‘Footprint Pakistan Handbook’ calls Dhobhi Ghat one of two most interesting sights for people-watchers’ in Karachi and It lives up to this distinction. The Ghat stretches approx. two kilometers along the banks of Lyari River.
I was there with a British visitor and we reached there from Garden road. I expected a lot of attention from the people there but guess Dhobhis have been used to journalists and media coming there and documenting their plight time and again. Karachi is a city in distress. The constant influx of immigrants, poor infrastructure, ineptitude and apathy of authorities have made life miserable for marginalized. People at Dhobhi Ghat have seen better days. They reminisce of good days when Lyari River had clean water, even fish and ground water was abundant providing sufficient means to the dhobhis. However with changing ecosystem of the city, Lyari River turned into a sewage drain, leaving dhobis struggling to make both ends meet. Its a humbling sight. In the backdrop of crumbling infrastructure and heaps of garbage, the washed up laundry belonging to Barelvis, Shias, Doctors, Security Guards and others flapping in Karachi’s wild wind. Among Equals. My partner tells me that its damn surreal.
With time Dhobhis have adopted to newer methods, chemicals and washing machine increasingly present in today’s Dhobhi Ghat. However proverbial Dhobi’s Dog and Donkey are still present there too. The only woman in that entire stretch was the British visitor. Two kids who were playing with a dog noticed us and came all the way running to attract my partner’s attraction. She happily posed with them for photos.