Reclaiming Karachi

Razia wants to win Pakistan’s first Olympic gold medal for women’s boxing; student teacher Iqra is a guide on Karachi’s first tourist bus tour; top boy scout Rizwaan started Pakistan’s Youth Parliament and young lawyer Faiza has created Asia’s first female troupe of improvisational comedians. They are just some of the young people determined to put their home city on the map for good reasons rather than bad.

In 2013 Karachi was described as the most dangerous mega-city in the world where political gang warfare, terrorist bomb blasts, targeted killings, kidnapping and extortion were everyday occurrences. But in the past two years the security situation has been brought under control and citizen-led activities to reclaim Karachi’s public spaces are blossoming again, particularly by young people under 30 who make up two thirds of Pakistan’s population. Walls that were once covered with political slogans and hate speech are now painted over with murals celebrating the city’s history and diversity. Nightlife is once again booming with arts and culture back on the stage. This spring’s annual all-night Aalmi Mushaira, held in the Karachi Expo Centre, attracted thousands of Urdu poetry lovers of all ages and backgrounds. And the comedy scene is thriving, drawing new audiences and challenging stereotypes with internationally successful acts such as Saad Haroon.

Join Karachi radio journalist Noreen Shams Khan to discover a Pakistan that you do not usually hear about.

(Photo: A young pupil at Karachi’s first all-girls boxing club. Credit: Culture Wise Productions)

Release date:

Available now

27 minutes

Last on

Mon 24 Jul 2017 06:06 GMT
BBC World Service East Asia

In Detail: Moving Pictures

A Flower Painting by Rachel Ruysch

Take time to discover the detail in old masterpieces using your phone, tablet or computer

Amazing documentaries from 2017


Catch up on some of the most powerful global stories from the last year


The Space Race

Stargazing - from eclipses to the spacecraft changing our view of the Universe

The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

Every episode of The Documentary, on your mp3 player, to play wherever you are

The Compass

The Compass - branding 1920

The essential take on big ideas, issues and trends from the 21st century