The city of Karachi in Pakistan traces its earliest origins way back to the Indus Valley Civilization anywhere up to four thousand years ago. The area was known to the Greeks as Krokola, and it was a staging point in the travels of Alexander the Great during the time he traversed what was then known as western India back in the year 325 BC.
Now, after Partition in 1947, the interim headquarters for Radio Pakistan were originally located at the mediumwave radio station in Lahore. A few months after Partition, it was announced that the headquarters would be moved to Karachi, and this occurred initially at the Bunder Road address, and subsequently at the new Broadcasting House on Garden Road which was taken into usage in 1950. The head office remained in Karachi for some sixteen years, until another temporary facility was opened in Rawalpindi in the north of the country in 1967.
In the meantime, a substantial shortwave transmitter base was under construction at Landhi, an open countryside area about fifteen miles east and a little south from Karachi itself. Initial planning called for two transmitters at 100 kW each, and a subsidiary transmitter at 7½ kW.
However, as events turned out, the two RCA shortwave transmitters installed at Landhi were instead rated at 50 kW each, and the two subsequent units were rated at 10 kW each. The first 50 kW unit was inaugurated as APK2 on the second anniversary of national independence, August 14, 1949, and the second 50 kW unit was inaugurated as APK3 during the following year.
On shortwave, the two additional transmitters were installed at the Landhi facility, Gates units at 10 kW each. The first of these was noted in New Zealand with test broadcasts in May 1954. Both units were officially inaugurated during the following year 1955 as APK4 & APK5.
The Radio Pakistan External Service on shortwave was launched with the usage of the two 50 kW transmitters in 1949, just two years after independence, and the Commercial Service on shortwave was inaugurated in 1962 with programming from Karachi in the Urdu language.
In more recent events, the two shortwave transmitters at 10 kW were withdrawn from service somewhere around the year 2000, and the two 50 kW units were closed soon afterwards.
However, the Landhi radio station itself has not been abandoned. Instead, two mediumwave transmitters have been installed here, 100 kW on 639 kHz and 10 kW on 612 kHz. In addition, it was announced in the year 2008 that two shortwave transmitters at 100 kW were under installation at Landhi. However, it is not known at this stage whether Karachi will return to the air on analog shortwave, or whether the recent emphasis worldwide on digitalization will produce a change of plans in Pakistan.
So, what is on the air in Karachi these days? Available documents show at least three mediumwave stations; 639 & 828 kHz with 100 kW each, and 612 kHz with 10 kW. In addition, there are at least ten FM stations; and of course, several TV stations with their local relay units.
(AWR Wavescan NWS870 via Adrian Peterson)