The subtropical seaport of Karachi is an exploding population bomb, the world’s fastest-growing mega-city. More than 1,000 migrants pile out of buses and trains each day, ratcheting up the population of 22 million. “They leave bombed-out villages in the tribal north or parched hamlets in South Punjab to come settle at the edge of sewers in unplanned slums,” seeking survival as laborers, Karachi novelist Muhammad Hanif wrote this summer.
The migrants keep coming even though “Karachi is known for killing its residents,” Hanif wrote. Crime and battles among the city’s criminal gangs, rival ethnic militias and Pakistani Taliban pushed violent deaths to about 3,000 in each of the past three years.