Does Karachi really need the tallest building in the world?

Published: February 18, 2013

Indeed, every patriotic Pakistani would want to own the tallest building in the world. But do you think we really need it? PHOTO: REUTERS

As you read these lines, many people mourn the death of their loved ones in Karachi. 

As you click on the “share” button on Facebook to express your awe on the proposed wonderment that lies ahead, a frustrated son curses the traffic jam he is stuck in as he tries to get home to his sick mother after work.

As you start believing that I am yet another critic who can’t stand seeing any positive change in this country, you tend to forget the wise old saying that all ‘that glitters is not gold’.

The currently tallest building on the planet, the Burj Khalifa, was built in 2010 when Dubai was ranked as the seventh most visited city in the world. The second tallest building, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, has been built in a city that is visited by several million pilgrims annually as part of an obligate religious duty. The third tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101, is located in a city that holds one of the largest global foreign exchange reserves and boasts virtually full employment and low inflation.

I could go on with the list but I shall leave it here for the sake of brevity.

The crux of the discussion is that all such buildings symbolise already existing prosperity in their respective cities, instead of initiating the process of development.

As most of us drool upon the prospect of seeing the tallest building of the world on our way to work here in Karachi, we tend to forget some vital chapters of our history.

When the Mughals, at the peak of their power, were busy building lavish architectural miracles like the Taj Mahal, the West invested in the field of science. The effect of these different approaches are being felt a couple of centuries later when the West has left us far behind in terms of development. The effect is felt even more when each year hundreds of our educated youth leave their home country for greener pastures, disheartened by the security situation that worsens each passing day.

Recently, an agreement has been signed with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, Chairman Abu Dhabi Group, under which $45 billion will be invested in Pakistan. Of the $45 billion, $35 billion will go into Sindh.

Part of this money will be used to construct a building in Karachi which will be the tallest building of the world.

As uncertainty regarding the fate of this country prevails on each passing day, do you really think that the tallest building in the world is the solution to our problems?

Indeed, every patriotic Pakistani would want to own the tallest building in the world. But do you think we really need it?

Will it not be fairer to invest the billions in the fields of health and education instead?

Will it not be wiser to sort out the power shortages first in order to stabilise the quivering economy?

For all those who believe that it will attract tourists from all over the world and will hence help to strengthen the economy, let me again take you back a few years.

Not too long ago, the city of Karachi boasted of having the third tallest fountain in the world. I honestly don’t know if it still exists or not. And my not being aware of its existence is a strong enough proof of the fact that all the money that went in its construction quite literally drowned in the sea.

Did we see a storm of tourists from all over the world visit the fountain?

Did it help make Karachi a better city to live in?

Did it solve key issues like target killing, power shortages and inflation?

The prospect of the tallest building in Karachi is like an energised Tahirul Qadri speech, promising much and delivering none. It is like distributing free laptops to students without any significant increase in the overall literacy rate.

Supposing that the construction is somehow completed, chances are that it will be named Bilawal Tower, with the owner sitting by the window on the top floor, like a king looking down on his slaves who appear to be like busy ants, working hard to keep the flame on this country’s stove burning; their presence and their problems, looking trivial from that magnificent height. Looking up from below, the masters seem invisible, inapproachable and invincible; much like our lives right now.

As you finish reading this article, another life has been lost due to the lack of resources in a government hospital. Had the patient become critical only a few minutes earlier, he would have gotten the services of the only available ventilator in the hospital. But luck was not on his side today, as he departs into the unknown.

Let us be brutally honest and ask ourselves one last time; do we really need the tallest building in the world?

Read more by Ali here or follow him on Twitter @dralirafiq

Dr Ali Rafiq

Dr Ali Rafiq

Doctor, debater, freelance writer and blogger. Graduate of Dow Medical College and winner of various national and international debating and writing competitions. He tweets @dralirafiq

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • gp65

    The investment is by a foreign investor in partnership with Riaz Malik. Pakistani citizens taxes are not bring used for this purpose. HE is not giving you the choice of whether to invest in real estate or education and health or in your power sector.. The only choice you have is to accept the investment in real estate or reject it.

    This is not aid or khairaat. It is a business transaction which the investor will only do in the area that not only will be profitable for them but also fits in with their broader investment strategy.

    The example of Shah Jehan investing in buiilding Taj Mahal while British were investing in science is completely irrelevant since it is not government funding that is going to go in this building.

    If the building is not viable because tourists do not flock as anticipated, that is a risk that the investors have to worry about. All Karachi has to think about is that is giving up that much piece of land (which the project needs) the best use of that land given the supposed benefits (i.e. 2.5 million people being employed, other things like cement etc, production going up through the roof etc. vs some alternative use that the same land can be put to.Recommend

  • Human

    I totally agree with you Ali Rafiq :

    Zardari also does not Need that Bullet proof House .

    People Need education , Jobs , Food & Clothes .
    so what are WE all doing about it ?Recommend

  • Nada Tahir

    I totally agree with the writer. This money should have been invested in education, healthcare or even basic infrastructure which is so lacking in the city. I do, however disagree with your point on the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal represented the epitome of Muslim architecture and design which in itself was a science. We, at least had that to celebrate and call our own. Sadly, we have lost sense of all that history and progress that Muslims had paved the way for and this glittering tower that has no purpose symbolizes what we have become and where we’re headed. Recommend

  • maritesgobuyan

    why not stop first the bombing ,it does not encouraged tourism…..Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    Ali, Did you just read the head line of the story “Karachi getting the tallest building in the world” or did you bother to read the entire article ? Well let me state some facts that were in the article. Besides the tallest building, there will be a “medical city”, “Education City” as well as a “media city” being built in karachi just the same as Dubai.

    Now the estimates are that there will be 2.5 million jobs created. That means 2.5 million house holds will get a better chance of living. In a country that already has so low foriegn reserves, this will probably give some boost to the economy where other investors are running away scared. And the government hospitals that you talk about, Arent you the part of the same doctors who go on strikes and become the part of the reason the poor patients are denied treatments and are let to die.? Recommend

  • Habib Malik

    Brilliant reminder…thanksRecommend

  • Shadytr33

    And Also I agree with gp65. The $45billion is not yours to spend because it did not come from your taxes. It is the money of Abu Dhabi Group and they can invest it whenever and where ever possible. We should be grateful to them that they are investing in a region that has other investors running scared due to the security situations that was not managed and further ruined by the so called “democratically elected government”.Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    So if I as a private investor build a building or house in Pakistan you will have a problem with it? You want me to spend that on education or building a power plant? Your article does not make sense & it makes me wonder why such blogs exist on this website. Doesnt the express tribune filter articles?

    It is a private investor, he can do what he wants with his money, hes not using your tax income for this purpose (if you pay any that is)Recommend

  • Nadir

    This is just another pie in the sky glitzy PR campaign by Malik Riaz. None of this will ever come to pass. But that doesnt stop people from getting excited, after all, if we had the worlds tallest building, we can then look the West in the EYE!!Recommend

  • abhi

    what is the point on debating something which is not going to happen.Recommend

  • Sakina kavi

    Wonderful article Ali… Enjoyed reading every word. And yes, certaibly uve made ur point… We surely need strenghten our basic insitutions first. Recommend

  • Mango

    Its not his duty.. to do what you think s important for that you elect reresenttive.. He is a business tycoon and he is here to create business not welfare work.. not that he doesnot give into that.
    Sorry to say if any one needs food, shelter and protection they need to stand up for it or work for it.. Stop criticising everything.. you dont see this project is going to provide employment to millions of people and will give a lift to our economy..Recommend

  • Hamza

    Abu Dhabi group is not here to provide food, shelter and education nor Bahria Town is, It’s the job of your elected Govt. and This investment will bring a few jobs so its clear it will eventually bring shelter and food to those who are unemployed today. and the investment is not ours be mindful about it, I don’t get why everyone wakes up and write for ET .Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    Sorry to rain on your parade but constructing the tallest building in metropolis has nothing to do with the poverty of a city. Karachi’s still an econocally stable city and is considered a “Dubai” for those who come to earn here from different parts of the nation, sometimes from Afghanistan. Let the charity thing leave on charity organizations.

    Also the deal is expected to generate over 2.5 million jobs in Pakistan and will promote investment opportunities for local industries, including cement, iron, steel and glass.

    These multiple kind of projects will provide equal opportunities to lower and middle classes of the country.

    I would ask you to be brutally LOGICAL and ask think how useful this venture could be.Recommend

  • A Peshawary

    “As you start believing that I am yet another critic who can’t stand seeing any positive change in this country”

    The fear inside the man spoken out, his writing proved what he thought about himself. Thus article not worth comments.

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • Hamza

    Can I question your words? How have you formulated one is died and one is about to die, How you know the time frame? or your just saying because of the perception and watching news??Recommend

  • Parvez

    Statements like this are more Rehman Maliks field, as its life expectancy is at best 36 hrs.Recommend

  • Moe

    I agree with gp65, this is a private investment and in a free market, the investor is free to do whatever he wants(legally).

    This isn’t aid nor are they using taxpayer monies, this investment will create 2.5 million jobs which will probably create a ripple effect and create even more jobs, plus Karachi needs a new monument, and a new skyline.Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    It is like boasting my head has a lot of hair. Problem being not many hair, but a single hair which is very long. It is absurd.Recommend

  • Maher

    Just few points, lets suppose if this skyscraper is built in Karachi:

    Who will buy such expensive apartments?
    Who will buy such expensive offices?
    If big brands are opening their showrooms who can afford these things?

    First we must have economic stability and the reason for foreigners to visit Karachi. Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Adil Amin

    I think we should notice that who is going to construt these projects; goverment or private company. We can more easily find the better answer. Recommend

  • ASZ


  • Awais

    I think it is an election stunt. But if it is not then what is the problem. The money is being spent by business man not by incumbent government. Business man always looks for investments and profits. So, AUD Sheikh is investing to promote his business and he has right to spend where he anticipates profit. Be clear he is not giving charity to Pakistan. At least this mega construction will indeed open abundant opportunities. Recommend

  • Ansari

    Pathetic piece .. This investment is done by Abu Dhabi group, not Sailani Welfare Trust !!!Recommend

  • NarendraModi

    @ Raw is War, preach to Ambani, who built antillia right outside a slum. Hahahahah, how many hundreds of millions without a toilet?

    long hair…hahahahaRecommend

  • Ali

    Express Tribune, you should sell your assets and resources and stop publication to feed the poor people of Pakistan. How about that.

    And lol @ Taaj Mehal is ours, I guess someone said that hahahahaRecommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)

    Thank you everyone for the appreciation and the criticism that has been expressed here. I shall make my response brief for now as I am a bit short of time.

    The question asked is “Does Karachi really need the tallest building in the world?”.

    Let us clarify a few things before moving forward:

    1) The subject of the blog is purely the proposed building. It does not include the various other projects in the deal. The $45 billion investment and the creation of 2.5 million jobs envelopes all the projects in the deal and not just this building.

    2) I am well aware that the money that is being used for the project is the investors’ money. They can use it to make an underwater zoo or an amusement park on the moon. It doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is that this investment is supposed to be made in my city, and I feel it is my right to question its need, keeping in mind the perspective from the point of view of my city, and not the pockets of the investors, keeping in mind the effects it can have in the future when people will be asked to choose the elected representatives.

    Having said that, I believe that most of the critics here have failed to grasp the point. In the fourth last paragraph, I have compared it with other political gimmicks. Hence, in my view, the news that the tallest building in the world being built here may be nothing more than a political stunt. My claim gains weight from the fact that Mr. Riaz is a close ally of the current President. His association with the President is secret to none.

    I would again like to repeat the question. “Does Karachi really NEED the tallest building in the world?”. With all the chaos that soaks this city, do the residents need a false sense of pride in something that is being lead by controversial names?Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)

    The point regarding Taj Mahal was to indicate how Muslims have historically prioritized investing in lavish architecture more than the fields of science and education. I guess the act of “reading between the lines” has gone extinct! Recommend

  • Syed Masood

    I totally agreed with this article.
    Keep an eye on & watch the trailor.Recommend

  • S

    “Looking up from below, the masters seem invisible, inapproachable and invincible; much like our lives right now.

    As you finish reading this article, another life has been lost due to the lack of resources in a government hospital.”

    Amazingly writen. It is indeed futile to invest in tourism in a country labelled as “terrorism zone”, so I dont understand why they would bother anyway. Recommend

  • rabbani khan

    for everyone who is ranting about jobs/education, part of investment is to built education cities/huge hospitals and it will create about 2.5 million jobs, quit ranting. Recommend

  • Iqbal

    If the so called politicians and the business community are serious of taking the country forward, instead of erecting tallest towers in the world, they should be looking at how advanced nations moved forward. The best investments they can make are 1) linking cities towns with high speed rail links, that will not only provide jobs but also people from different part of the country together… movement of people and goods. 2) Alternative energy … with $10B investment in windmill technology, you can provide electricity to each and every home in the country. 3) Education…FREE and Mandatory Education to upto 12th for all 4) Free health care if someone is making less than say 2 lakhs a year.

    There should be name and shame and lock in and confiscate policies is some one does not pay appropriate taxes and only those can come in power who have never late in paying taxes and have at least Masters. We can not and should not compete with Arab countries in building highest towers but with advanced countries where education, innovation, equality for all, free healthcare and education is the norm…. I pray everyday for my Pakistan and love to see it to be a model country for the world,,, InshallahRecommend

  • http://usa indian

    there’s no way karachi can get world’s tallest building…..its just the magic of approaching elections….in a city as unstable as karachi ,this plan might not materialise for 8-10 years….but anyways karachi walaas can always dream about it :)Recommend

  • optimistic

    u are saying that cities like makkah and dubai deserve to have such structures as they are bursting with foreign investment inflows right now…but there must have been some kind of beginning to that inflow and obviously that is the reason that now they boast of being most visited tourist destinations, have full employment, low inflation etc..This investment may be that kind of beginning for us that will eventually lead towards prosperity. Pakistan is a country which needs such a loud attention grabber to attract further foreign investment. Also, its a complete cycle, when the people will get jobs and proper means to earn livelihoods, there will be a stark fall in terrorism activities thus improving security situation, health and education levels.Recommend

  • firas

    Ah we have another doctor hater in the house. When are you people going to realise that doctors are humans too, with families to support and mouths to feed. When doctors have on of the most disappointing pay scales and absolutely no service structure, they have every right to protest. Btw. No body dies due to those strikes. emergencies remain operational.Recommend

  • Something Clever

    Nice bomb target.Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    Whatever happened to the bleeding hearts who were dying to improve the lot of the poor?
    The city government will be obliged to invest in providing infrastructure, broader roads, transportation, sanitation, clean water, state-of-the-art firefighting equipment and more.
    It is not the square meters of land the structure will cover on the ground level but it will affect the whole of nearby environment, not necessarily positively. Who will foot the bill for extra costs for the city government?

    With the highly “reliable” electric supply not many would like to get stuck in an elevator on 113th floor. Water would be easy to supply to thirsty ones though. Just tie a wire around a water tanker lift it up by a helicopter and release it the top floor.
    Nothing wrong in having a pipe dream.Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    Now Malik Riaz, no matter how questionable his character or reputation may be, he has given Pakistan mega residential projects. Helped secure the release of Pakistani prisoners from the Somali Pirates, Helped the govt of Punjab in developing a low cost housing scheme for the less affluent.
    Now what does it matter to you that the tallest building is being made in Karachi ? Just as the Abu Dhabi Group is entering a business venture, So is Mr Riaz. Now they may do anything they please (legally) to attract further investment and make their projects financially successful. Why do you have an eye on other people’s money where they are spending. This money is surely not the incumbent government’s neither yours. They want profits from their investment and making the tallest building in Khi seems to them as the best way to do so.

    Also the monuments made by the Mughals were not business ventures. The reason they are called Monuments. This tallest building is a business project that will further attract business either it may be in the form of tourist attraction or may become a property investment opportunity for some.Recommend

  • gp65

    The investment is by a foreign investor in partnership with Riaz Malik. Pakistani citizens taxes are not bring used for this purpose. HE is not giving you the choice of whether to invest in real estate or education and health or in your power sector.. The only choice you have is to accept the investment in real estate or reject it.
    This is not aid or khairaat. It is a business transaction which the investor will only do in the area that not only will be profitable for them but also fits in with their broader investment strategy.
    The example of Shah Jehan investing in buiilding Taj Mahal while British were investing in science is completely irrelevant since it is not government funding that is going to go in this building.
    If the building is not viable because tourists do not flock as anticipated, that is a risk that the investors have to worry about. All Karachi has to think about is that is giving up that much piece of land (which the project needs) the best use of that land given the supposed benefits (i.e. 2.5 million people being employed, other things like cement etc, production going up through the roof etc. vs some alternative use that the same land can be put to.Recommend

  • shahid

    Do you thing it will really happen? and if it is really happenig why are you having stomachache? Recommend

  • vijay

    Karachi need’s a modern metro train network not false dreams.Recommend

  • Stranger

    Why not . that will give employment to so many hundreds. Look at the bright side.Recommend

  • Reminder

    It will provide 15000 Job opportunities for the people of Karachi! Please think before you write something!Recommend

  • Dandelion

    Nope, you cannot question private investors for what they do with their money. This is not your concern. you can invest your money all you want but you got no right to question thier intents and purposes. Government is answerable to you, not corporate sector.Recommend

  • Sehrish

    Dear Author,

    For your kind information, this project is headed and sponosred privately by AbuDhabi group and a business tycoon of Pakistan.
    Provision of basic needs is the responsibility of your government. So please, let the progress begin. and stop being an arm chair critic.

    Thankyou for writing a useless piece.Recommend

  • Amar A.

    Will the influx of money be good for the economy? Yes. Will it provide tons of jobs? Yes. Will it pay for itself/maybe make a profit? Presumably. (These guys aren’t rich for nothing, they must know what they’re doing.)

    Does it have an ironic ring to it? Yes. Like putting the cart in front of the horse, maybe?

    It is eerily reminiscent of Zaheer Babar’s classic short story, hawa mein latakti hui laash, involving the hilarious/tragic description of certain hi-tech cranes that an unnamed ‘Asian country’ went through great pains to purchase. Any similarities?

    I love Karachi and want to see it progress, but a tower like this fits very awkwardly in bed along with all the other issues we’re addressing. If we’re in the stone ages, let’s invent the wheel, not the Ferrari. Mubarik-Riaz have no obligation to ‘help’ the people, but what they’re doing will inevitably affect us all, for better or for worse… so keep your fingers crossed.

    Mr. Riaz, we need more of your type, and our hopes are with you, who knows, perhaps a ripple effect of some kind will come of this, but we’re still skeptical. Show us your best!Recommend

  • behram khan

    dear ali,
    tall buildings arn’t being made for ghosts. there will b offices, malls and other business opportunities for the people of Karachi and all over Pakistan which will create jobs for the people of Karachi. damn, even making the building will create so many jobs. from jobs they’ll get money and hence food and shelter will be provided. if your idea is just to create houses and distribute it among the poor, then my friend u have to start thinking rationally. the main reason why we are in this situation write now is the pessimistic approach we have. and plz for heaven’s sake, stop blaming zardari or anyone for your problems, we were the one craving for democracy. u got it and now you bewail? Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Pakistan the tallest fraud and fake promises and best credit forgiven country in the world and peoples who dont even understand what they want like tahir ul qadri dum…Recommend

  • Omar

    have we really spoke about the economic effects of the project? are they really economists who say that providing employment opportunities will help poor to live a better life? wouldn’t it cause JUST inflation to increase their purchasing power by providing jobs and without increasing the supply of goods and services? think about it………Recommend

  • Toufiq

    I disagree with the notion that education is the fix for all issues.

    Were we better off 10 years ago where we had less educated people or now? This question applies to every country in the world.

    obviously the answer from most of the people not all will be 10 years ago.
    So so called modern day education that we think will bring us the prosperity is a kinda false hope. Most student going after modern degrees are not to serve their country or place where they once lived but to pile up the wealth. No big issue with that mentality; however the problem is we successfully apply our talent to make the place were we work a success story but we fail to make the same stride at home. I mean the human factory that every one of us runs at home is creating more defective products than good ones. Recommend

  • allequal

    Investing in Karachi will create jobs for its residents & thus the people will get the basic rights and then their wont be any need to fight !!!
    We just can’t sit, refuse every offer to make the future of our people good, we have to take steps, everbody knows that everyone has an eye on Karachi & will try to destabilize it in every way.
    So, Investing in Karachi means you are supporting those thousands of families who are being beaten by the government.
    And in the last supporting Karachi means supporting Pakistan !!!Recommend

  • S1

    Agree with the comments below. Investing $45 Billion in health & education > anything else at this point. Having said that, this is not OUR money to invest. The idea could be accepted or slightly tinkered with but not changed from being a real estate/infrastructure/whatever project into a health & education one. I totally agree that this is not what pakistan’s priority right now (Metro bus system in lahore???) but this is forgein investment targeted at real estate. I guess attracting more investment towards health + education could be the goal but dunno how easy it will be to raise capital for that externallyRecommend

  • Usman

    This is in a way good. This will boost tourism which will become very useful. And thanks to the boost in tourism some people might see what Pakistanis are actually like. We can delete our old image and create a new oneRecommend

  • Ahsan Raza

    Its not OUR money to spend. Its basic economics, this is foreign investment. If you want to criticize our spending habits you choose the wrong topic of discussion. Instead our bloated defense budget and Billions lost in corruption should be held responsible for our deprived social institutions.Recommend

  • Sami

    This brings up interesting questions:

    Will there be enough power to supply the tower?
    Doesn’t it create a possibility that it will make it a one stop shop for the mafia to collect their protection monies?
    Will it become a target by TTP?

  • Muzzamil

    This is a legitimate business transaction, which every Pakistani should be proud of. This could be benchmark to ignite the foreign investment in the country. And as far as the GDP, HDI, literacy rate of the country is concerned, it’s merely responsiblity of a responsible government. Recommend

  • B+

    This is not IMDAAD this is investment PRIVATE investment.Recommend

  • salmanzq

    All those jobs created by this investment will be such a hassle. And putting Pakistan on the map for a positive thing like that will undo all the last few years of our hard work to create the monster image of Pakistan and Karachi. I say we protest against this! Dear writer, do you know ANYTHING about investments and impact of FDI?Recommend

  • Karachiite

    This money being invested is not ours nor our country’s. We cannot even ask them or suggest them to do something else even if we have a better option. If they are saying they are going to invest it in our country, they have all the right to being the owners of the land for the project. They are going to create millions of jobs by this project. Do you even know how much 45,000,000,000 dollars are!? And now coming to the point that whether this is a political stunt for the elections ahead or not? I must say no, because it has nothing to do with the government. People know it. For those of you saying that it is a dream, you have probably forgotten the year 1963 when the tallest building of Asia ‘Habib Bank Plaza’ was built in Karachi, given that Dubai was nothing at that time. Moscow the capital of Russia is in Europe and China was doing good but had no building as tall as Habib Bank Plaza! I know that people like you would have said at that time ‘Do we really need the tallest building of Asia?! GET A LIFE!!!Recommend

  • gp65

    @Ali Rafiq (author): “The point regarding Taj Mahal was to indicate how Muslims have historically prioritized investing in lavish architecture more than the fields of science and education. I guess the act of “reading between the lines” has gone extinct!”

    Not at all. What you meant was well understood. My comment and that of several others reflects a disagreement with your opinion not a lack of comprehension. The option of prioritizing education over a tall building does not arise since the investor has not given you that option. You can either allow him to proceed with this specific investment or reject his proposal. If it was the government which was building a tall building and neglecting education, then your comparison to the Mughals would be valid.

    Instead of assuming that people do not understand what you have written, you should perhaps make a little more effort to understand what they have written.

    As a non-Pakistani, I do not have any opinion on whether Pakistan government should accept or reject this investment proposal. But those are the only 2 options it has. IT does not have the option of somehow transferring these $45 billion to the education sector as you would like.Recommend

  • Sane


    what is the point on debating something which is not going to happen.

    This is not concerned to you. You focus on razing Masajids (Mosques) in India.Recommend

  • Babar M. Channa

    @Nada Tahir:

    y would a foreigner invest in education and health in our country? isnt that our job????Recommend

  • Saeed

    @Ali Rafiq (author):
    You are absolutely right in your assessment and i applaud you. The problem dear sir is not in our stars but in all the moronic commentators who believe this without really going into the economics of such a canard. To invest that kind of money the owners must have at least a hundred times that amount in net worth. Do they? Why this announcement now? Why Pakistan, when the whole world knows what we are going through. Fact is no foreign investor is willing to even visit Karachi, they want meetings in Dubai instead. Where in the world has the tallest building has ever been successful as real estate projects? the occupancy rates of these towers in Taiwan, Dubai and others is far from profitable, despite all the hype and hoopla. They are nothing but prestigious trophies, Dubai (borrowed) and Saudi (oil) can afford to waste their peoples wealth on such structures. Our country should have its priorities worked out, and no investor cannot override national interests. Therefore let them do what hey like with their ill gotten monies, as long as they pay a heavy price in taxation. That in itself should make it unviable. Actually this whole business would have been more believable had they said 400million, but I suppose the bigger the lie the bigger the propaganda. Recommend

  • tariq

    This is private business (not public money). If he wants to invest in real estate business then this is his choice. Yes its true its government responsibility to ensure law and order in Karachi. And government should spend money on healthcare, alleviating poverty and extremism etc.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)

    I believe the question has been misinterpreted. The question is one of symbolic significance and messed up priorities and not of economics. Certain alterations made later in the blog have seemed to distort the essence of the message for some readers here.Recommend

  • abhi

    So do you think this is going to happen? The writer and we all are just doing some timepass.Recommend

  • obaid ur Rehman

    We need this building and at the same time we have to figured out how to solve other problems.
    Its worst to cursing the excellence as someone is intrested in investment in the country. Apart form development other cases should be treated with enlightened prespective. Still in Dark we can ignite some spark which intend towards the SUN. Recommend

  • Stranger

    Why not . that will give employment to so many hundreds.hundreds of engineera/ hundreds of labourers/ hundreds of cleaners…. Look at the bright side.Recommend

  • Saif Khan

    Initiatives for development cannot be stopped of the fears exists in the countryRecommend

  • I am a Khan

    Please author..dont be negative. Whatever foreign investment comes in this country is Good. This project will be good for Karachi and its residents. The security situation of Karachi should be a worry for the investors, and if they are ready to invest even in such a security situation, then thats great!! The least we can do is thank Allah for the investment and accept the proposal of the investors. Honestly I am surprised that the AbuDhabi Sheikh is ready to invest in Karachi a massive amount of USD 45 Billion. Either he is not a good investor, or Karachi will shoot to being one of the best cities in the world which he has foreseen and you and I have not.Recommend

  • Dr Harris

    People are fond of criticizing everything. Definitely if this project materialize it will create jobs and bring confidence to other people to invest. Please don’t encourage these type of articles in your newspaper, especially thoughtless one.Recommend

  • Farhan Khan

    I do not agree with what you have wrote above there, dont you think constructing the tallest building will help by providing our weaken economy with employment and huge international investment in whatever shape that investment would be.. name any known multinational group who is willing to invest this much of amount in Pakistan??? do you even have slightest idea how foreign investment aid any economy?? it will be proved as life blood, and it will boost up our economy well.
    And what did u say?? tallest fountain?? are you kidding me?? you are actually comparing a state of the are building, a plant of generating electricity, and purifying sea water which really are the key issues of our poor people with a fountain??????
    and what is so offensive it this building will be named as Bilawal or Zardari tower?? core issue is not the name my friend its the mentality, whether with building or without.. I just cant understand why we do not appreciate a good step taken by a controversial person???
    and at the end dont you think that all of us as a nation do not discharge of our duties and responsibilities properly? what will you say about YDA ( Young Doctors Association ) strike in Punjab just for the sake of blackmailing the Govt.?? nearly one hundred people were dead because they were not treated by a dr.
    Our problems will not be addressed by blaming a specific class only, they are doing everything to protect their rights with every possible mean. time to think is what we are doing as a nation?? Nothing but criticizing only I guess.Recommend

  • http://- Abid P. Khan

    @Ali Rafiq (author):
    “….The question is one of symbolic significance and messed up priorities and not of economics…”

    Throughout the history of mankind one sees Phallic Symbols erected, to fulfill a concealed Freudian desire of exhibiting their own achievement to the public. Remember, lowest bidder, got the job of erecting one in Pisa, Italy.
    In this case too it is a group of middle aged men who get their jollies out of this proposal. Real Estate speculators will certainly be taken for a ride. Recommend

  • Saeed

    “Dhabi group was not available for comments.” Gulf News. Doesn’t that say something?Recommend

  • http://gmail idrees

    dear all every one has the right to experess thier opinion……but as for me i appreciated that project when foriegn investement came to our country it would appreciated pakistani currency
    2ndly it it would produce the job oppurtunity for every walk of people

    local product like raw matrial and other finished good would sale would increase which at least the sale tax the govt can gain
    Other invester also invest in different project like that one or else other
    as the job oppurtunity has increases the people would stop terror activity and start getting job and other oppurtunity
    they also can appreciate the tourisam industries
    Health and education sector can improve through corporate social responsability
    as they show the pic of poor girl altimately the poorty would be gone one day if the foriegn investement inflow can continue
    Althogh the poorrty and illirecity can not be inhalited but it can be minimiseRecommend

  • Fahad

    He is not asking you to
    Invest in this project or as
    Someone said here that malik is not giving you choice nor he needs your advise
    So just shut up
    Everyone who’s saying not to built this building.Recommend

  • Another Pakistani

    Sheikh and Malik are not doing charity. They are doing business and investing where it will give the most profitable return. Period!Recommend

  • Saad Thahim

    I completely disagree to you, this is a foriegn investment and
    Who so ever is investing hia money knows
    Th condition of the countey he has a hope of earning
    Why shouldn’t we hope that it will boost the economy of

    Don’t loose hope this building is again a light for us
    In dark.

    Inshaa Allah results will be good.Recommend

  • Saad Thahim

    @Na a Tahir:
    Writer hasn’t mentioned that its been invested by
    His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan of Abu DhabiRecommend

  • Insaan

    Do these investors know about WTC destruction by terrorists? With so much terrorism going on in Pakistan……does not make sense to make tallest building in Pakistan? Terrorists may fly planes right into…………Recommend

  • Taha Rais

    There is a huge lacking of specialized jobs in our country, I agree on that.
    But there’s something you are missing is lack of ambition. If kids or teenagers in Pakistan are given laptops to study and lower the illiteracy rate, the probably wouldn’t know what to do with it and would sell it for a cheap price, because the money is all they need to buy food and clothes. Making a tower would at least bring in tourists. The revenue generated due to the tourists could be used to better the poor conditions we have in Karachi. This tower could at least make Pakistan get a better image in the world, because right now anyone in other countries thinks of Pakistan as a barren wasteland. This image isn’t causing good to Pakistan. And due to this foreign firms do not wish to invest in Pakistan. We really need to work on our tourism industry as well. Foreign influence would actually make us want to fix our society and would make Karachi and Pakistan as well a much more civilized place gradually with time.
    And as far as the third largest fountain installed during president Musharraf’s time is concerned, We didn’t boast much about it, and to get tourists in the country you need to boast about stuff and ease policies concerning them, prices and tickets especially, and then the law and order situation and continuous riots and shoot-outs though how bad it is shouldn’t be displayed in media like an advertisement, this portrays Pakistan as a terrorist country.Recommend

  • J.K

    I dont think this will ever materialize….these are just fake promises to keep people away from the current situation….of the country.dont need to even waste time on thinking about such day dreams…..Recommend

  • Ahsan Khan


    Ameen to that.Recommend

  • Sane


    So do you think this is going to happen? The writer and we all are just doing some timepass.

    If you think this is timepass, then do something else to kill your time. In anyway it will not effect you, rather not concerning to you. Whether this happens or not. But, keep one thing noted that we have always shown you miracles by grace of Almighty ALLAH. Please focus to solve your problems which are lot many than we have.Recommend

  • Shoheb Bhayani

    @raw is war:your sentence is truly hilarious…I second it…wat are these pakis gonna do with the worlds largest tower ( the mqm and pakhtoon HQ and throw bombs on over each others floors,2.give refuge to the flood affected victims If in case its flooding hell…3.or better yet,building another safe haven for corrupt spineless politicians and likes of Hafiz saeed(that kaffir)..?
    @narendra modi:dream on…u don’t know nuts abt Bombay…get a life…SME layperson told u that there are slums in SOBO(south Bombay,as we mumbaiites say),u blindly even believed it…Bombay rocks…as for Karachi…hmm…u know that…
    BTW,the worlds biggest residential tower World One(700 metres) at worli is under construction just as we speak…jokes on u…
    And also I am an India MUSLIM…Recommend

  • Tahir

    Why you guys can’t understand that is not a govt. funded project. It is totally foriegn investment and investor wants to invest only in real state. If someone want to make such big investment let them come and invest. Recommend

  • Shahnawaz

    I actually Agreed to a level where i had to disagree. I am not a journalist, nor a politician. Just a simple guy born and raised in Karachi. I guess you forgot the time where the country would have been attacked by united states of whatever.

    Why is Karachi the only place in Pakistan where people get killed? Havn’t heard dozen being killed in Lahore on daily basis? Thanks to our dear politician when they want to have publicity, what could be the best thing to do? kill people in Karachi and appear on TV, as if they Kill people in their cities or village no one will notice.

    Karachi being the backbone of Pakistan because of which cause jealousy who hate Pakistan In reference to our neighbor right and left. But unfortunately and sadly our own people of Pakistan who just cannot accept Karachi as the bread earner for the country. Why hate the city or the people? How about the rest of the country work on their village to change into a City and the so called bla bla cities of Pakistan come to a level where they produce the same level of GDP Karachi Generate and compete in profits. ( its like cursing your father who provide you food )

    Pakistan would have been in a stable situation and also economically strong if the port was given to China 12 years ago. It has been stopped by foreign pressure, if you remember or not google Gawadar was actually been attack and several Chinese were being Killed. I do agree that yes the country need to be stable first and then have projects like these but that is just a lame excuse and being lazy. It can also be a clean flush and development at the same time. As by the time the projects will finish it will be around 4-5 years. And in this time all the trash which is in the country can be filtered. Because Pakistan will need to provide security in return of the investment coming in the country.

    I recommend people should read the news, watch on the TV and listen it on the radio but puzzle it and make a picture of your own. Recommend

  • abhi

    Don’t feel offended, that was not the intention. Practically this is not possible for at least next 10 years. Now if by mircale things start changing in Pakistan it will take at least 10 years for economy to come to a stage where this kind of projects can be implemented.Recommend

  • MAG

    I guess, Garnishing State doesn’t mark any state at high nor any distribution of laptops is proved to be fruit full. These all are swindles.. Recommend

  • ammad

    For writer consideration, education and health is the prime responsibility of a government and security measures too. This is the foreign investment which will help to improve this country position. My brother has filled with critics but what about positive factors ?. There are other projects like educational city, media city, water purification plant and power plant are they not going to contribute in helping our conditions and apart from that these projects will provide employment to 2500000 people which will not only decrease poverty but will also lessen the burden on government in terms of more taxes. this employment will help in improving city security conditions as per the updated report every year 300000 people are been dump into stage of poverty, which then evokes them to make thefts to fulfill their needs. So my point is simple why not welcome this initiative, and we as a whole nation do something to counter our problems. Recommend

  • Bilal Raza

    Dear Author,
    First let me state that you did not only say, “Does Karachi need the tallest building in the world” but also stated that the money should be invested in Education and health Department… I agree to most of the comments that it is legally the right of the investor that in which sector he wants to invest his money. No one can possibly criticize his decision nor say that he should have spent that somewhere else.
    Now that it has been clear that we can not force the investor to alter his decision and it is going to happen anyway then we should think about the benefits of this building.
    According to a survey in 2011 about 10 million (10,000,000) people out of 170 million (total population of Pakistan) are unemployed. This project will provide 2.5 million job opportunities to the people of Karachi. Do you actually believe that it is not going to boost up our economy. If you think that way then I have no reason for calling you insane.
    Moreover, you talked about some THIRD LARGEST FOUNTAIN in the world. Do you not know the difference between a fountain and a sky scrapper?
    However, I agree to you at one point that such buildings symbolize already existing prosperity in their respective cities. But we have to take a start somehow.
    In the past we have heard about many educational schemes and electric power plants most of you may remember the power plant from Turkey and even know how it disappeared.
    At last, I would say that we should show positive response about something that good in our country rather than criticizing it. Recommend

  • gp65

    @Ali Rafiq (author): “question is one of symbolic significance and messed up priorities”

    Once again. No one is misinterpreting anything. You simply have too little respect for your readers tobelieve they actually understand what they are talking about and also understand your blog.

    The question of priorities comes into picture if it was the government that was spending on the building instead of health and eduction. So one could legitimately discuss priorities when it comes to the new bus project in Lahore. But this is a private project, so it has not competing priorities. Government can spend on whatever it considers its priorities. This project will nto impact that in any way. This is INCREMENTAL investment that does not substitute any pre-existing investment allocation.Recommend

  • Sterry

    I am suprised that no one explained to you the difference between an investment. The Abu Dhabi group wants to make money in a place they see a chance to make money – you want development?Recommend

  • Shuja

    Totally agree with the article………there is a lot to be done before investing in a construction project which will only bring fruit to the corrupt.Recommend

  • Sane


    Don’t feel offended, that was not the intention. Practically this is not possible for at least next 10 years. Now if by mircale things start changing in Pakistan it will take at least 10 years for economy to come to a stage where this kind of projects can be implemented.

    Such huge projects also take years to complete. Before work on actual site, infrastructure related work begins to facilitate logistics. This is also a sizable work. I think this shall take 5 to 6 years to complete with normal pace of work. We are now at elections and expect this time a sensible and honest government. We all are hopeful. Dear: an economically stable Pakistan shall bring stability and prosperity in the region as well. This is in the interest of the South East Asia. We jointly have more economic challenges in future and to cope with need to support each other.Recommend

  • dagistar

    Great project. A role model for the future cities of Paksitan, to be fully equiped with its own universities, power stations, security, water plants and coplete one stop shopping of all kind. This is the perfect way to provide jobs mean food for million families and thousand more business oppotunities. Well done and goot step forward no matter what some jealous people me say or critisize. Even if malik Riaz is corrupt he is still better to bring the jobs and money unlike curropt politions shifting money to develped and so called democratic countries. Recommend

  • dagistar

    Pakistan does not have problem of education. We have more engineers and doctors than many other countires except few but have less jobs. And such projects are the only solutions to all the many economical and social problems. This mega project will not just provide jobs and better living place for millions but thousands of opputunitie for smaller businesses which will thenmultiply the economic development. Pakistan had huge projects in 1960”’s and then 40 years of tormoil but we could servive better life that many neighbours just because of those projects. I would conclude that this is exactly what we should have started long before. Recommend

  • wizzies

    Either you take the building or you get nothing else. Do you think the Shaikh Nayan also has close ties with the current government?.

    I think if this project really happens, it will make a karachi a nice tourist attention. With such a long coastal line and low exchange rate, Karachi should have been flooeded with touristsRecommend

  • Raza

    Thank you!Recommend

  • Be paki

    I totally agree with Gp65 and i have the same expression and disagree with the writter. No body will come from out side and will take care of health, education or what ever problem we have. At least very good opportunity is here for the nation to grow, it can be a milestone.Recommend