Karachi was the capital of Pakistan from the time of partition in 1947 until 1958 when it was moved to Islamabad. It has the highest population of any city in Pakistan with 9.2 m persons in 1998. Lying on the Arabian sea, northwest of the Indus delta, it is also Pakistan’s busiest sea port, and handles all of the country’s marine imports.
Karachi began as a small fishing village. In the eighteenth century, the khan of Kalat (the head of the city state of Kalat, founded in 1660 and now a part of Pakistan) moved to the settlement in search of a site with good sea port potential and natural defences. In 1795, the Talpura amirs took Karachi when the khan of Kalat removed his troops from the region, and built a permanent fort. The settlement quickly expanded and when the British arrived in 1839 it had already become a significant trading post. In 1842 the British annexed it, basing their army command headquarters there, and the small fishing village became one of the...