NEWSFLASH: Karachi to have $43 billion islands (whaa?)

Emaar of Dubai is investing $43 billion to convert two islands off the coast of Karachi into resorts for the rich elite of the city. In recent years residents of Karachi have been facing a great deal of problems due to the increase in traffic, pollution, crime and lack of other basic amenities. Such a project would allow the crème de la crème to distinguish themselves from the millions of middle-class people in the city who have now, according to one socialite, turned it into a ‘shit-hole’.

The islands would also serve as a permanent getaway for its residents as all their needs would be provided for and they would be able to access the areas of Defence and Clifton by a $50 million bridge. The other Karachi ‘towns’ were already no-go areas for most people tipped to be buying property on these islands. However, it was a cause for concern that on national holidays, such as Eid, Independence Day, Defence Day etc., a lot of the inhabitants of deprived Karachi areas would migrate to Defence and Clifton to enjoy the only source of entertainment for the middle-class of the city, the Clifton Beach.

The elite class was finding it very difficult to enjoy their privacy in areas believed by them to be built exclusively for them. Therefore, a final solution to the problem has been reached and the construction on the project started on 8th December 2006. This is surely a sign of great progress. International construction firms are showing great interest in Pakistan and this can only bode well for the economy.

In other news…

Fishermen from the islands of Buddo and Bundal (Dingi and Bhundaar in Sindhi) off the coast of Karachi will be displaced so that a state-of-the-art model city could be built. The city will be called Diamond Bar Island City.

PFF (Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum) President Muhammad Ali Shah told journalists that fishermen were seriously concerned over possible loss of their livelihood, obstruction of passage to the open sea, destruction of mangrove forests and destruction of marine life and environment.

Upon questioning a Government spokesman said, ‘All this talk about the environment, mangroves and marine life is a subterfuge. All the fishermen are interested in is illegally taking control of government land.’ Human rights and environmental organizations responded by saying that for the pleasure and leisure of a few, many thousands of fishermen would lose their livelihood and marine life and mangroves would be permanently harmed.

MicroPakistan heard from some local fishermen that they believed that Hazrat Yusuf Shah of Bundul(known as the ‘fishermen saint’), whose 522nd Urs was held recently, would unleash his wrath on all those that try to tamper with the islands and the natural beauty around them. They believe he will protect his people, the fishermen. Certainly, the Government of Pakistan won’t.-MicroPakistan

7 thoughts on “NEWSFLASH: Karachi to have $43 billion islands (whaa?)

  1. Pingback: Tamasha - » Monday Links

  2. The only silver lining is the job prospects for uneducated masses as day laborers.
    A decade later these islands may declare independence to make a total disconnect from poverty ridden slums of karachi.
    It is a semi-vulgar scheme that does not provide any uplift for the people at large.
    Is it any different from Bhutto’s idea of setting up casinos on Somiani beech (?)

  3. I am just curious as to why these islands are being built just for the city’s elite. Why don’t they use these resorts to attract tourists from other countries? That could help the local economy, bring tax revenue and help Pakistan’s status as a tourist destination. Since these resorts would be on islands away from the mainland, security and access controls could be deployed easily as well…

  4. The islands are not being built for the city’s elite per se. They will have residential villas and apartments, hotels, shopping centres, offices and business centres, a golf course, hospitals, clinics, schools, technical institutions, universities, a marina, resorts, theme parks and co-generation plants.

    However, considering the amount of investment going into the project it would be justified to assume that most of the property would be priced heavily. Also, considering that the adjacent areas of Defence and Clifton are occupied by the elite, leading businessmen and top professionals of the city it would be an extension of the same, but substantially more exclusive.

    You have brought up and interesting point about tourism. There is no doubt that such resorts would provide ample security to visitors, but lack what is expected most from a trip to South Asia. The rich culture.

    In fact the recent developments package themselves as a reflection of the Western world that most visitors would be coming from. I don’t think sticking to two islands off the coast of Karachi would be a completely gratifying trip. If you want to visit beautiful beaches and luxurious resorts there are many more places in the world that offer that. How about Dubai next door?

    What Karachi offers is a rich culture and history. If even half of the $43 billion was invested in the city itself it would be much better as a tourist destination than any model-city-island.

    However, since the islands are now being built I am sure they would be marketed as a mini Dubai to attract tourists. There are definitely great benefits from all this, but in my opinion a balanced cost-benefit analysis would reveal that it would cause more harm to the environment, marine life, local fishermen than its obvious benefits.

  5. Anwar mentions the slums of Karachi in his comment. I read recently that 60% of the city’s population lives in slums. It is sad to see that billion dollar investments are being made while on the other hand the slums are constantly growing. I think it would be interesting to do a post on them as they seem to exist as cities(posessing a distinct culture of their own) inside a city.

  6. Yeah, I agree that resort islands might not directly promote the cultural and social heritage of the country but they would be beneficial to the economy and could be used to promote the rest of the country. Tourists could be persuaded to visit Karachi or even other parts of the country in the form of short or long excursions. This phenomenon is becoming very common around the world thought it does bring a certain level of “cheapness” to the culture and society; sometimes it seems that everyone is putting on a show for the tourists to get tips 😉 Many resorts around the world offer short term trips to nearby cities and tourist attractions.

    I also agree that there are more luxurious resorts in the rest of world but they are also very expensive. Pakistan could certainly compete with Dubai and may be Goa if they offer packages at lower rates to attract tourists. The western middle class can’t really afford to stay in the seven star hotels of Dubai. India has a middle class that is larger than the population of U.S. I am sure many of them would like to visit Pakistan if they could get tourist visas. The government could provide restricted visas to Indians, if they don’t feel comfortable with opening the gates for everyone.

    I just think that Pakistan could really benefit from tourism. At least these resorts would force foreigners to consider the country as a tourist destination.

    If somone were to develop such resorts, they would have to serve alcohol and have bars on these islands, other wise no one would come. I don’t think that serving liquor should be big issue. Maldives is a good example. It is a Muslim country and they allow alcohol on the tourist resorts but it is not allowed on islands inhabited with locals.

  7. Tourism is a big phrase… When Ayub Khan poured money into Islamabad – tourism was one of the selling points. Instead, if he had put that money in to roads, railways and telephone exchanges to let more people connect to each other – Pakistan would not have become so polarized. Instead he kept people apart – CID was the name of the game – and let us be fair, did artificial city of Islamabad contribute to the properity of the ordinary citizens? The answer is NO.
    I am not against development however money needs to be spent on civic sector in Karachi and other cities. Isolated islands for the rich pirates will only add to the fissures.

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