Karachi, Pakistan, the country's largest city and the capital of Sind province. It lies on the flat, sandy coast facing the Arabian Sea just north of the Indus River delta.
Karachi is Pakistan's largest industrial and commercial center, handling much of Pakistan's international trade. Leading manufacturing industries include food processing, shipbuilding, and the making of textiles, chemicals, and machinery. Oil refineries, a nuclear power plant, and the nation's first steel mill are nearby. Karachi is Pakistan's only seaport and the center of the nation's fishing industry. It also serves as the main port for landlocked Afghanistan. The city has a busy international airport. The University of Karachi, NED University of Engineering and Technology, and Pakistan's National Museum are in Karachi. The city also has several colleges and research institutions.
Originally a tiny fishing village, Karachi became a trading center in the 1700's. The British, after gaining control of the region in the 19th century, developed the city into an important port. Rapid growth came after Pakistan became independent in 1947, largely, because of the huge influx of Muslim refugees from India. Karachi was the national capital from 1947 until 1959. Over the next several decades it was one of the fastest growing cities in the world, doubling its population from 1981 to 1999.