Pakistan: Karachi's black economy generates Rs 830 million daily, says report

Criminal gangs in Pakistan's financial capital Karachi generated a staggering Rs 830 million daily in black economy, according to a report. The report found extortion, ransom from kidnappings, street crimes and illegal parking lots and vendors and illegal electricity connections as main contributors to the burgeoning illegal economy.

At least Rs 10 million is paid as extortion on a daily basis in different areas of the city while short-term kidnapping for ransom amounts to Rs 50 million, the Geo News channel reported yesterday. The black economy also includes money generated from 500 illegal and unauthorised parking lots (Rs 2.4 million) while hawkers and vendors pay around Rs 8.25 million everyday to the police, criminals or contractors.

The report said there are over 55,000 hawkers operating stalls or kiosks in the city. The water mafia sells approximately 272 million gallons of water illegally each day, which amounts to Rs 100 million. The city also houses 15,000 drug-selling and gambling dens, which make Rs 150 million per day.

Karachi's land-mafia illegally grabs over 30,000 acres of government land denting the national exchequer by Rs 7 billion annually and Rs 230 million daily. The report also said that the transport mafia, which controls the public transport system in the city, extorts Rs 10.48 million from buses, rickshaws, and taxis while illegal payments received from trucks, container-trucks, and oil tankers earn them an additional Rs 7.5 million. Electricity worth Rs 10.5 million is stolen daily in the city and there are between 4,000 to 5,000 'kundas' (illegal connections) in Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city.

Vehicle theft in the city is also at an all-time high, with an average of 40-50 motorcycles and 20-25 cars being stolen daily. This translates into Rs 20.5 million a day. Street criminals loot around 125-150 mobile phones, cash, jewellery and other valuables worth Rs 5.2 million daily.

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