

    @fasee saab….sir I have been trying to keep my mouth shut…but this really gave you away….btw…why only 50..? don’t you have a Djuice connection then…lol

    @balma jee….yes sir …ok sir….jin buzugh an-ay deen wa dunia ka aap ney zikar farmaya hai…bey shaq hum unhee ki waja sey aaj hain….but they went to europe and america to teach and learn…whereas most of our kids these day go to learn and teach….and I try to stay out of their way….please you(janab) do the same…thankyou!

    @swerveut dear…..REALITY BITES !

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