Friday, January 18, 2019

City Walk 6: Lyari - Karachi's Most Dangerous Neighborhood (Now Peaceful)

Lyari's Cheel Chowk - Used to be the Icon of Terror
Lyari is the most feared neighborhood in Karachi, if not in the World! So much so that when I was making the Lyari Walk plan, some friends thought its too crazy and even backed out. In the recent past, the locality gained an unwanted publicity as a den of all sort of criminals, from drug peddlers to gangs notorious for kidnapping for ransom.

Lately, life in Lyari has come back to normalcy, courtesy a heavy handed cleanup operation by the law enforcement agencies all around Karachi.

Now the neighborhood could be safely visited and craving to bring back its lost cultural and sporting glory.

Although, Lyari is an integral part of the city and located very close to the downtown, it has a totally distinct vibe from the rest of the metropolitan. The difference is so stark that we looked more like tourists in our city! For almost all of us, a group of around 15 people from random Karachi neighborhoods, it was our first visit of this feared neighborhood.

We started from the breakfast at Cafe Malbari near Baghdadi Police Station, after gathering at the Empress Market, Saddar, at around 7:30 am. It was a sumptuous breakfast with Choora Paratha and Daal Makhni being the main highlights. The cafe is rightfully considered legendary and attracted coverage from the local English press as well:

After having breakfast, we traversed back to the colorful Baghdadi Street which has got positive coverage in the media recently, courtesy an NGO working for Lyari's image building. A couple of  local lads reminded us to be less intruding in their typical style, which some of us found unfriendly, so after having a quick look we once again stuffed in our cars and headed to Aath Chowk.

We parked our cars at Aath Chowk, and then decided walking towards our main landmark, the most ferocious landmark in Karahci: Cheel Chowk.

The ambiance was peaceful and calm. At no point in time, we felt uncomfortable or threatened. We passed through Chakiwara, huge walled historical graveyards, Benazir Univeristy, Kalakot, and finally made it to the Cheel Chowk, in one piece each, and had a group photo there!

We further walked through Kumhar Para in Nawa Lane and ended the walk at Bakra Peeree.

Abu Bakar Baloch, a journalist belonging to Lyari, was waiting for us at his locality near Bakra Peeree Junction. A friendly and soft spoken person like most Lyari dwellers, Abu Bakar was proud of his Baloch roots especially emphasizing that it was the Irani Baloch lineage which his family holds.

At Bakra Peeree, we decided to hire rikshaws which took us to Dhobi Ghat before dropping us back to Aath Chowk.

We Started with Breakfast at the Legendary Malbari Cafe Besided Joona Masjid

Joona Jama Masjid Lyari
The Colorful Baghdadi Street in Lyari
Lyari's Aath Chowk (8 Way Roundabout)
A Community Center in Lyari
Lyari Has Got Banks But No ATMs!
An Under Construction Religious School in Chakiwara Lyari
Boundary Wall of a Historic Shia Graveyard - Hoosaini Baagh
Stone Work at Graveyard Entrance

Another Gate of Hoosaini Baagh - Note the Script, Gujraati I Believe
Lyari Suffers from Electricity Breakdowns Due to Power Theft
Not For Sale, please
Another Historical Graveyard - We Were Not Allowed Inside
A Decorated Bus
Yellow Stone Entrance
The Old Lyari Degree College
Another Graveyard of Bohri Jamaat
Dawoodi Bohra Graveyard
We Managed to Peek Inside
Gujraati Script!
Getting Closer to Cheel Chowk
Kalakot: Another Feared Name!
Lyari Has Got Rich Sport Heritage
Aik Hee Saf Mein Kharay Ho Gai Mehmoodo Ayaz!
Brave Walkers at Lyaris's Cheel Chowk
The Desi Hospital of Orthopedic Surgery
We Walked Through Kumhaar Muhalla - Clay Potters
Clay Work
Cruise Ship
Street Life in Lyari
Lyari Boys
The Real Football!
Writing on the Wall! 
Lyari's Balochistan Connection is Strong
Iranian Lassi in Lyari
Dhobhi Ghaat Around Lyari Express Way
Dhobis Legendary Ghada
Kishti Waali Mosque


  1. Great blog, as a lyari resident even I had never seen few of the places. Well done brave walkers!!!

  2. Wah! Good effort to cover the Layari. Well done.

  3. Wah! Good effort to cover the Layari. Well done.