Understanding Pakistan through the story of Karachi
I would skim through the daily accounts of targeted killings of political workers and gang battles, the latest convulsions in the multiple conflicts that have racked Karachi for decades. In 1947, Karachi was a port city with a population of fewer than 500,000 people. In the decades since Partition, Karachi has been home to a series of complex and ever-evolving conflicts, with sectarian and ethnic resentment mingling with politics and organized crime. Later, people flooded into Karachi from Afghanistan, displaced by the war, and from Pakistan's north-west and elsewhere in the country because of violence or natural disaster. The Pakistan People's Party, traditionally one of the main parties of national government, is grounded in the heartlands of Sindh, the province in which Karachi sits. The Pakistan Muslim League, the other main party of government, barely features in Karachi because it focuses almost entirely on its ethnic Punjabi base. Understanding Karachi felt crucial to understanding Pakistan.