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Clifton, Karachi

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Night view of Clifton
Night view of Clifton
Coordinates: 24°49′N 67°02′E / 24.817°N 67.033°E / 24.817; 67.033Coordinates: 24°49′N 67°02′E / 24.817°N 67.033°E / 24.817; 67.033
Country Pakistan

Clifton (Urdu: کلفٹن‎) is an affluent seaside municipality in Karachi, in Sindh province of Pakistan.[1] Clifton remains one of the most affluent parts of the city, with some of Karachi's most expensive real estate.[2] Clifton is home to several foreign consulates, while its commercial centres are amongst the most high-end in Pakistan, with a strong presence of international brands.


The famous Mohatta Palace is a museum in Clifton.
The shrine of Karachi's patron saint, Abdullah Shah Ghazi, is located in Clifton.

The area around Clifton was a largely barren seashore until British rule, and was previously known to locals as "Hawa Bandar,"[3] or "Wind Port." Prior to the establishment of the area as a suburb of Karachi, Clifton's shoreline had been home to a shrine of 8th century Abdullah Shah Ghazi - widely regarded as the city's patron saint.[4] The shrine is immediately adjacent to the historic Sri Ratneswar Mahadev Hindu Temple.[5]

Clifton was initially developed in the late 19th century under British colonial rule, and initially served as the location for homes belonging to the city's British elite as an escape from the city. In the early 20th century, Parsis began moving to the area, and were soon followed by Muslims and Hindus.[2] The Jehangir Kothari Parade, bestowed to the city by Parsi businessman Seth Jehangir Hormusji Kothari, was built in Clifton in 1919–20.[2] The Mohatta Palace was built in Clifton in 1927 by a wealthy Hindu businessman, and now serves as a museum.

Clifton Bridge was built in the 1930s to connect the suburb to central Karachi. By the 1950s, camel owners began offering rides to local tourists on the beach. The area remained a residential area characterized by bungalows until the 1970s, when the area began to develop as one of Karachi's prime commercial and retail centres.[2]

In 1973, Clifton's famous Three Sword monument was erected as part of a beautification programme launched by Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and was built in the shape of his political parties election symbol at the time.[6] Despite a breakdown of law and order in Karachi in the 1980s and 1990s, Clifton was one of the localities in Karachi where real estate activity remained strong.[7]

The government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto planned a casino in the area near the Clifton Beach in a bid to attract foreign tourists to Pakistan in the 70s. However, the idea was abandoned soon because of political issues and the structure lay empty for many decades until it was taken over by a local amusement parks company, who opened a themed entertainment center named "Sindbad" on it. This was also closed down in the early 2000s and after another bout of vacancy, the place was finally torn down and the Dolmen Mall was erected in its place. This mall is now one of Pakistan's premier shopping malls, housing local and many foreign brands like Debenham's.[8][9]

The areas also houses the former residence of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the current residence of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari & Asif Ali Zardari. Bilawal House, which is now the current residence of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is located near Bilawal Chowrangi and BBQ Tonight. A branch of PF Chang was also opened up near to the residence recently. Bilawal House has been surrounded with controversy since the erection of a protection wall near the house, with many local politicians asking authorities to pull it down.[10]


Clifton's beachfront has seen the construction of several skyscrapers begin since 2015.
Clifton's Bahria Icon Tower, here pictured in March 2016, will be Pakistan's tallest building.

Clifton is emerging as another Central Business District of Karachi along with Saddar Town the main Central Business District of Karachi. Today it headquarters the corporate office of Pakistan's largest energy company, Pakistan State Oil (PSO)[11] as well several other large local and foreign companies such as Nestle Pakistan Limited,[12] Dolmen Group[13] and Muller and Phipps[14] among other corporate and regional offices. Increased business activity and real estate construction boom[15] has resulted in Clifton altering the city skyline with the two tallest buildings in Pakistan namely The Bahria Icon Tower and the Ocean Towers now located here. It also houses the headquarters of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan[16]

Gulf Shopping Mall is located very close to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan. This market near Teen Talwar or Three Swords Roundabout houses multiple retail businesses mainly related to female clothing and gold souks.

This is one of Karachi's busiest and most important markets, receiving an average of 10,000 customers per day in 2017.[17]

The Agha's supermarket, which was one of the Karachi's first upscale superstores, is also located on the same road. The Emerald Mall and Plaza Shopping Mall, are also located in the same vicinity near the Two Swords roundabout.

The Karachi Eat Food Festival, which is Pakistan's biggest food festival, is held every year in Clifton. The festival started off back in 2016 and it has now become Pakistan's major culinary and restaurant event with 95+ stalls and major brand engagement. Many new restaurateurs and aspiring chefs try out their locally and internationally inspired dishes at the event. The event has been a major hit with young people with the event witnessing massive crowds on all three days of this festival. The KEF is organized in the early part of January each year.[18]

Foreign missions

There are also several international consulates and high commission offices based in Clifton such as British Deputy High Commission,[19] The Chinese consulate,[20] The Italian Consulate,[21] The Russian Consulate[22] The Iranian Consulate,[23] Consulate General of Switzerland[24] as well as the Kuwaiti consulate[25] among others.

Educational institutions

Visitor attractions

See also


  1. ^ "Saddar Town - Government of Karachi". Archived from the original on 13 June 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d "Karachi won't be Karachi without the seat". Dawn. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  3. ^ Haig, Malcolm (1894). The Indus Delta Country: A Memoir, Chiefly on Its Ancient Geography and History. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Company, Limited. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  4. ^ Hasan, Arif (27 April 2014). "Karachi's Densification". Dawn. Retrieved 6 December 2016. The other site is the over 1,200-year-old tomb of Ghazi Abdullah Shah, a descendant of Imam Hasan. He has become the patron saint of Karachi and his urs is an important event for the city and its inhabitants.
  5. ^ Shazia Hasan (7 March 2016). "Hindus celebrate Maha Shivratri festival in Karachi". Dawn. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Smokers' Corner: The swords of Karachi". Dawn. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Clifton apartments, the most promising property investment: Report". Archived from the original on 5 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Karachi: What's in a picture?".
  9. ^ "Banking on history, British brands thrive in Pakistan".
  10. ^ "Bilawal House: the wall".
  11. ^ "Head & Divisional Offices - Pakistan State Oil".
  12. ^ "Offices & Factories". Nestle Pakistan.
  13. ^ "Contact Us - Dolmen Group".
  14. ^ "Contact - Muller & Phipps". 10 May 2015.
  15. ^ Wilkes, Tommy. "Karachi property prices soar after Pakistan crime crackdown".
  16. ^ "The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan » Communication with Institute".
  17. ^ "Eid shopping frenzy continues amid security concerns".
  18. ^ "Is Karachi Eat really worth the hype, and how can it do better?".
  19. ^ "British Deputy High Commission Karachi - GOV.UK".
  20. ^ "Chinese Consulate-General in Karachi (Pakistan)".
  21. ^ "Consolato - Karachi".
  22. ^ "Russian Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan".
  23. ^ "Iran Consulate General, Karachi".
  24. ^ "Consulate General of Switzerland in Karachi".
  25. ^ "Contact Us". 22 October 2008.
  26. ^ "Home - Karachi Grammar School". KGS.
  27. ^ "Ermine Schools - Ermine". Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  28. ^ "Head Start School System :: Official Website". Archived from the original on 12 May 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  29. ^ "Port Fountain - Projects - Karachi Port Trust".
  30. ^ toot. "Bahria Town ICON - Bahria Town - Your Lifestyle Destination".

External links