Faseeh Mangi at Bloomberg:
Karachi ranks as having the worst public transport system globally, according to a 2019 study by car-parts company Mister Auto that looked at 100 major cities. It serves about 42% of Karachi’s commuters, relying on decades-old, overcrowded buses that use the roof as a second deck for passengers at times. Roads are filled with potholes, not all traffic signals are automated, and it’s common to see drivers running red lights. And yet the former capital is home to Pakistan’s main ports and the regional headquarters for companies such as Standard Chartered Plc and Unilever Plc, helping it generate half of the nation’s tax revenue.
Those funds, however, get distributed to other parts of the country. The city’s outgoing mayor Waseem Akhtar said last year he had only 12% administrative control of the city and a lack of funds. The army controls the wealthier areas of Karachi, while the rest is divided among the provincial and federal governments that don’t get along.
“Karachi, despite its importance, is a political orphan,” said Arsalan Ali Faheem, a consultant at DAI, a Bethesda, Maryland-based company that advises on development projects.