KARACHI, Pakistan, Sept. 22 -- Many Karachi residents apparently agree with a U.S. magazine's claim that the Pakistani city of 21 million is a dangerous place to live.
An article in the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine called "Cooking in Karachi," about Pakistan and the methamphetamine trade called Karachi "far and away the world's most dangerous megacity," and reported it has "a homicide rate of 12.3 per 100,000 residents, some 25 percent higher than any other major city."
The article has received substantial publicity in Pakistan. Many Karachi residents interviewed by UPI Next agreed the shipping and financial center that is the largest city in Pakistan and the capital of the southern Sindh province is dangerous, citing a number of factors.
"Karachi has entirely changed," Masooma Ali, wife of an army colonel, told UPI Next.
"This cosmopolitan city was once called 'the city of lights.' Today, it is called the city of chaos, the city of looting, the city of target killings.”
Daylight robberies, looting and burglary have become the norm in Karachi. Residents have begun putting up barriers limiting access to their homes and streets, and some people now hire armed guards.
"A few days back, I was robbed at a tailor's shop," Ali said. "My handbag, cellphone, currency and other particulars were stolen at gunpoint. I wanted to resist, but then I thought of my two kids, who were along with me. The robbers were already threatening me, pointing the loaded gun toward my 6-year-old son."
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in July that 1,728 people were killed during the first six months of the year. It said 545 ordinary citizens were gunned down, 92 police officers were killed and another 92 people were killed by bombs.
Manzoor Isran, an international relations professor at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in Karachi, said the city "presents the picture of Hobbesian society," in which "the life of common people is shortish, nasty and brutish." In his reference