Karachi-the Concrete and the Humane
Karachi-the Concrete and the Humane

This comprehensive two-part essay has been authored by Dr Suneela Ahmed and Laraib Asdaf respectively. While Ahmed’s writing engages with the swift transformations of the city’s public architecture, with a design language evolving from global influences and local aspirations along with a substantial sprinkle of political agendas and personal ambitions of the decision makers, Asdaf’s piece centers around the socio-political narrative which has (and continues to) shape Karachi.


In Search of an Architectural Identity for Karachi

Dr Suneela Ahmed

Public architecture of a city is what defines its built form vocabulary. Public buildings are what come to mind mostly when one thinks about a particular urban center. It is the evolution of these buildings that is a major part of any historical study about a nation, its politics and evolution. It is also intrinsically connected to projection of an identity for the city, which in itself is intangible, but funnily it is reflected through the tangible-built form design. Countries, like Pakistan, that experienced Colonization, searched for this identity after independence, and got the answers through reliance on Modernism at times, and on Nationalism at other times, and on Islamisation at still other times. With the changing ideas and reflections about the concept of identity, the tangible outcome changed too, in the form of buildings with minimalistic fare faced finishes reflecting shift towards Modernism, or appearance of arches and domes on buildings, screaming ‘Islamisation’.  More recently, as the search for identity continues, buildings inhabited by Multi National Corporations (MNCs) commission sky scrapers clad in glass and steel, to present a progressive/ global image of an urban center.

Karachi, a mega city, the main sea port and the largest city of Pakistan, has experienced swift transformations in design language of its public architecture, which is related to global influences, local aspirations, political agendas and at times personal aspirations of the decision makers. Karachi is generally a low-rise, low-density city, especially when compared to build up densities of cities like London, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok or Tokyo. Karachi gives the delusion of being a congested city, not because of built up density but because of poor traffic management. Karachi has a few major arteries that define its overall form and morphology, namely Share-e-Faisal, M.A Jinnah Road, Share-e-Liaquat, Shaheed-e-Millat, Shahra-e-Quaideen, University Road, I.I Chundigarh, Stadium Road and a few other roads along further south of the city.  These main arteries are doted by so called ‘high rise’ public buildings. I say ‘so-called’ because they are medium or low rise buildings according to international standards so most of them have a height of twenty to twenty five floors. A few taller buildings have now started emerging along the I.I Chundigarh Road, which happens to be the Central Business District, and are head offices of local or international banks.

When one searches on the internet for public architecture of Karachi, all Colonial buildings pop up, ranging from D.J. College, Holy Trinity Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Mohatta Palace, Frere Hall, Empress Market, KMC Building, KPT Building, to Flag Staff House, with the only post partition example being the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam. This reflects on the Colonial Identity of the city, as defined by these public buildings. It has been seventy-four years since the formation of the country, and having experienced colonization, the country like other similar countries of the global south, have been searching for an identity through its public architecture.

Karachi was the capital of the country until 1960, thus it experienced a major thrust in the building activity. All types of buildings were constructed, and the British establishment of Public Works Department (PWD) continued to exist and was very active. A number of distinct public buildings were constructed under PWD up until 1970s, ranging from public schools, to office buildings, to post offices, to hospitals, to religious buildings. Big names were associated with PWD during this period, like Mehdi Ali Mirza and M.A Ahed. Minoo Mistry, Pyar Ali Mehr, Tajuddin Bhamani, Pir Mohammed, Abdul Hussain Thariani, H.H. Khan and R.S. Rustumjee were other architects practicing in the city during this period, and were mainly subscribers of the modernist movement. Some of these architects were trained from J.J. School of Architecture in Mumbai, and bought with them novel ideas and a search for identity for a nation that had just come into existence, through architecture. Thus, the public buildings belonging to this time period were rich in their compositions, reflecting high sensitivity and revealing rich theoretical exploration. Some of the buildings constructed under PWD during this time period include the Telegraph Office, Printing Press Corporation of Pakistan, Telephone Exchange Building, Liaquat Memorial Library, Government Architecture School and Jinnah Hospital. Some of the other public buildings, which went on to define the architectural vocabulary of the city, and were designed by some well-known architects of the city as private consultants included a number of State Life Building, the Metropole Hotel building, Institute of Business Administration, Godeon Kinema, PIDC House, Ritz  Cinema, National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Management Sciences(PIMS), Mandviwala Building, Mohammadi House, ANZ Grindlay’s Bank Building, Qamar House, Federation House, National Museum of Pakistan and the Liaquat National Hospital.

GPO Building, I.I, Chundigarh, designed by M.A. Ahed. Image Courtesy: Architect Ejaz Ahed
GPO Building, I.I, Chundigarh, a sketch by M.A. Ahed. Image Courtesy: Architect Ejaz Ahed
Qamar House, one of the earliest sky scrapers of the city. Image Courtesy: Dr Suneela Ahmed

Once the capital shifted to Islamabad, the thrust of building activity changed as the role of the city was re defined. It was now no longer the political capital but an economic capital of the country. The city was to a large extent also the cultural center of the country. This was coupled with a forceful entry of the philosophies fostered in the west into the local context. Buildings like the Karachi Arts Council and Habib Bank Plaza were constructed during this decade. These public buildings acquired importance because of their boldness, simplicity and placement within the urban context. The typology of these buildings reflected the social norms and need of the society to project itself as the cultural and corporate center of the country. A number of other buildings prescribing to this philosophy and constructed during the 1960s included the Columbus Hotel, Bambino Chambers and  Cinema, Rio Cinema, Income tax office, State Bank Training department, State Life Building # 1, 2, 3 and 11, Jubilee Insurance building, Dawood Center, EFU Buildings and a number of institutional buildings like Board of Secondary Education, Islamia College, Habib Girls School, Aga Khan Primary and Secondary School Karimabad, Habib Girls School and Karachi University.

The Income Tax Office and the General Post Office Building on I.I Chundigarh Road were PWD landmark buildings of this era. Thus, the typology of the buildings built during the 1960s can be categorized into recreational buildings, educational buildings, cooperate buildings or amenity buildings.

The manner in which modernity was reflected in the architecture of this era was “modulated by the respective sensibilities of the architect, the builder and the client.”(Mumtaz, 1999). The academic training of the architect, the cultural dualism of society at large oscillating between Regional and European ideals (Mumtaz, 1999) and the aesthetic values of the builder all contributed towards the eventual shape of these buildings.

A number of foreign architects experimented with designing buildings in Karachi during the 1960s too. This included the Dawood Center and later the American School by Architect William Perry, and Karachi University by the French Architect Eco Chard. The Intercontinental Hotel (later known as Pearl Continental Hotel) was designed by William Tabler in 1970, Habib Bank Plaza by Edward Durrell Stone and PNSC Building by Leo Aidley. Thus, now along with the local architects, a number of foreign architects were searching for the architectural identity of Karachi. All these buildings contributed towards this search, by introducing climatically responsive design details (brisole (sun screens) and deep indented windows), double façade design proposals, easy to maintain finishes and a language which eventually became a local formalistic expression responding to global challenges.

Islamic Chamber Building, designed by Architect Habib Fida Ali. Image Courtesy: Dr Suneela Ahmed

This exploration took a new turn with the implementation of Nationalism policies by Bhutto and eventually with General Zia ul Haq coming to power as the self-proclaimed head of the country. 1970s saw the construction of a number of public buildings like the Civic Center and Awami Markaz, which took reference from architecture of the Islamic world, and incorporated elements of design like the incorporation of courtyards, shallow water pools and the introduction of podiums. A number of buildings also had arches introduced in the design vocabulary of the main facades. The typology of buildings which became the focus of attention during the two decades of 1970s and 1980s were Mosques and a number of government buildings (to accommodate a number of newly nationalized offices). Some of the prominent buildings constructed during this period, besides the ones already mentioned include the Expo Center, Rimpa Plaza, Adamjee House, Pakistan Broadcasting House, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Liaquatabad Super Market, National Insurance Company Building, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Shell House, Marriot Hotel, Aga Khan Maternity Home, the Casino, PIA Squash Complex and Aga Khan University and Hospital.

The process of “Islamisation of modern architecture and modernization of Islamic architecture”(Ahmed, 2020) continued during the Marshal law rule of General Zia Ul Haq. Thus the political agenda had a direct impact on the architectural development of the city.

The Aga Khan University Hospital designed by Payette Associates and the Shell House designed by Habib Fida Ali, are two architectural expressions which can be singled out for having maximum impact on the architectural morphology of the city. These two pieces of architecture became hallmarks within themselves as repose to climate, society and development of local aesthetics.

The 1980s saw the image of the city as the economic hub of the country being amplified as a number of hotels and shopping plazas were constructed during this decade.  The typology of the shopping plazas was inspired by a foreign influence, but this time it was closer to home. As a number of locals were now working in the Middle East and Dubai, the concept of ‘dubaisation’ filtered into the city and was reflected in its architecture. The typology of apartments was introduced in the residential arena, and shopping malls with central air-conditioned atriums started replacing the linear bazaars in the commercial setting. The economic dominance of the city continued during this era, thus the city saw the construction of a number of buildings incorporating various typologies of offices. Some of the significant buildings of this decade are the Regent Plaza, PSO House, Midway House, Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research, Sheraton Hotel, BCCI Building, Cavish Court, Tibet Center, PIC Towers, Shaheen Complex and the Finance and Trade Center.

The 1990s saw a generation of architects who were trained in the west engaged with the building activity in Karachi. The image which they were after now, was something termed as ‘global city’ image, which the task entrusted to them was to create buildings that reflected a progressive image for the city. A city which was globally connected, even if this connection was superficial and pseudo. Thus, the city saw the construction of a number of buildings with glass facades, especially for cooperate architecture, in the post-modernist expression. These buildings did not built upon the existing built form vocabulary, rather introduced a foreign language. Now the debates around the built form had reached a new high, irrespective of the fact whether a building was climatically responsive or not, it was required to be the tallest or the fanciest structures which projected a forward looking image. Thus, all historical ties were broken away with. Most of the buildings along I.I Chudigarh Road and on Shahra-e-Faisal are examples of this theoretical approach. The MCB Bank, UBL Bank, Bakht Tower, Bahria Icon and Dolmen Mall buildings are some of the structures that come to mind prescribing to this design approach.

A recent skyscraper on I. I Chundigarh, the UBL Headquarter. Image Courtesy: Dr Suneela Ahmed

Karachi, having deep rooted Colonial connections, and being the capital of a country created on the pretext of Islamization, its architecture has always faced a duality in its expression. This is further complicated by the recent desire of the politicians to impose a global image on its built form. Thus, in terms of developing a theoretical framework there has always been the confusion of whether the designer should fall back on the Colonial connection, the Islamic relevance or look into the future and create a global image. Thus, the architect is stuck between a revivalist/ global approach, where modernism and minimalism became the new collective identity for the emerging nation, or a historical and cultural restraint, reflecting economic aspiration for the nation.


Retrospect—the Historical and Political Landscape of Karachi

Laraib Asdaf Chaudhry

Karachi is perhaps one of the most complex cities to fathom, especially for those that are barely acquainted with her. My family left Karachi for Lahore in 2017, when I was 19, and since then I have been constantly shifting between Lahore and Toronto (the city of my alma mater). Despite how wonderful these two cities are, I cannot ignore the fact that my heart does not stop yearning for Karachi. Perhaps it was nostalgia, but as time went on, I realized that the reason why I feel this way is because, to me, Karachi is simply incomparable to any other place in the world. Despite the perpetual chaos that she constantly deals with, Karachi remains resilient against all odds. Her story, patience, energy, and character gives me strength and encourages me to want to do better for her and her people.

Karachi is a relatively young city that underwent development rather quickly. She grew from a small fishing city in the 1830s with a mere population of a few thousands to an urban centre with a population of over a million inhabitants by the 1950s. According to the World Population Review, Karachi’s population stands at an astonishing number of approximately 16 million inhabitants today.1 Karachi’s history shows us that it is undoubtedly a city of immigrants and the energetic life that keeps her alive has always stemmed from her multiethnic and multicultural society. This article explores her history and acknowledges the contributions that Karachi’s multicultural community has made to the city throughout her existence.

Karachi’s Bohri Bazaar in the 1970s. Picture Courtesy: Vintage Pakistan

If we observe Karachi’s history, it is clear that the modern city as we know it today began to take its shape under colonial rule. In his 1890 book, Kurrachee: Past, Present, and Future, author Alexander Francis Baillie notes how the city only began to garner attention in the late 1800s, around the time that Baillie wrote this book. He says that it was “as though it (Karachi) had just been discovered or newly acquired.”2 Through this mention, it is clear that the young city was perceived as rather insignificant prior to her colonisation in 1839. Before this date, Karachi was mainly a fishing town ruled by a Sindhi-Baloch dynasty— the Talpurs.3 Baillie’s research on Karachi is significant because it reflects how the interest in the city was piquing during the British rule, and also because he is able record important observations in this book, such as Karachi’s significant population and trade revenue increase since the 1830s. Baillie mentions how Karachi’s population at the time of her colonisation was estimated to be in between 8,000-14,000 inhabitants; however, it grew to 86,000 inhabitants by the 1880s.4 In addition to this, Baillie also notes that four years after the British takeover of the city (1843), Karachi’s total value of imports and exports was at 1.2 million rupees; but by 1885 it exceeded 90 million rupees.5 This remarkable increase in both, population and revenue was exceptional for any city of British India. Karachi’s growing popularity in the subcontinent and within its government made this small city grow into an important urban port city during colonial rule, and after (when it became the most prominent and economically important city for Pakistan).

Picture courtesy: Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Picture courtesy: Nadeem Farooq Paracha

From the mid-nineteenth century until the early twentieth century, the British developed Karachi according to their needs at the time.6 She not only became the army headquarters for the British, but was also made to become an essential port for the region. Some of the infrastructural developments brought in by the British at this time was an 1843 river-streamer service that connected Karachi to Multan. In addition to this, they also brought in a railway that ran from Karachi to Kotri in 1861 (which was later extended to join the Delhi-Punjab railway system in 1878), and by 1864 the British also introduced telegraph communications between London and Karachi. Alongside this, perhaps the most important developments were made in Karachi once the Suez Canal (a narrow canal that provided colonial Europe with the shortest maritime route into the Indian and western Pacific oceans)7 was opened up in 1869. The opening of the Suez Canal dramatically increased Karachi’s importance as she now became a fully functioning and an incredibly significant seaport.8

Once Karachi’s importance was heightened upon emerging as a crucial seaport, her reputation and importance grew almost overnight. The Karachi Port Trust (which still exists today) was set up in 1886, and an 186,000 feet long wharf (the East Wharf) was constructed which enabled Karachi to become the largest grain exporting port for the British Empire by 1914.9 By 1924- following the First World War, Karachi also became the main airport of entry into the subcontinent when an aerodrome was built into the city. The rapid developments and growth of Karachi enabled it to become the provincial capital of Sindh in 1936. The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah also gave Karachi the honor to become the federal capital of Pakistan upon the country’s foundation in 1947; which she briefly took up until 1959.10

Karachi in the 1890s. Picture courtesy: Vintage Pakistan
Karachi in the 1920s. Picture courtesy: Vintage Pakistan

While I have so far expanded on the infrastructural projects that accelerated Karachi’s development, I would now like to explore Karachi’s diverse population that has historically never been specific to any ethnicity or religion. Karachi stands unique from every other city in Pakistan in this regard. In a reminiscent DAWN article called Karachi under the Raj 1843-1947,11 the late-Parsi social activist and columnist, Ardeshir Cowasjee (1926-2012) mentions the names and contributions of prominent Karachiites, some of whom he had the pleasure of encountering before the partition. While their names are largely forgotten today, their influence is still prevalent in the city. Through this article, Cowasjee ponders over the extent of neglect and abuse that Karachi has faced at the hands of its political instability and negligent rulers in the late 1900s and early 2000s. He creates a contrast to this by remembering the contributions that ex-Karachiites made to the city during the British Raj. He thinks of structures that are quintessentially Karachi when we think of them today, such as the Mohatta Palace (built by Shivratan Chandratan Mohatta in the mid-1930s), Frere Hall (named after Sir Bartle Frere in the 1860s), and the Manora lighthouse (installed by Charles Napier). In the published article, Cowasjee also mentions how General Sir Charles Napier (the former Governor of Sindh) developed the city’s housing, roads, drainage and sanitation facilities which all eventually assisted Karachi once Pakistan was founded.12 While the British Raj is notorious for its exploitative rule over the subcontinent, there were individuals such as Sir Charles Napier who dedicated their lives and efforts to improve living conditions for the masses. He is also responsible for introducing the most efficient police system of the subcontinent to Karachi at the time.13 Karachi’s most popular and oldest private school, Karachi Grammar School still pays tribute to him by naming one of their school houses, “Napier” after him. In this article, Cowasjee also regretfully reflects upon Karachi’s contemporary condition by mentioning Karachi’s commendable law and order system that crumbled following Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s death. He also made a list of Karachi’s Municipal Presidents and Mayors who all associated themselves to different religions (mainly Zoroastrianism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity).14

One of the most prominent mayors of Karachi was a member of the Parsi community and lovingly regarded as Baba e Karachi15 (Father of Karachi). His name was Jamshed Nusserwanjee Rustamjee Mehta (1886-1952). In a Dawn article dedicated to him,16 the writer, Akhtar Balouch reminisces about his contributions to the city through the memories and writings of people who witnessed his time. Balouch says that Nusserwanjee contributions to the city during his tenure as president and mayor of the municipality “was proof of his love for the people of Karachi.”17 The article extensively talks about his humanity and goes on to comment on the contributions that he made which drastically improved the lives of Karachiites. The Jamshed Memorial Committee published the book, Jamshed Nusserwanjee: A Memory in 1954 in which the writer, Hatim Alvi also comments that at the time that Nusserwanjee took over the Karachi Municipality, the city only had nine miles of proper roads, however, at the time that he left office, “Karachi had 76 miles of shiny, smooth roads.”18 It was because of Nusserwanjee then, that Karachi’s roads were close to perfect at the time of the partition. He was also responsible for ensuring that the city had a proper supply of clean drinking water and made sure to pay specific attention to public health, especially maternity care.19

Mohatta Palace- built by Shivratan Chandratan Mohatta in 1927 (Picture Courtesy of Aareez Asif)
Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta- (Courtesy of DAWN Newspaper)
Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta- (Courtesy of DAWN Newspaper)
Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta inaugurating the Gul Bai Maternity Home in 1920. (Picture Courtesy of DAWN Newspaper)
Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta inaugurating the Gul Bai Maternity Home in 1920. (Picture Courtesy of DAWN Newspaper)

Through the examples of such people, it is fascinating to think about the dedication and love that Karachi’s residents throughout history had for their city. According to BRILL’s Encyclopedia, Karachi’s religious demographics in 1941 (shortly before the partition) were 51% Hindu, 42% Muslim, and the rest 7% comprised of people that associated themselves to other religions.20 The city witnessed a stark population increase of 369% between 1941 and 1961 once the subcontinent was partitioned and migrants pooled in for refuge from the partition violence (Mohajirs), and when citizens from the rest of Pakistan (mainly Punjabi and Pathan labourers) migrated to Karachi for increased economic opportunities.21 While I do believe that Karachi’s decline stems from the city’s overpopulation and the state’s inability to contain it, Karachi’s strengths lie in her diverse population.

The World Population Review states that “it is believed that about 90% of Karachi’s population are migrants from many backgrounds.”22 While the city’s diversity in terms of religion prior to the partition is noteworthy, the migrants that approached the city following it all ranged from incredibly different cultural backgrounds. The World Population Review has also categorised many of these communities in its assessment of Karachi’s population. It notes that Karachi has been home to a large number of Gujarati Muslims who also happen to be some of the early settlers of Saddar Town (Karachi’s downtown).23  The Gujarati Muslim communities are divided into subdivisions known as the Chippa, Ghanchi, Memon, Khoja, Bohra, and Tai communities.24 According to Kriti M Shah and Sushant Sareen, the Mohajir community comprises of those people “whose decision to leave their homeland is directly related to the preservation of their faith.”25  While the term ‘Mohajir’ categorises the community into one homogenous identity, The Mohajir community in actuality comprises of a diverse range of people who migrated to Pakistan (especially Karachi) from all over the Indian subcontinent. Another identifiable term attributed to the Mohajir community is ‘Urdu-Speaking’ considering that Urdu is the language that unified the community into one. Punjabi Mohajirs are not conventionally included in this community considering that a majority of them were able to assimilate into West Punjab, which became part of Pakistan. The World Population Review goes on to note that the Mohajir community became the largest community in Karachi- accounting for over 50% of the city’s entire population.26 This community mainly comprises of Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Konkani, Rajasthani, and Malabari Muslims.27 In addition to the Mohajir community and the already existing small communities of Anglo-Indians, Parsis, and Goan Catholics28,

Karachi, 1969 (Courtesy of Vintage Pakistan)
The residents of Burns Road, Karachi in 1959- (Courtesy of Vintage Pakistan)
The residents of Burns Road, Karachi in 1959- (Courtesy of Vintage Pakistan)

Karachi is also host to about 10 million Bengali and Biharis who came to the city from Bangladesh, and Kashmiri refugees. The city also includes other refugees such as the Rohingya Muslim refugees from Burma, refugees from Uganda, Iran, Central and East Asian countries, and other immigrants from Arab states, the Phillipines, and the Sinhalese from Sri Lanka, and the Siddi community who traditionally hailed from the continent of Africa.29 In addition to these communities, Karachi is also home to many Pashtuns who came from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, and Afghanistan.30  While the city of Karachi is overwhelmingly dominated by Muslims today, it is still important to account for the 4% non-Muslims that also live there.

If we observe Karachi’s political landscape since the creation of Pakistan, it is devastating to note that Karachi’s downfall stems from her population’s inability to mutually connect as one entity. Karachi is Pakistan’s primary megacity31 and considering her diverse population, this city always was and continues to be the country’s economic powerhouse. Her strength and uniqueness has always transpired from the range of cultures that have existed in Karachi, always. No matter what hardships Karachiites face on a daily, the love that they feel for their city is unparalleled. Karachi’s fate always has been and always will be shaped by her citizens- therefore the path to her improvement lies almost exclusively in our hands.



Ahmed, N. (2010). Half a century of Trends. In H. Khoro, & A. Mooraj, Karachi mega city of our times. Karachi: Oxford University Press.

Ecochard, M. (1980). Karachi University . Places of Public Gathering in Islam. Jordon: Aga Khan Award for Architecture, AKAA, Geneva.

Haider, J. (2016). The Future of the architect and the architect of the future. In M. Shikoh, & Z. Mankani, Architecture after independence : 55 architects of Pakistan. Karachi: Arch Press.

Khan, H. u. (2016). Architectural agendas in Pakistan. In M. Shikoh, & Z. Mankani, Architecture after independence : 55 architects of Pakistan. Karachi: Arch Press.

Mumtaz, K. K. (1999). Modernity and Tradition: Contemporary Architecture in Pakistan. Lahore: Oxford University Press.


Arzan. (n.d.). Prominent parsis of Karachi. Parsi Khabar. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://parsikhabar.net/heritage/prominent-parsis-of-karachi/6775/.

Baillie, A. F. (1890). Kurrachee: (Karachi) Past, Present and Future. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink.

Balouch, A. (2015, September 16). The real father of Karachi. DAWN.COM. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1113332/the-real-father-of-karachi.

Cowasjee, A. (2004, November 21). ‘Karachi under the Raj 1843-1947’. DAWN.COM. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1072949.

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). History of Karachi. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/place/Karachi/History.

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Suez Canal. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Suez-Canal.

Gayer, L. (2018, December 1). Karachi. Brill. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-3/karachi-COM_33007?s.q=Iyas.

Karachi population 2021. Karachi Population 2021 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs). (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/karachi-population.

Paracha, N. F. (2016, July 29). Karachi: What’s in a picture? DAWN.COM. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1273993/karachi-whats-in-a-picture.

Shah, K. M., & Sareen , S. (2019). The Mohajir: Identity and Politics in Multiethnic Pakistan. ORF Occasional Paper , 1–32. Retrieved from https://www.orfonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ORF_OccasionalPaper_222_Mohajir.pdf.


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Dr Suneela Ahmed is an Associate Professor at NED University of Engineering and Technology. She holds a professional degree in Architecture (2000), Masters in Urban Management from University of Canberra and a PhD in Urban Design from Oxford Brookes University, UK. Ahmed has 16 years of research and teaching experience at both local and international levels in the field of architecture and urban design. Ahmed has managed various professional aspects during this period, ranging from architectural and urban design consultancy, advocacy and outreach. Striking a balance between her different professional endeavors is one of her major strengths and her interest lies in bridging the gap between academia and practice. Her doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Understanding localness of built form at the urban scale: investigating Maqamiat in the case of Karachi, Pakistan assessed what it means for a city to be local in the context of Karachi, being specific, having particular variables impacting the built form, but dealing with similar issues of identity crises as other formally colonized nations.

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Laraib Asdaf Chaudhry is currently working as an Assessment Associate at The Citizen’s Foundation (TCF). She teaches English at HarSukh in Thetar Village near Lahore, and is also the founder and curator of the public archive Purana Pakistan (@purana_pakistan) on Instagram. She completed her undergrad in History, Political Science and South Asian Studies from the University of Toronto in 2021. She divides her time in between Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

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