KARACHI: Renowned architect Arif Hassan has said that future of Karachi lies in region’s geo political situations and Karachi’s relations with others districts of the province. “Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) soon after taking over the Sindh government took control of different departments including transport and building control due to which problems of Karachi increased. Highly decentralized local body system is pivotal for Karachi’s progress. About 62 percent of the city still living in unplanned settlements (kachi abaadis),” he said while addressing at the international conference on Managing Megacities 2016. The conference was organized by the Department of Public Administration of the Karachi University and Shar School of Public Policy and Government of the George Mason University of the United States at the HEJ Auditorium. Informing the participants about the history of Karachi, Arif Hassan said that Karachi was the very first airport of the British India and Karachi port was the headquarters of the British Army during the first world war. “Karachi was a Hindu majority and Sindhi speaking city in 1947, migration changed Karachi into Urdu speaking and Muslim majority city in the post 1947 era,” he said. The current population of Karachi is 22 million and it’s the fastest growing city in the world. Giving her presentation on Istanbul, a Turkish professor from Tuzin Baycan said that Istanbul was the only city in the world connecting two continents. “It’s the heart of the world. It has 53 universities and Turkey’s national air carrier Turkish Airlines is the number one airline of Europe.” She said that the problems of Karachi and Istanbul are relatable that’s why a comparison could be made between both the megacities. Dr Rashmi Sadana from the George Mason University thoroughly discussed the transportation system of Delhi, India’s national capital, who has the administrative position of a state in India. She termed Delhi Metro as a great savior for the middle class of the city since from young students to people related to every walk of life are benefited from the Delhi Metro on daily basis. “Delhi has the worst pollution of any city in India, largely due to vehicle emissions and particulate matter from building construction. The environment and pollution add to the discourse of life and death,” added Dr Rashmi while discussing the pollution problem of Delhi. KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Qaiser lauded the efforts of Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi and his instrumental role in organizing this international conference in collaboration with the George Mason University and termed it as a great academic assistance for the students. Dr Qaiser added that megacities of the world face serious modern day challenges. The policy recommendations of this conference will be sent to the government and policy making institutions for playing a positive role towards resolving the problems of our city. Main problems of Karachi have remained unresolved because of not having of the census. “Researchers and scientists are unable of conducting result oriented research on the problems of Karachi since the latest and authentic data is unavailable due to no census since last 18 years,” he added. KU Faculty of Management Sciences Dean Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi termed the partnership commendable step and added that due to the partnership our local scholars, faculty members and students get the opportunity to interact and work with the American counterparts. He also lauded the efforts of Prof Dr Abuzar Wajidi, a former focal person of the partnership and former dean of Faculty of Management Sciences, and termed his role pivotal for securing this partnership with the George Mason University through American Consulate in Karachi. American Consulate Cultural Attaché Anthony said that its just a small step towards bridging the gap between Pakistani and American people and the US government will continue its support to the educational institutions in Pakistan. George Mason University’s Center for Social Science Research director James C Witte sharing the key findings from the Karachi Megacities survey revealed that 96 percent of the people think that higher education was one of the greatest needs of the people of Karachi while a satisfying majority i.e. 71 % was satisfied from the current higher education system. He also termed non holding of census as a great obstacle in conclusive research on the issues of Karachi. “I feel great pleasure in working with the Pakistani counterparts and the young researchers of Pakistan,” he added.