A bloody wave of violence sweeping Karachi has claimed hundreds of lives this year, and experts say it is also taking a punishing financial toll on the city that is Pakistan’s economic heartbeat.
Karachi is vital to Pakistan’s economy, contributing 42 percent of GDP, 70 percent of income tax revenue and 62 percent of sales tax revenue, but Ateeq Mir, the chairman of the Karachi Markets Alliance, compared the situation to the country’s insurgency-wracked northwest.
“Karachi has become an urban Waziristan where the government has lost its writ,” he said.
With each political or sectarian killing, parts of the city go into lockdown as armed men take to the streets seeking reprisals, prompting residents to flee to safety and shops, markets and schools to close.
Millions in the city rely on daily piece work to make a living, and every day lost to violence or shutdowns is a day without income. Fruit seller Mohammad Haleem, 34, said the unrest was making it hard to make ends meet.
“I could not earn livelihood for my five kids for most of the last week as it was dangerous to go outside,” said Mohammad Haleem, 34, a fruit vendor.
“It is getting too difficult for me to take a loan to feed my kids as the lenders are themselves in distress.”
Here’s a look at the daily wagers of Pakistan, who might be most at stake economically in the wake of day-to-day bloodshed. – Photos and text by Agencies