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Pakistan’s “Gold Coast”

If any other country in the world had the type of coast that Pakistan has, long stretches of virgin beaches with vast empty spaces hinterland, it would have been commercially exploited to the limit by now. But Pakistani planners being what they are, more akin to a mule with blinders, their focus has been more or less along the Indus Valley, with only lip-service attention to other areas. Whereas in the early days of the country it made sense, for a country with one seaport serving a population of 130 million (not counting the hundreds of millions in countries beyond) it is imperative to have alternatives. Furthermore domestic population congestion and economic factors because of the emerging markets of Central Asia require that a new sea-land dimension along a different axis be added for expansion or otherwise all facilities and opportunities are likely to be clogged and choked up.

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Economic Exploitation of the Coastal Areas – 1

Since independence, Pakistan has been dependant upon only one Sea-port, Karachi, for its maritime communications. Most of the industries came up in Karachi because of the port or in the vicinity. From little more than a sleepy fishing village at the beginning of the century (population 100,000) to a population of about half a million in 1947 rising to the present level of 9 million, the city of Karachi has outgrown all possible permutations and combinations of socio-economic infrastructure and facilities, causing tremendous social and economic strain on the city’s masses. While over-population has been bad enough, the amalgam of various ethnic groups drawn to the city either as refugees from India or in search of employment from up-country has created social unrest, the various groups competing for economic dominance. This has been further exacerbated by different waves of refugees from Burma, Iran (pro- and anti-Shah), Afghan Refugees and a large influx of Bangladeshis as domestic help (and now, industrial labour).

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