With an official population approaching fifteen million, Karachi is one of the largest cities in the world. It is also the most violent.
Since the mids, it has endured endemic political conflict and criminal violence, which revolve around control of the city and its resources votes, land and bhatta-"protection" money. These struggles for the city have become ethnicized. Karachi, often referred to as a "Pakistan in miniature," has become increasingly fragmented, socially as well as territorially.
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Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Despite this chronic state of urban political warfare, Karachi remains the cornerstone of the economy of Pakistan.
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- Karachi: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City;
In contrast to the 'chaotic'and 'anarchic' city portrayed in journalistic accounts, there is indeed order of a kind in the city's permanent civil war. Far from being entropic, Karachi's polity is predicated upon relatively stable patterns of domination, rituals of interaction and forms of arbitration, which have made violence manageable for its population -even if this does not exclude a pervasive state of fear, which results from the continuous transformation of violence in the course of its updating.
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