Contributing Op-Ed Writer: The Saint and the Skyscraper

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KARACHI, Pakistan — I live in a neighborhood by the shore made famous by the eighth-century saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi. He has been the city’s designated trouble-shooter since he arrived here as a horse trader. If you have an urgent problem that the living can’t help with, you walk up the stairs of the shrine. You offer a prayer and maybe a handful of rose petals. Your problem may not be solved immediately, but you come out feeling better.

So confident are Karachiites of Ghazi’s power that whenever there is a storm warning, instead of running away, they rush to the sea to have some fun. This city has had its share of troubles — water shortages, ethnic strife, gang wars, criminalized local politics — but for more than 12 centuries Ghazi has…

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