Saddar Town

Saddar Town is a small densely populated town in the central part of old Karachi. The word Saddar generally means the “centre” (of a settlement) and also “head” (of a group of people or an organisation). The town is bordered by Jamshed Town and Clifton Cantonment to the east, Kiamari Town and the Arabian Sea to the south and Lyari Town to the west. The population of Saddar Town was estimated to be about 620,000 at the 1998 census, of which 99% are Muslim. There are several ethnic groups including Muhajirs, Punjabis, Sindhis, Kashmiris, Seraikis, Pakhtuns, Balochis, Memons, Bohras and Ismailis.


Saddar Town contains much of the oldest parts of Karachi, in particular the neighbourhoods of Kharadar and Mithadar which represent the pre-colonial history of Karachi. The names mean Salty Gate and Sweet Gate respectively and refer to the two main gates of the old walled town of Karachi which stood on the sites of the two modern neighbourhoods. The Salty Gate opened towards the Arabian Sea (hence the word “salty”) and the Sweet Gate opened towards the Lyari River (hence the word “sweet”).

During the colonial era, Saddar was the centre of Karachi, a status maintained from 1947 to the 1960s, when the federal government offices were based in Saddar. They have now been replaced by the offices of the provincial Government of Sindh. Many beautiful examples of colonial architecture can be found in Saddar Town including the main building of Karachi Grammar School, Frere Hall and the Sindh Club.

The federal government introduced local government reforms in the year 2000, which eliminated the previous third tier of government (administrative divisions) and raised the fourth tier (districts) to become the new third tier. The effect in Karachi was the dissolution of the former Karachi Division and the merger of its five districts to form a new Karachi City-District with eighteen autonomous constituent towns including Saddar Town.

Neighbourhoods of Saddar Town

Saddar Town is the main business area of Karachi, with the central shopping area found in the historic Empress Market as well as the Central Bus Station and the Central Railway Station and the nearby Port of Karachi. A major bustling street in Saddar is named Zaib-un-nissa Street, after the influential author and journalist, Zaib-un-Nissa Hamidullah. The neighbourhood of Clifton has a long sandy beach popular with both locals and tourists and includes several tiny islands offshore in Karachi Bay.

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