Pakistan International Airlines (Urdu: پاکستان انٹرنیشنل ایئر لائنز) commonly known as PIA (Urdu: پیآئیاے) is the national flag carrier of Pakistan. Its main hub is Karachi while Lahore and Islamabad are its secondary hubs.
The airline was founded on 23 October 1946 as Orient Airways, initially based in Calcutta prior to the Partition of British India. It later acquired four Douglas DC-3s. The airline was nationalized on 10 January 1955 and was renamed Pakistan International Airlines. Its first international flight was in 1955, operating to London, via Cairo and Rome. PIA has a history of milestones in aviation, it was the first Asian carrier to fly the Lockheed Super Constellation and also was the first non-communist airline to fly to China. It was the second Asian airline to acquire a jet aircraft, a Boeing 707. More recently, it was the launch customer of the Boeing 777-200LR. The airline also owns The Roosevelt Hotel and Sofitel Paris Scribe Hotel.
It is Pakistan's largest airline with a fleet of more than 30 airplanes. As of 2016, PIA is going through a procedure of privatization to shift management from government to the private sector. It employed nearly 14,000 people as of annual report 2015 and the airline has overall punctuality of 88%. PIA operates scheduled services to 22 domestic destinations and 28 international destinations across Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America. It operates nearly 100 flights daily.
Pakistan International Airlines can trace its origins to the days when Pakistan had not yet gained independence from the British Raj. In 1945, the country's founder Muhammed Ali Jinnah realized the need for a flag carrier for the prospective country and requested financial help from wealthy businessmen Mirza Ahmad Ispahani and Adamjee Haji Dawood for this purpose. Around that time, a new airline Orient Airways, was registered in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 23 October 1946. In February 1947, the airline bought three Douglas DC-3 aircraft and obtained a license to fly in May of the same year. The airline started its operations in June, offering services from Calcutta to Sittwe and Rangoon (present-day Yangon). On 14 August 1947, Pakistan gained independence and Orient Airways started relief operations for the new country. It was the first and only Muslim owned airline in the British Raj and flew from 1947 to 1955.
On 6 June 1954, Orient Airways started its operations by offering flight services between East- and West Pakistan, with service from Karachi to Dhaka. In addition, the airline also introduced two new domestic routes: Karachi–Lahore–Peshawar and Karachi–Quetta–Lahore. However, due to sustained losses being suffered by the airline, the Government of Pakistan proposed that Orient Airways merge with a new national airline. On 11 March 1955, Orient Airways merged with the government's proposed airline, becoming Pakistan International Airlines Corporation. The newly formed airline also inaugurated its first international route, Karachi-London Heathrow Airport via Cairo and Rome, using four newly acquired Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellations. The airline continued using DC-3s on domestic routes in Pakistan. In May 1956, PIA ordered five Vickers Viscount 815s.
The appointment of Air MarshalNur Khan as the Managing Director of PIA in 1959 heralded an era of success for PIA. In March 1960, PIA wet-leased a Boeing 707 from Pan American airlines, thereby becoming the second Asian airline after Air India to induct a jet aircraft in its fleet. With the newly acquired aircraft, the airline introduced its first trans-Atlantic route Karachi-New York via London in 1961. In 1962, it expanded its fleet by placing orders for Boeing 720s, Fokker F27 Friendships, and Sikorsky helicopters. On 2 January 1962, a PIA Boeing 720B flown by Captain Abdullah Baig from London to Karachi established a world record for speed over a commercial airline route for powered landplanes of 938.78 km/h (582.98 mph), a record which still holds to this day.
From 1962 to 1966, PIA operated its Sikorsky S-61 helicopters for services within East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). These were retired in 1966 and a reduced network of eight cities was served by Fokker F27 aircraft. Upon the establishment of ties between Pakistan and the People's Republic of China, PIA started flying to Beijing in 1964, becoming the first airline of a non-communist country flying to the People's Republic of China. At the outbreak of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Pakistani Armed Forces used PIA's services for logistics and transport purposes. The Viscounts were phased out in 1966 and were replaced by four Hawker Siddeley Tridents.
The '70s was marked by resumption of transatlantic flights, introduction of new destinations, appointment of Nur Khan as its executive for the second term, and the beginning of a financially successful period for the airline. When the political situation in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) started deteriorating in early 70s, the Pakistan Army once again used PIA's services to airlift soldiers and ammunition to East Pakistan. Most flights had to detour to Sri Lanka during trips between West Pakistan and East Pakistan. With the establishment of cordial ties between the Libyan and Pakistani governments in early 70s, PIA added a new international route, Tripoli, to its map in 1972. It also signed an agreement with Yugoslav airline JAT. PIA acquired McDonnell Douglas DC-10s in 1973 and used the aircraft to replace Boeing 707-300s. In 1974, PIA launched Pakistan International Cargo, offering air freight and cargo services. In 1975, PIA introduced new uniforms for air hostesses which were chosen through an open competition, with the winning entry designed by Sir Hardy Amies, the designer of Queen Elizabeth II.
The later half of the decade witnessed further expansion of PIA's fleet with the introduction of Boeing 747s through either leased or purchased aircraft. During this decade PIA was regarded as Asia's best airline. For the first time since its inauguration, PIA started providing technical and administrative assistance or leased aircraft to foreign airlines including Somali Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Air Malta and Yemenia. A subsidiary of PIA also started providing hotel management services in United Arab Emirates towards the end of the decade.
The 1980s decade began with the opening of a cargo handling centre at Karachi airport, duty-free shops, the first C and D safety checks on its entire fleet, as well as the introduction of airline's first Airbus A300B4-203 aircraft. In 1984, the airline introduced Night-Coach service as a low-cost alternative to day-time domestic flights. In the following years, PIA Planetarium was inaugurated in Karachi which was followed by planetariums in Lahore and Peshawar. These planetariums featured retired PIA aircraft on display for educational or observational purposes. Two more retired Boeing 720B aircraft were donated to the planetariums in Karachi and Lahore later on.
Also in 1985, five new Boeing 737-300s were introduced to PIA's fleet, making PIA the first Asian airline with such a diverse aircraft fleet. In late 1987 and early 1988, services to Malé and Toronto were introduced. In 1990, First Officer Maliha Sami became the first female pilot of PIA when she took off on the Karachi-Panjgur-Turbat-Gwadar route.
In the mid-1980s, PIA also helped establish Emirates by leasing two of its aircraft - an Airbus A300 and a Boeing 737-300 - as well as providing technical and administrative assistance to the new carrier.
In June 1991, the first of six A310-300 aircraft on order was delivered. With the new aircraft, the airline introduced flights to Tashkent in 1992 and to Zürich in 1993.
In March 1993, AVM Farooq Umar became MD PIA and also open skies from Karachi to Dubai were declared and 12 private air lines were allowed to operate domestically in Pakistan. Both steps came simultaneously and put great pressure on PIA's financial performance. Farooq Umar to meet the challenge, fought the battle of open skies and opened up six new routes to the Persian Gulf and CIS countries along with tourists attraction 'air safari'. He also made major changes in routes and schedules and started non stop flights from Lahore and Islamabad to JFK and Canada. PIA added Jakarta, Fujairah, Baku and Al-Ain to its destinations in 1994. In addition, PIA became a client of three flight-reservation systems, namely: Sabre, Galileo and Amadeus. 'Air Safari' flights were launched in 1994 using Boeing 737–300 aircraft that used to fly over the Karakoram mountain range. Farooq Umar handed over PIA to another MD in March 1996, closing his tenure with great success and leaving PIA profitable with a profit for the previous six months of more than 55 million PKR. After his departure PIA started to nose dive. PIA purchased a Boeing 747 flight simulator to train its pilots. It also purchased another used Airbus A300 aircraft. A Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft was also leased briefly in 1996 to cope with a surge in passenger traffic during summer 1996. Flights to Beirut were resumed the same year as well.
In 1999, PIA leased five Boeing 747-300 aircraft from Cathay Pacific to replace its Boeing 747-200M fleet. The aircraft were painted with a new livery, a handwork Pashmina tail, on white body and large Pakistan titles on the front fuselage. The livery was adopted in early 90s but due to some copyright issues it was dropped. The Boeing 747-300s remained in the new look but with a plain green tail with PIA titles. The other aircraft in the fleet were repainted in early 1990s livery.
In July 2002, PIA purchased six Boeing 747-300 aircraft from Cathay Pacific, five of which were already on lease. The sixth one arrived shortly afterwards and was used mainly on its North American and European routes. In October 2002, after a period of ten years without any new orders, the airline placed an order for eight Boeing 777 aircraft. The order included all three variants of 777, i.e. three 777-200ER (Extended Range), two 777-200LR (Longer Range) and three 777-300ER versions. PIA was the launch customer that revived the Boeing 777-200LR project that, until then, only had three orders.
Boeing delivered the first of three 777-200ER aircraft to PIA in January 2004. PIA introduced a new livery for the 777-200ERs that was applied to most of its fleet. PIA also leased six more Airbus A310-300 aircraft directly from Airbus. On 3 November 2005, PIA placed an order to purchase seven ATR 42-500 aircraft to replace its aging fleet of Fokker F27 Friendships. On 6 December 2005, PIA acquired another new Boeing 777-200ER on a ten-year lease. The aircraft was delivered in January 2007 to the airline.
On 25 February 2006, Boeing delivered its first 777-200LR to PIA, when it flew from Everett to Islamabad via Manchester. With the induction of long range aircraft in its fleet, PIA started offering non-stop flights from Toronto to Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore from 3 March 2006. PIA had also planned non-stop flights to New York, Chicago, Washington, and Houston but was not given permission by US authorities (unless the airline implemented a European stopover on the flight to American cities). Washington service ended in the 1990s, Houston services ended in 2006, Chicago service ended in 2012, and New York service ended in 2017.
ATR delivered two of the seven ordered ATR 42s to PIA in May and December 2006 respectively, following which the airline ceased using military Lockheed C-130 Hercules for passenger services in northern areas of Pakistan. The military aircraft were being used after the PIA Flight 688 accident. On 23 December 2006, PIA took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER.
On 5 March 2007, the European Commission banned all but 9 of PIA's 42-strong fleet from flying to Europe citing safety concerns over its aging aircraft. The ban was imposed following an on-site visit led by Federico Grandini, the European Commission’s Air Safety Administrator. The fleet of Boeing 777s was exempted from the ban. PIA claimed that the ban was discriminatory and unjustifiable. On 26 March 2007, Tariq Saeed Kirmani was forced to resign after pressure from higher authorities because of the EU ban. Zafar Khan was appointed as the new chairman of Pakistan International Airlines.
The ban on some of the aircraft was lifted after a period of four months on 5 July 2007, following an inspection by the European Union Air Safety Administration. Of the eleven aircraft, five were Boeing 747-300s and the remaining six were Airbus A310-300s. On 29 November 2007, the EU completely removed the ban and PIA's entire fleet was permitted to fly to Europe. To avoid such an incident in future, PIA signed a deal to lease seven new Airbus A320-200s. The aircraft were supposed to be delivered during 2008 and 2009 but the deal was cancelled.
In 2010, PIA altered its livery. The tail design was replaced with a much larger version of the Pakistan national flag, and added the text "Pakistan international" in gold writing underneath the large billboard style PIA on the fuselage. The green stripe was modified to include gold and was extended to the rear of the fuselage.
In 2014, PIA leased four Boeing 737-800s. PIA also issued a request for tender for four Boeing 777-300ERs. The airline also wanted to lease four ATR aircraft. However, the bids for the 777s were not accepted due to bidding standards. Later, The airline managed to lease Airbus A320 aircraft, and inducted two A320-214 series aircraft in its fleet in 2014. Another wet leased A320-211 aircraft joined PIA on August 11, 2014. In October 2014, the airline again wet leased three Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and it also accepted bids to dry lease five ATR 72-500 series aircraft for an eight-year period. In 2015, after serving PIA for 16 years, the Boeing 747-300s were phased out.
In August 2016, PIA launched a new "Premier Service" for flights to London, using an Airbus A330-300 wet-leased from SriLankan Airlines. The wet-lease period ended after 6 months and as a result, A330-300 was returned to SriLankan Airlines.
The remaining five Boeing 777-300ERs order made in 2002 was postponed indefinitely. In January 2017, PIA retired all of the Airbus A310-300s from its fleet. For replacement, PIA leased four Boeing 737-800 from Pegasus Airlines.
Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) is majority owned by the Government of Pakistan (87%) while the remainder (13%) by private shareholders. The airline is under the administration of Ministry of Defence the chairman of which was Muhammad Mian Nawaz Sharif. The airline is managed by managing director as well as the Board of Directors. The Board consists of nine independent non-executive members and has four sub-committees: an Audit Committee, Brand and Advertising Committee, Finance Committee, and Human Resource Committee each having its own charter and chairman. The MD leads the executive management of staff who run the airline. The airline's main headquarters are located at Karachi Airport while smaller sub head offices are located in several cities within Pakistan.
In the late 1990s, the Government of Pakistan considered selling the airline to the private sector due to the persistent losses suffered by the airline. The government announced its privatization plans but they were never implemented. Several steps towards outsourcing of non-core business have been initiated. Catering units (starting with Karachi Flight Kitchen), ground handling (starting with ramp services) and engineering, are to be gradually carved out of the airline and operated as independent companies. During 1997, Pakistan called in a team from International Finance (IFC), the consulting arm of the World Bank, to advise on restructuring and privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). However, no agreement was reached. The government has had many plans for the privatization of the State owned airline. However, no reasonable agreement or solution has been found to this day. On 18 February 2009 the carrier was dropped from the privatization list. 
In year 2013, Government of Pakistan once again aimed to privatize the airline due to increased losses by selling twenty six percent of shares & management control to the investor.
The following table gives the key financial results for 2011 along with those since 2004. The financial performance for FY 2011 continues to be a challenge with an after-tax loss of PKR 26.767 billion. This was preceded by six consecutive loss-making years dating back to 2005. The airline did report a reduction of post-tax losses of 83% in 2009 (compared to 2008) based on a reduction in fuel cost, comparatively stable exchange rate for the Pakistan Rupee and higher revenues. But in 2010 & 2011, losses again rose sharply compared to the previous years.
The airline faces many challenges to its profitability such as staffing levels and overall management issues. An employee count of 18,014 for a fleet of 40 aircraft  is an area for review.
To increase revenue, the Prime Minister of Pakistan approved a fleet modernisation, consisting of twenty new-generation narrow-body aircraft; four Boeing 777-300ERs and four ATR 72-500 turboprops. These aircraft will replace the older fleet of PIA. An A310 consumes $5,500 of oil whereas a 737-900ER would consume $2,500 worth of oil. In addition, with a load factor of 85% and 12.5 hours of aircraft usage daily, an additional 72 billion rupees or 720 million dollars of revenue would be achieved. This will also greatly decrease the employee-to-aircraft ratio which currently sits at 776 per aircraft, one of the highest in the world. Moreover, the Boeing 777 will be used on long routes instead of short routes. This would help reduce the cost of engine overhaul, which is based on flight cycles. Lastly, 35 employees making 1 million rupees per month will also be audited.
|Year||Revenues (PKR in Million)||Profit/(Loss) (PKR in Million)||Employees (Ave.)|
In recent years, PIA revenue and source of income has been dropping significantly. In 2010, PIA carried 1,454,000 kg of mail. In 2013, PIA managed just 648,000 of mail. Additionally, PIA's revenue from excess baggage, passenger load factor and passenger kilometer flow are among many that have been declining steadily.
|Year||Revenue Passengers (Million)||Passenger Load Factor||Average Passenger Stage Distance (Statute KM)|
In 2011, about 81% of revenue was from passenger traffic and only 5% from cargo. Another 7.8% was from food and beverage sales. The remaining 6% was from various sources including excess baggage charges; air charter services; aircraft maintenance engineering services; ground handling and related services; and carriage of mail.
Main article: Pakistan International Airlines destinations
As of September 2016, PIA serves 22 domestic and 28 international destinations in 28 countries across Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America. Dubai is a major focus city for the airline with flights from Dera Ghazi Khan, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta.
PIA have codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
As of December 2017 the Pakistan International Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:
In December 2003 PIA introduced a new image that was applied to its first Boeing 777-200ER and on two newly leased Airbus A310s, one of which was in service. The livery was white at the front and beige at the rear separated by a dark green stripe. The tail was painted white with a new typeface PIA acronym written in dark green. The Pakistan title was added to the front fuselage in all raised letters and the engine cowlings were painted in beige. The PIA logo written in calligraphic Urdu was added just behind the cockpit.
However, due to criticism the design was modified before the first Boeing 777 was delivered. The tail logo was replaced by a flowing Pakistan flag on a beige background. The "Pakistan" titles were removed and the PIA acronym was enlarged and moved onto the fuselage. The English and Urdu PIA titles remained the same. The leased A310s and most of the PIA fleet also adopted this livery at a later date. In early 2006 the airline launched four new tail designs for its fleet. The tails represented the four provinces of Pakistan: Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Balochistan. The tails promoted the cultures of the four provinces of Pakistan by applying motifs to the tails and adding a city name to the rear of the fuselage corresponding to the province. The "Frontier" tail represented the "Phulkari" (flowering) pattern, which reflected a tradition of embroidery generally done on shawls, shirts and linen. The "Punjab" tail was loosely related to the tile decoration of the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. The "Balochistan" tail showed the creativity seen in the local kilims, carpets and rugs woven with wool, goat or camel hair and mixed yarn. The pattern was mostly bold geometric motifs in primary colours dominated by red. The "Sindh" tail was influenced by the Hala tile work with electric blue and white floral patterns. In 2009 management stopped the application of provincial tails, deeming them too costly.
PIA launched its new livery in early April 2010. An Airbus A310, Boeing 777–200 and Boeing 747–300 were the first aircraft to wear the new look. The livery was unveiled at the PIA headquarters on a Boeing 777 model. The livery consisted of a green and gold strip running around the bottom of the fuselage and continuing right up until the tail cone. The forward/upper portion was white and at the rear, it was an off white/beige color. The bottom part of the tail blended into the upper fuselage as it too is white, with the rest of the tail painted with a large wavy Pakistan flag, which takes up the whole tail, in a dark green color. At the front of the fuselage 'PIA' was written in a billboard style in dark green and underneath 'Pakistan' was written in golden color. Just behind the cockpit there is a stylized Urdu PIA logo as well as on the engines.
In July 2014, on delivery of the first A320 series aircraft, PIA introduced a "crescent and star" on the aircraft engines' cowlings in place of the Urdu PIA logo. In 2015, after the completion of sixty years service to the nation, a retro livery was introduced. Three of the Airbus A320s and a Boeing 777-200ER (AP-BMG) were painted in the airline's 1960s livery.
In October 2017, PIA revised its livery. The golden and green strips along with beige color were removed and at the front of the fuselage and on engines PIA acronym was repainted in golden color. The first aircraft to wear the revised livery was a Boeing 777-300ER (AP-BMS).
PIA operates a three-class configuration on its domestic routes: Business, Economy Plus+ and Economy. On international flights a two class configuration, Business and Economy class, has remained popular. PIA Business passengers are offered lie-flat bed seats on all Boeing 777 as well as selected Airbus A310 aircraft. Recliners are offered on board the Airbus A320 and select Airbus A310 aircraft. In Economy Class, all passengers on the Boeing 777 are offered seats with a 31-inch legroom and personal entertainment screens in a 3-3-3 configuration. On the Airbus A320, leather seats in a 3-3 configuration are offered.
PIA Catering is the main supplier of meals for the airline. It can produce 15,000 passenger meals each day. However, since 2006, the management of the flight kitchens has been given to Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS).
PIA Catering provides special meals to allow for passengers' dietary and religious needs. PIA does not serve Alcohol beverages on its flights, nor is pork served on board because of Islamic law.
PIA Premier service
PIA Premier was launched as a luxury air service on 14 August 2016. An Airbus A330 aircraft was initially wet-leased from SriLankan Airlines to operate the service. There were six weekly flights to London, three each from Islamabad and Lahore. PIA ended the service due to losses and the A330 was returned to SriLankan.
The PIA in-flight magazine, Humsafar (Urdu for "travel companion"), is provided to all passengers on all flights. Humsafar was introduced in 1980 and is printed and published in-house bi-monthly.
In January 2017 the airline began trials on an on-board internet Intranet system to deliver in-flight entertainment on some domestic flights. The system allows passengers to access a selection of in-flight entertainment content using their own mobile devices.
Frequent Flyer Programme
PIA Awards Plus+ is the frequent flyer programme. The programme allows passengers to get free tickets, excess baggage vouchers, cabin upgrades, and a variety of rewards, special deals, and discounts with participants. Awards Plus+ has three tiers of membership — Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond. Awards Plus+ miles can be earned by flying PIA and by using the products and services of PIA's partners.
PIA operates a cargo delivery system within Pakistan. PIA Cargo transports goods across Pakistan as well as to international destinations. These include meat and vegetables, textiles, paper products, laboratory equipment and postal mail.
During the early 1970s, PIA operated a service called "Air Express" that delivered documents and parcels within Pakistan. In 1974, PIA launched a dedicated cargo division within its organisation using two Boeing 707-320C. This division was known as "Pakistan International Cargo". The airline operated a number of cargo flights to the Middle East such as Dubai and Europe especially London. The operations ended in the late 1990s when both aircraft were phased out. During 2004 to 2007, the airline did again operate two Airbus A300 Freighter aircraft chartered through MNG Airlines to Haan. Luton, Amsterdam, Basel and Cologne. However again the contract ended and PIA discontinued this service.
In 2003, the airline launched "PIA Speedex", a courier service in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad initially. This later expanded twelve cities within a year. Today, the airline offers over 70 locations within Pakistan, with shipments collected and delivered from customers homes.
The airline has sponsored events, both within Pakistan and in its overseas markets.
In the 1990s, the airline launched the three green stripe livery to represent its support for sports. The airline supports the Pakistan International Airlinesfirst-class cricket team that plays in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy and Patron's Trophy. PIA sponsors the PIA football club, and the A1 Team Pakistan in the A1 Grand Prix open-wheel auto racing series when it was initially launched. The airline also promotes the Shandur Polo Gala, that takes place every year in the Chitral and Gilgit regions of northern Pakistan during the summer period. PIA also has its own Sports Division since 1958 promoting sports within Pakistan such as cricket, hockey, football, squash, polo, tennis, bridge, chess, table tennis, cycling, and body building. PIA has its own Boy Scouts Association (PIA-BSA) working in partnership with Pakistan Boy Scouts Association. After the earthquake, PIA-BSA worked in partnership with other charity organisations to provide relief help.
PIA was one of the official sponsors of the "Destination Pakistan 2007" festivals. The official logo was added to a select number of aircraft during the year In 2008, PIA teamed up with mobile phone provider, Ufone to provide air miles to passengers who used the mobile network. Standard Chartered Bank and PIA launched Credit Cards allowing passengers to earn air miles for use of their credit cards. In 2009, PIA was the gold sponsor for Logistics Pakistan, an Exhibition and Conference poised to highlight the emerging opportunities for the Logistics sector in Pakistan. In 2009, PIA and Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) formed a strategic alliance to promote world money transfers.
PIA has Planetariums in Karachi and Lahore that enable the public to see static aircraft as well as astronomy shows. PIA Horticulture, set up in 1996, provides flowers for display in PIA's offices and for events, winning awards and accolades at flower exhibitions across the country. The airline supports non-profit organisations within Pakistan such as Al-Shifa Trust; Zindagi Trust; The Citizens Foundation; and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT). In 2009, PIA teamed up with the fast-food franchise McDonald's, to offer passengers discounts on meals and upgrades. PIA also owns three hotels, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Scribe Hotel and Skyrooms (Private) Limited. The airline also has an agreement with Pearl Continental Hotels for its UAE based passengers.
Charter and special services
This article is about the city of Karachi. For other uses, see Karachi (disambiguation).
Clockwise from top: The tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Frere Hall, a view of I. I. Chundrigar Road, the Karachi Port Trust Building, the Mohatta Palace, Port of Karachi
|Nickname(s): City of the Quaid, Paris of Asia, The City of Lights, Bride of the Cities|
Location in PakistanShow map of Sindh
Karachi (Pakistan)Show map of Pakistan
Karachi (Asia)Show map of Asia
Karachi (Earth)Show map of Earth
|Coordinates: 24°51′36″N67°0′36″E / 24.86000°N 67.01000°E / 24.86000; 67.01000Coordinates: 24°51′36″N67°0′36″E / 24.86000°N 67.01000°E / 24.86000; 67.01000|
|City Council||City Complex, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town|
|• Type||Metropolitan City|
|• Mayor of Karachi||Waseem Akhtar|
|• Deputy Mayor of Karachi||Arshad Vohra|
|• Total||3,780 km2 (1,460 sq mi)|
|Elevation||8 m (26 ft)|
|Population (2017 Census)|
|• Rank||1st in Pakistan|
|Time zone||PKT (UTC+05:00)|
|Postal codes||74XXX – 75XXX|
|Dialing code||+9221-XXXX XXXX|
|GDP/PPP||$113 billion (2014)|
Karachi (Urdu: کراچی; ALA-LC: Karācī, IPA: [kəˈraːtʃi] ( listen); Sindhi: ڪراچي) is the capital of the Pakistani province of Sindh. It is the most populous city in Pakistan, and third most populous city proper in the world. Ranked as a beta world city, the city is Pakistan's premier industrial and financial centre. Karachi is also Pakistan's most cosmopolitan city. Situated on the Arabian Sea, Karachi serves as a transport hub, and is home to two of Pakistan's two largest seaports, the Port of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim, as well as the busiest airport in Pakistan.
Though the Karachi region has been inhabited for millennia, the city was founded as the fortified village of Kolachi in 1729. The settlement drastically increased in importance with the arrival of British East India company in the mid 19th century, who not only embarked on major works to transform the city into a major seaport, but also connected it with their extensive railway network. By the time of the Partition of British India, the city was the largest in Sindh with an estimated population of 400,000. Following the independence of Pakistan, the city's population increased dramatically with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees from India. The city experienced rapid economic growth following independence, attracting migrants from throughout Pakistan and South Asia.
Karachi is one of Pakistan's most secular and socially liberal cities. It is also the most linguistically, ethnically, and religiously diverse city in Pakistan. With a population of 14.9 million recorded in the 2017 Census of Pakistan, Karachi is the world's 12th most populous metropolitan area. Karachi is one of the world's fastest growing cities, and has communities representing almost every ethnic group in Pakistan. Karachi is home to over 2 million Bangladeshi immigrants, 1 million Afghan refugees, and up to 400,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Karachi is now Pakistan's premier industrial and financial centre. The city has a formal economy estimated to be worth $113 billion as of 2014[update]. Karachi collects over a third of Pakistan's tax revenue, and generates approximately 20% of Pakistan's GDP. Approximately 30% of Pakistani industrial output is from Karachi, while Karachi's ports handle approximately 95% of Pakistan's foreign trade. Approximately 90% of the multinational corporations operating in Pakistan are headquartered in Karachi. Up to 70% of Karachi's workforce is employed in the informal economy, which is typically not included in GDP calculations.
Known as the "City of Lights" in the 1960s and 1970s for its vibrant nightlife, Karachi was beset by sharp ethnic, sectarian, and political conflict in the 1980s with the arrival of weaponry during the Soviet–Afghan War. The city had become well known for its high rates of violent crime, but recorded crimes sharply decreased following a controversial crackdown operation against criminals, the MQM political party, and Islamist militants initiated in 2013 by the Pakistan Rangers. The city's murder rate in 2015 had decreased by 75% compared to 2013, and kidnappings decreased by 90%, with the improved security environment triggering sharp increases in real-estate prices.
Karachi was reputedly founded in 1729 as the settlement of Kolachi. The new settlement is said to have been named in honour of Mai Kolachi, whose son is said to have slain a man-eating crocodile in the village after his elder brothers had already been killed by it.
The city's inhabitants are referred to by the demonymKarachiite in English, and Karāchīwālā in Urdu.
Main articles: History of Karachi and Timeline of Karachi history
Late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites discovered by a team from Karachi University on the Mulri Hills constitute one of the most important archaeological discoveries made in Sindh during the last 50 years. The earliest inhabitants of the Karachi region are believed to have been hunter-gatherers, with ancient flint tools discovered at several sites. A sea port called Barbarikon by the Greeks was situated in Karachi.
The Karachi region is believed to have been known to the ancient Greeks. The region may be the site of Krokola, where Alexander the Great once camped to prepare a fleet for Babylonia, as well as Morontobara which may possibly be Karachi's Manora neighbourhood.
In 711 CE, Muhammad bin Qasim conquered the Sindh and Indus Valley. The Karachi region is believed to have been known to the Arabs as Debal, from where Muhammad Bin Qasim launched his forces into South Asia in 712 C.E.
Under Mirza Ghazi Beg, the Mughal administrator of Sindh, the development of coastal Sindh and the Indus delta was encouraged. Under his rule, fortifications in the region acted as a bulwark against Portuguese incursions into Sindh. The Ottomanadmiral, Seydi Ali Reis, mentioned Debal and Manora Island in his book Mir'ât ül Memâlik in 1554.
Karachi was founded in 1729 as the settlement of Kolachi under the rule of the ethnically Baloch Talpur Mirs of Sindh. The founders of the settlement are said to arrived from the nearby town of Karak Bandar after the harbour there silted in 1728 after heavy rains. The settlement was fortified, and defended with cannons imported by Sindhi sailors from Muscat, Oman. The name Karachee was used for the first time in a Dutch document from 1742, in which a merchant ship de Ridderkerk is shipwrecked near the original settlement. The city continued to be ruled by the Talpur Mirs until it was occupied by forces under the command of John Keane in February 1839.
The British East India Company captured Karachi on 3 February 1839 after the HMS Wellesley opened fire and quickly destroyed the local mud fort at Manora. The town was annexed to British India in 1843 after Sindh was captured by Major General Charles James Napier in the Battle of Miani, with the city declared capital of the new British province.
The city was recognized for its strategic importance, prompting the British to establish the Port of Karachi in 1854. Karachi rapidly became a transportation hub for British India owing to newly built port and rail infrastructure, as well as the increase in agricultural exports from the opening of productive tracts of newly irrigated land in Punjab and interior Sindh. The British also developed the Karachi Cantonment as a military garrison in order to aid the British war effort in the First Anglo-Afghan War.
During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the 21st Native Infantry, then stationed in Karachi, mutinied and declared allegiance to rebel forces in September 1857, though the British were able to quickly defeat the rebels and reassert control over the city. Following the Rebellion, British colonial administrators continued to develop the city. In 1864, the first telegraphic message was sent from South Asia to England from Karachi. Public building works were undertaken, including the construction of Frere Hall in 1865 and the later Empress Market. In 1878, the British Raj connected Karachi with the network of British India's vast railway system.
By 1899, Karachi had become the largest wheat-exporting port in the East. British development projects in Karachi resulted in an influx of economic migrants from several ethnicities and religions, including Anglo-British, Parsis, Marathis, and Goan Christians, among others. Karachi's newly arrived Jewish population established the city's first synagogue in 1893.Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in Karachi's Wazir Mansion in 1876 to migrants from Gujarat. By the end of the 19th century, Karachi's population was estimated to be 105,000.
Under British rule, the city's municipal government was established. Known as the Father of Modern Karachi, mayor Seth Harchandrai Vishandas led the municipal government to improve sanitary conditions in the Old City, as well as major infrastructure works in the New Town after his election in 1911.
At the dawn of Pakistan's independence in 1947, Karachi was Sindh's largest city with a population of over 400,000. Despite communal violence across India and Pakistan, Karachi remained relatively peaceful compared to cities further north in Punjab. The city became the focus for the resettlement of MuslimMuhajirs migrating from India, leading to a dramatic expansion of the city's population. This migration lasted until the 1960s. This immigration ultimately transformed the city's demographics and economy.
Karachi was selected as the first capital of Pakistan and served as such until the capital was shifted to Rawalpindi in 1958. While foreign embassies shifted away from Karachi, the city is host to numerous consulates and honorary consulates. Between 1958 and 1970, Karachi's role as capital of Sindh was ceased due to the One Unit programme enacted by President Iskander Mirza.
Karachi of the 1960s was regarded as an economic role model around the world, with Seoul, South Korea borrowing from the city's second "Five-Year Plan." The 1970s saw major labour struggles in Karachi's industrial estates. The 1980s and 1990s saw an influx of thousands of Afghan refugees from the Soviet war in Afghanistan into Karachi; who were in turn followed in smaller numbers by refugees escaping from post-revolution Iran.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Karachi was rocked by political and conflict, while crime rates drastically increased with the arrival of weaponry from the War in Afghanistan. Conflict between the MQM party, and ethnic Sindhis, Pashtuns, and Punjabis was sharp. The party and its vast network of supporters were targeted by Pakistani security forces as part of the controversial Operation Clean-up in 1992 – an effort to restore peace in the city that lasted until 1994. Anti-Hindu riots also broke out in Karachi in 1992 in retaliation for the demolition of the Babri Mosque in India by a group of Hindu nationalists earlier that year. Karachi had become widely known for its high rates of violent crime, but recorded crimes sharply decreased following a controversial crackdown operation against criminals, the MQM party, and Islamist militants initiated in 2013 by the Pakistan Rangers.
Main articles: Geography of Karachi and Environment of Karachi
Karachi is located on the coastline of Sindh province in southern Pakistan, along a natural harbour on the Arabian Sea. Karachi is built on a coastal plains with scattered rocky outcroppings, hills and coastal marshlands. Coastal mangrove forests grow in the brackish waters around the Karachi Harbour, and farther southeast towards the expansive Indus River Delta. West of Karachi city is the Cape Monze, locally known as Ras Muari, which is an area characterised by sea cliffs, rocky sandstone promontories and undeveloped beaches.
Within the city of Karachi are two small ranges: the Khasa Hills and Mulri Hills, which lie in the northwest and act as a barrier between North Nazimabad Town and Orangi Town. Karachi's hills are barren and are part of the larger Kirthar Range, and have a maximum elevation of 528 metres (1,732 feet).
Between the hills are wide coastal plains interspersed with dry river beds and water channels. Karachi has developed around the Malir River and Lyari Rivers, with the Lyari shore being the site of the settlement for Kolachi. To the west of Karachi lies the Indus River flood plain.
Main article: Climate of Karachi
Karachi has an arid climate (Köppen: BWh) dominated by a long "Summer Season" while moderated by oceanic influence from the Arabian Sea. The city has low annual average precipitation levels (approx. 250 mm (9.8 in) per annum), the bulk of which occurs during the July–August monsoon season. While the summers are hot and humid, cool sea breezes typically provide relief during hot summer months, though Karachi is prone to deadly heat waves, though a text-message based early warning system is now in place that helped prevent any fatalities during an unusually strong heatwave in October 2017. The winter climate is dry and lasts between December and February. It is dry and pleasant relative to the warm hot season, which starts in March and lasts until monsoons arrive in June. Proximity to the sea maintains humidity levels at near-constant levels year-round.
The city's highest monthly rainfall, 429.3 mm (16.90 in), occurred in July 1967. The city's highest rainfall in 24 hours occurred on 7 August 1953, when about 278.1 millimetres (10.95 in) of rain lashed the city, resulting in major flooding. Karachi's highest recorded temperature is 48 °C (118 °F) which was recorded on 9 May 1938, and the lowest is 0 °C (32 °F) recorded on 21 January 1934.
|Climate data for Karachi|
|Record high °C (°F)||32.8|
|Average high °C (°F)||25.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||10.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||0.0|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||6.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||270.7||249.4||271.6||277.4||299.1||231.8||155.0||147.7||218.8||283.5||273.3||272.0||2,950.3|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|Source #2: PMD (extremes)|
The city first developed around the Karachi Harbour, and owes much of its growth to its role as a seaport at the end of the 18th century, contrasted with Pakistan's millennia-old cities such as Lahore, Multan, and Peshawar. Karachi's Mithadar neighbourhood represents the extent of Kolachi prior to British rule.
British Karachi was divided between the "New Town" and the "Old Town," with British investments focused primarily in the New Town. The Old Town was a largely unplanned neighbourhood which housed most of the city's indigenous residents, and had no access to sewerage systems, electricity, and water. The New Town was subdivided into residential, commercial, and military areas. Given the strategic value of the city, the British developed the Karachi Cantonment as a military garrison in the New Town in order to aid the British war effort in the First Anglo-Afghan War.
The city's development was largely confined to the area north of the Chinna Creek prior to independence, although the seaside area of Clifton was also developed as a posh locale under the British, and its large bungalows and estates remain some of the city's most desirable properties. The aforementioned historic areas form the oldest portions of Karachi, and contain its most important monuments and government buildings, with the I. I. Chundrigar Road being home to most of Pakistan's banks, including the Habib Bank Plaza which was Pakistan's tallest building from 1963 until the early 2000s.
Situated on a coastal plain northwest of Karachi's historic core lies the sprawling district of Orangi Town. North of the historic core is the largely middle-class district of Nazimabad, and upper-middle class North Nazimabad, which were developed in the 1950s. To the east of the historic core is the area known as Defence – an expansive upscale suburb developed and administered by the Pakistan Army. Karachi's coastal plains along the Arabian Sea south of Clifton were also developed much later as part of the greater Defence Housing Authority project.
Karachi's city limits also include several islands, including Baba and Bhit Islands, Oyster Rocks, and Manora, a former island which is now connected to the mainland by a thin 12 kilometre long shoal known as Sandspit. The city has been described as one divided into sections for those able to afford to live in planned localities with access to urban amenities, and those who live in unplanned communities with inadequate access to such services. Up to 60% of Karachi's residents live in such unplanned communities.
Main article: Economy of Karachi
Karachi is Pakistan's financial and commercial capital. Since Pakistan's independence, Karachi has been the centre of the nation's economy, and remain's Pakistan's largest urban economy despite the economic stagnation caused by sociopolitical unrest during the late 1980s and 1990s. The city forms the centre of an economic corridor stretching from Karachi to nearby Hyderabad, and Thatta.
With an estimated GDP of $113 billion as of 2014[update], Karachi contributes the bulk of Sindh's gross domestic product. The city's competitiveness has declined relative to other Pakistani cities on account of poor infrastructure, corruption, and political instability.
Following a controversial crackdown operation against criminals initiated in 2013 by the Pakistan Rangers, crime rates have dramatically fallen in the city, triggering sharp increases in real-estate prices. In addition to increased land values, upmarket restaurants and cafés are described by Reuters as "overflowing."
Karachi accounts for approximately 20% of the total GDP of Pakistan. The city has a large informal economy which is not typically reflected in GDP estimates. The informal economy may constitute up to 36% of Pakistan's total economy, versus 22% of India's economy, and 13% of the Chinese economy. The informal sector employs up to 70% of the city's workforce. An estimated 63% of the city's workforce is employed in trade and manufacturing.
Finance and Banking
Most of Pakistan's public and private banks are headquartered on Karachi's I. I. Chundrigar Road, which is known as "Pakistan's Wall Street", with a large percentage of the cashflow in the Pakistani economy taking place on I. I. Chundrigar Road. Most major foreign multinational corporations operating in Pakistan have their headquarters in Karachi. Karachi is also home to the Pakistan Stock Exchange, which was rated as Asia's best performing stock market in 2015 on the heels of Pakistan's upgrade to emerging-market status by MSCI.
Media and Technology
Main articles: Media in Karachi, Cinema in Karachi, List of television stations in Karachi, List of magazines in Karachi, and List of newspapers in Karachi
Karachi has been the pioneer in cable networking in Pakistan with the most sophisticated of the cable networks of any city of Pakistan, and has seen an expansion of information and communications technology and electronic media. The city has become a software outsourcing hub for Pakistan. Several independent television and radio stations are based in Karachi, including Business Plus, AAJ News, Geo TV, KTN,Sindh TV,CNBC Pakistan, TV ONE, Express TV,ARY Digital, Indus Television Network, Samaa TV, Abb Tak, BoL TV, and Dawn News, as well as several local stations.
Industry contributes a large portion of Karachi's economy, with the city home to several of Pakistan's largest companies dealing in textiles, cement, steel, heavy machinery, chemicals, and food products. The city is home to approximately 30 percent of Pakistan's manufacturing sector, and produces approximately 42 percent of Pakistan's value added in large scale manufacturing. At least 4500 industrial units form Karachi's formal industrial economy. Karachi's informal manufacturing sector employs far more people than the formal sector, though proxy data suggest that the capital employed and value added from such informal enterprises is far smaller than that offormal sector enterprises.
Karachi Export Processing Zone, SITE, Korangi, Northern Bypass Industrial Zone, Bin Qasim and North Karachi serve as large industrial estates in Karachi. The Karachi Expo Centre also complements Karachi's industrial economy by hosting regional and international exhibitions.
As home to Pakistan's largest ports and a large portion of its manufacturing base, Karachi contributes a large share of Pakistan's collected tax revenue. As most of Pakistan's large multinational corporations are based in Karachi, income taxes are paid in the city even though income may be generated from other parts of the country. As home to the country's two largest ports, Pakistani customs officials collect the bulk of federal duty and tariffs at Karachi's ports, even if those imports are destined for one of Pakistan's other provinces. Approximately 25% of Pakistan's national revenue is generated in Karachi.
According to the Federal Board of Revenue's 2006–2007 year book, tax and customs units in Karachi were responsible for 46.75% of direct taxes, 33.65% of federal excise tax, and 23.38% of domestic sales tax. Karachi accounts for 75.14% of customs duty and 79% of sales tax on imports, and collects 53.38% of the total collections of the Federal Board of Revenue, of which 53.33% are customs duty and sales tax on imports.
Main articles: Demographics of Karachi, Ethnic groups in Karachi, and Religion in Karachi