Magazine article Geographical

Karachi: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City

Magazine article Geographical

Karachi: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City

Article excerpt

KARACHI: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City

by Laurent Gayer

Hurst, hb, 25 [pounds sterling]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In many ways, Karachi is a microcosm of Pakistan. Plagued by political and criminal violence, the country's largest city manages to survive beneath a fragile cloak of business as usual. Indeed, the city has always managed to pull itself back from the brink of implosion, despite a history of stress testing worthy of the roll-out of a new super jumbo jet.

Karachi's ability to survive amid endless turf wars, as well as collected and targeted violence, is contained in the subtitle of Laurent Gayer's book: 'ordered disorder'. Everyone is aware of the risks of putting a foot wrong with political or gangland opponents (often one and the same) and it's in no-one's interest to inflict too much havoc on this lucrative power base. As the author points out, the violence is contained within boundaries and doesn't prevent democratic order and a thriving economy. …

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