Fast-Tracking Pakistan’s Grid Modernity: Exploring the Politics of Infrastructure Development in Asia’s Frontiers

In Pakistan today, infrastructure is a site of renewed political attention. A key reason is the planning and construction of numerous infrastructure projects under the USD $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an appendage to China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI). CPEC is constantly characterized as a ‘game changer’ for Pakistan, due to high expectations for it to boost national and regional economic development.

Gender and violence in urban Pakistan

The report is the final output of the Safe and Inclusive Cities Program (SAIC) project (2013 – 2016). The project has focused on the material and discursive drivers of gender roles and their relevance to configuring violent geographies specifically among 12 urban poor, lower-income, lower-middle income, neighborhoods of 3 cities: Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad. The project has investigated how frustrated gendered expectations may be complicit in driving different types of violence and how they may be tackled by addressing first, the material aspects of gender roles through improved access to infrastructure services and opportunities, and second, discursive aspects of gender roles in terms of public education and media. This report's findings are based upon approximately 2400 hundred questionnaire surveys, close to 60 ethnographic style interviews, participant observations, participatory photographic surveys, media monitoring, secondary literature review and some key informant interviews. The findings overwhelmingly point towards access to services and vulnerability profiles of households as major drivers of violence, as they intersect with discourses surrounding masculinities, femininities and sexualities. The core discussions and analysis in this final research report are anchored in the following four themes: vulnerabilities, mobilities, access to infrastructure services, and violence. This was a multi-method research project and each of the methods was chosen to address specific types of data relevant to the specific research questions.

Everyday life along the KCR tracks: uncertain futures and aspirations for mobility

Soha Macktoom

Hidden within the narrow lanes of Moosa Colony, in UC-35 of North Nazimabad, Karachi, one can find the material ruins of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), faintly discernible in the sand covered tracks and a few isolated posts bearing numeric markings. The KCR’s golden era of the 1960s can be traced in Moosa Colony’s residents’ accounts; an era when the KCR represented a vanguard of modernity and embodied high aspirations for the city’s landscape of mobility.

Displacement and the Right to Stay Put in the Asian Metropolis

Producers: Kevin Shi and Fizza Qureshi (Research Associates, Karachi Urban Lab)

"Displacement and the Right to Stay Put in the Asian Metropolis" is a video documentary about evictions and displacements in one of Asia's largest cities, Karachi. This video documentary is part of a broader research project on logics of improvement, development and displacement in Karachi.

In Thar, who matters more? Coal companies or Tharis?

Nausheen H. Anwar, Vikram Das Meghwar, Arsam Saleem

While there are conflicting stories about coal mining’s impact on Thar, for activists the major problems concern land displacement, village resettlement and the long-term effect on the region’s ecology — especially the availability of water given climate change.