Ethnic Aspirations and Political Power: Defining Mohajirs' Grievances in Sindh

Smruti S. Pattanaik, Researcher, IDSA


Ethnic politics imbibed with political aspirations comprises a potential force of mobilisation in a democracy. However, this has to have the right blend of socio-economic deprivation to be built up as an alternative source of political achievement. The case of Sindh and the rise of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM, earlier known as the Mohajir Quami Movement) and other ethnic parties can be explained in this framework of analysis. In this paper, an attempt has been made to analyse the factors responsible for the declining political and economic clout of the Mohajirs. It examines the growth of the MQM as a formidable force in Pakistani politics. Moreover, the response of the state in dealing with the crisis has been analysed. It also attempts to answer to what extent a military solution is feasible to establish peace without mitigating the politico-economic grievances of the Mohajirs.

The Mohajirs were in the forefront of the movement for Pakistan during the British rule. But unfortunately the land of Islam, as envisaged in the two-nation theory was formed elsewhere, in the north-west and north-east of erstwhile British India, not in the Muslim minority provinces where this movement was spearheaded. Imbued with immense political aspirations, the people of these provinces migrated from India to live in the land of their dreams, which was nurtured and created by them. Though they are termed as refugees, in fact they are migrants since there was no compulsion for them to leave their home other than the objective of creation of a separate Muslim homeland. These migrants never had any objection to their reference as 'Mohajir'. This is because the term 'Mohajir' was associated with the Hijrat (migration) of Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Medina. The Mohajirs took immense pride in this term that had a religious connotation and was thus, legitimate and contextually appropriate in a country created on the basis of religion. However, in the present context, it connotes the Urdu-speaking population from India.1 The term Mohajir also represents a political identity arising out of a historical process over the last half century.2

The Mohajirs who migrated to Pakistan in search of greener pastures were mostly bureaucrats, businessmen, and rich landlords who expected to retain their predominant positions because of their political contributions. The poorer sections of the Muslim population had no romantic notions about a Muslim homeland. Most of them stayed back in India, knowing that their fate would be the same in the new state. The Mohajirs' migration was also associated with strong political aspirations. It can be rightly concluded that the creation of Pakistan has more to do with the fulfillment of the political aspirations of the feudal Muslim elite than the socio-economic aspirations of the Muslim masses in general. The Mohajirs not only sidelined other ethnic groups in the bureaucracy of the newly created political condominium but also were politically predominant due to their role in the creation of Pakistan.

The Mohajirs' migration to Karachi can be attributed to two factors. First, Karachi being the capital of the newly created state, had the potential of providing social benefits like education, health facilities and other benefits that are associated with a capital city. Moreover, it was the power centre of the new state. The Mohajirs, among whom were many businessmen, wanted to settle in this port city because of the transportation and business facilities. In 1948, Karachi was separated from Sindh as the capital, thus, de facto providing the Mohajirs with a territorial identity to their hitherto political identity.

In the initial phase, the Mohajirs were coopted by the dominant Punjabi feudal class in their struggle for power and a place in the newly created political structure. The importance of the Punjabis in the administrative system was well entrenched before the creation of the political entity of Pakistan. This is because they were patronised by the colonial British regime in gratitude for their help in crushing the Sepoy mutiny of 1857, which was manifested through grant of lands in the newly formed canal colony of Sindh and preference in the educational system, which most of the urban Punjabis availed of. Before partition, most of the bureaucrats and others who were dependent on jobs constituted the Hindu Sindhis, with a majority of the Sindhi Muslims being confined to the rural areas. These were mostly landed aristocrats and tenants, depending on agriculture as the main source of their income. Very few of them were dependent on jobs. Thus, after partition, when most of the Hindus of Sindh left due to the general insecurity and organised riots against them, the vacuum was filled by the Urdu-speaking people from India. They became the junior partners of the Punjabis in the emerging power equation in the Pakistani state. Moreover, the declaration of Urdu as the national language helped them in strengthening their position in the administration.3 Thus, the new state had a dominant power elite confined to a particular section of society firmly rooted in ethnicity.

The position of Mohajirs in the Pakistani society was further strengthened with the military-bureaucratic cooption. They remained firmly entrenched throughout the period of military rule. Ross Massood, a senior bureaucrat, while underlining the importance of the bureaucracy, said "The army are military bureaucrats but they do not know the system so need us (bureaucrats) to guide them."4

The Mohajirs were well-educated civil servants and were politically more articulate along with the Punjabis and thus, were at the helm of the state's affairs. They were urbanites in contrast to the predominantly rural population of Pakistan. The Mohajirs political articulation is evident in many cases: the movement against Ayub's regime in 1968-69, the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) movement against Bhutto, and the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against Zia attest to this fact.

Sindh-Mohajir Divide

It is interesting to study the incongruity in the political orientations between the two dominant communities of Sindh which finds expression in their political articulation throughout the history of Pakistan. The Sindhi-Mohajir divide is based on the competition for ethnic control of economic benefits through access to employment and education. Most of the Mohajirs are dependent on government jobs for their sustenance, and the Sindhis, till a particular point of time in history, had been dependent on agriculture. To understand why the rural Sindhis began to prefer urban employment, it is pertinent to explain the relationship between the Sindhi landlords and their tenants. The landlords were well entrenched in their farming business and relatively not interested in government jobs. Due to inadequate and half-hearted land reforms, most of the tenants were dependent on their landlords for their sustenance and survival. The relationship between the landlords and the tenants was a typically patron-client one. There was no escape from the socio-economic reality of deprivation. Moreover, for mobility on the social ladder, education is a very important criterion. Education and employment are not only perceived as means to enable these landless peasants to be free of economic hardship but also are considered as the instrument to provide them with a less coercive source of income.5 However, the constraint for the rural Sindhis was that they faced stiff competition from the urbanite Mohajirs. Especially there was stiff competition between the landless Sindhis from the rural areas and the lower strata of Mohajirs who had no option other than employment, whether in government jobs or menial ones. For that matter, to achieve a foothold in government jobs, it is important sometimes to have linkages in the bureaucracy, given the level of corruption. Ethnicity only strengthens such linkages. As commented by a well known authority on Mohajir politics, "Linkage that create possibilities of personal access to the bureaucracy are much valued, sought after and cultivated...They have a stake in their installation in public office and their promotions to higher positions within the bureaucracy for they can then hope to invoke their mediation and help that would provide for them a point of fruitful access to the bureaucratic machine."6 In this context, the Mohajirs had an edge over the Sindhis. Thus, the struggle for employment affected the relations between the two ethnic communities.

It is important here to explain why there is no convergence of ideas between the two communities in Sindh. The Sindhi identity has been an amalgamation of many identities and has been a process of historical evolution. But under a broad canopy of regional identity, the reference "Sindhis" expresses ethnicity based on a linguistic identity that excludes the Mohajirs. This is due to two reasons: linguistic differences i.e. the imposition of Urdu as the national language by the ruling class on other linguistic groups, which alienated the Sindhis, and the sense of cultural pride and superiority of the Mohajirs who never failed to overplay their contribution in the creation of Pakistan, and thus, aspired to be treated with reverence. This is the reason why the Mohajirs' resistance to assimilation has been so strong that there is hardly any common societal ground to meet the cultural parameter of different communities staying in Karachi. The linguistic factors added, more to this divergence. In 1948, 1,300 Sindhi medium school were closed in Pakistan.7 Thus, the social gap between the two predominant communities of Sindh widened with the linguistic and cultural differences. According to the 1981 census, 52 per cent of Sindh consisted of those whose first language was Sindhi, and 22 per cent spoke Urdu. This reflects the fallacy of the linguistic policies of the government which alienates the indigenous people in their own province.

Mohajir Approach to Politics

The shift in the Mohajirs approach to ethnic politics can be compartmentalised into two distinct phases. The first phase was pre-1971, when they were dominant in the Pakistani bureaucracy, and political benefits accrued to them due to bureaucratic power, military rule and the one-unit formula. The second was post-1971, which brought disillusionment about their notion of unity on the basis of religion after the creation of Bangladesh.

During the pre-1971 period, the Mohajirs had vigorously stressed on the religious unity of Pakistan for two reasons. First, their vision of Pakistan was based on the ideology of Islam, and propagation of any other identity based on ethno-linguistic ingredients was anti-Islam. Thus, they propagated a unified Pakistan by underplaying other religious, linguistic and regional identities. By appealing for the religious unity, they could strengthen their hold on power. Second, along with the Punjabis, they were the dominant ethnic group, holding positions in the bureaucracy and the military. Dilution of Pakistani identity will threaten their position in the power structure. But with the dissolution of the one-unit formula after the creation of Bangladesh, they realised that the distribution of resources on the basis of ethnicity would threaten their position in the society. Moreover, the creation of four provinces as administrative units confined them to Sindh where they had to share power with the Sindhis.

The Sindh politics after 1971 was characterised by inter-ethnic competition for power and the Mohajirs were marginalised, given the dynamics of the emerging power equations. In Pakistan there is an organic linkage between the salariat class and the landowners owing to the fact that some in the salariat class (bureaucrats) belong to the landowners' group. By virtue of their privileged position, they were better educated. Some of them who were foreign educated were better positioned in the society. Thus, the elite, foreign educated groups are from the land-owning class. In this context, the Mohajirs lagged behind. And after 1971, the Mohajirs' presence in politics was also declining. Certain reasons can be cited to explain this: they did not have the political constituency to fight elections from and they lacked social roots for mass mobilisation. According to Hamza Alavi, "There was an absence of political negotiation under authoritarian rule, which heightened the sense of alienation and exclusion of the underprivileged regional groups, who are made to feel as outsiders in their own country."8 For 24 years Mohajirs were the junior partners of the military masters. Being co-partners in the authoritarian rule had alienated them substantially from the masses with whom they had neither social linkages nor political affiliations. In 1972, Sindhi was declared as the official language of Sindh, further constraining socio-economic aspirations of Mohajirs.

In the pre-1972 period Sindhi language was discouraged in favour of Urdu due to the one unit formula. Thus, Sindhi nationalism was essentially directed against the Punjabi-Mohajir domination. Moreover, the one-unit formula envisaged by this combine was responsible for relegating the Sindhi people to the back-ground, both politically and economically. Sindhi nationalism rallied around the language issue after the Federal Education Commission recommended eliminating Sindhi as a medium of instruction in schools. To add to their misery, the 1971 war resulted in many Urdu-speaking Mohajirs fleeing East Pakistan and coming to Pakistan especially settling in Sindh. According to 1981 census, the Sindhis comprised 55.7 per cent in Sindh, 36.3 per cent in urban Sindh and 3.8 in Karachi.9 After 1971 and abolition of the one-unit plan, ethnic strike which was relatively dormant earlier surfaced. Elections brought to the fore competitive politics, which included ethnic politics. Along with this various suppressed grievances surfaced and slowly the feeling of discrimination was expressed in ethnic terms. The disillusionment of the Sindhis with the political system is evident from the following statistics. The Mohajirs comprised 3 per cent of the population of (united) Pakistan, had 21 per cent of the jobs.10 The Gujrati speaking Mohajirs from Bombay controlled 7 out of the 12 biggest industrial houses.11 The disproportionate representation of Sindhis in job can be assessed from the fact that as against 33.5 per cent Mohajirs, the Sindhis accounted for only 2.7 per cent.12 All this provided an impetus to the growing disenchantment of Sindhis, a community that is a minority in its own province.

Karachi which has been the hub of most of the business activities provides an interesting mixtures of various ethno-linguistic groups. It attracts economic migrants from all over the state. "The lack of economic opportunities, introduction of a market economy, concentration of industries and business in Karachi and prospects for better wages, all resulted in an immigration explosion in Sindh."13 Moreover, the economic statistics of Sindh are quite impressive and this explains why it attacts outsiders. "It contributes 30 per cent of the GDP and 21.3 per cent of the agricultural GDP with the highest per capita income in the country. It accounts for 43 per cent of the construction industry. Urban Sindh is the financial capital, housing the headquarters of most of the country's national banks, major branches of international banks, insurance companies and shipping concern. The province also has the largest steel mill..."14 All these contributed to the multi-ethnic character of Karachi. The ethnic composition of Sindh underwent a substantial change with the influx of Pathans and Punjabis to work in the industrial establishments of Karachi. They are dominant only in urban Sindh, especially in the industrial districts of Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, (see Table I). Thus, the problem of Sindh is a politico economic one having some elements of socio-cultural issues.

A peculiar situation has emerged in Sindh with the presence of many ethnic communities for economic benefit. "Karachi is the economic engine of the country, contributing about 20 per cent of national gross domestic product, 40 per cent of federal tax revenue. However Mohajirs have little say in how and in whose interest these revenues will be spent."15 During Zia's regime, to appease the Sindhis who had emerged as strong critics of Zia after Bhutto's execution, the government extended the quota system for another decade, thus, further sideling the Mohajirs.

Table 1. Ethnic groups in Sindh

Ethnic groups Total Urban Rural

Muhajireen (Mohajirs) 24.1 54.4 2.2

Sindhis 55.7 20.0 81.5

Punjabis 10.6 14.0 8.2

Pushtuns 3.6 7.9 0.5

Balochis 6.0 3.7 7.6

Source: Iftekhar H. Mallick, State and Civil Society in Pakistan (London: Macmillan, 1997), p. 202 (data based on 1981 census).

The ethnic composition of Sindhis in the urban areas especially is affected not only by the Mohajirs but also by other ethnic groups. It can be said that the Punjabi politico-bureaucratic elite played an active role in perpetuating Punjabi dominance in this province. Large tracts of land which were brought under irrigation after independence were granted to the relatives of the bureaucratic-military oligarchy rather than to the Sindhis. Most of these were absentee landlords who grabbed the land because they could afford to do so, and they employed mostly Punjabi tenants for the up-keep of their lands. The peculiar factor in ethnicity is ethnic affiliation and the trust that emanates from such associations. The agricultural lands which were brought under cultivation after the barrage and canals were constructed were distributed to both the Punjabis and Mohajirs, to the tune of 1.32 million acres i.e. nearly half of the newly irrigated land.16 The Punjabi domination did not cease here. Though the colonisation of Sindh had started just after independence, Zia's period epitomised this domination. With the increasing state control and interference and arbitrary decisions that were the hallmarks of military rule, the businessmen of Sindh were a threatened lot. In a state of perpetual uncertainty and turbulent political scenario, it was difficult for businessmen to operate without political favouritism and interefence. Many Cutchi businessmen left the country and established business ventures abroad. Under Zia's patronage, the new Punjabi businessmen established themselves smoothly and their kinship linkages with the ruling class played an important role in negotiating with the bureaucracy.17 Thus the Punjabi-Mohajir equation alienated the Sindhis.

This alignment may be true for the initial year of military rule but slowly both the Punjabis and Pathans became the new partners in the emerging power equation. In the process, the bureaucracy was slowly relegated to a secondary position due to the long period of military rule, and Bhutto's administrative reforms paved the way for its further weakening. With the collapse of bureaucratic power, the Mohajirs lost their patrons in the state structure.18 The shifting of the capital from Karachi to Islamabad also led to the erosion of the Mohajirs' dominance. The rise of Bhutto to power was a major blow to the dominant Mohajir bureaucrats. However, their common grievances against Punjabi domination could not bring both the two communities together on the political front. There was only a brief priod of alignment which is discussed elsewhere in this article.

Defining Mohajirs' Grievances

The quota system is one of the major grievances of the Mohajirs. It is used as an instrument to curtail the legitimate rights of a person to be employed according to his competence and qualification. It has assumed such significance that "denial of civilian bureaucratic office in Pakistan is functionally equivalent to the denial of political representation."19 In 1950, this system was introduced to prevent the East Bengalis from overwhelming the West Pakistanis in numbers.20 The quota system was incorporated in the Constitution as a statutary exception to the non-discrimination clause of Article 17 of the 1956 Constitution. This was reinforced by the subsequent Constitution of 1962. However, after the birth of Bangladesh, the quota system was rearranged. At present, in Pakistan, 10 per cent of the quota is awarded on the basis of merit, 50 per cent for Punjab, and 19 per cent for Sindh, of which 11.4 per cent is for rural Sindh and 7.6 for urban Sindh, 11.5 per cent for Sarhad and 3.5 per cent for Baluchistan, and the rest for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The stake in the quota system became much higher after Z.A. Bhutto nationalised a number of industries as a part of his economic reforms. The provincial quotas came into existence only after 1970 and were analogous to the federal quotas. The quota system became an issue of preferential politics. President Zia's regime introduced 10 per cent quota for former military personnel seeking entry to federal and provincial jobs further squeezing the job market.

The grievance of the Mohajirs in Sindh is that these regional quotas need readjustment because the population has increased over a period of time. Moreover, the rural and urban quota of Sindh has to be readjusted because of the rural-urban migration. Thus the census issue is a politicised one, given the dynamics of ethnic politics in Pakistan. The grievances of both the Sindhis and Mohajirs are due to the dominance of Punjabis in the administration. It is not difficult for a person belonging to any ethnic group to produce a false domicile certificate to enable him to get a job in a particular province. Whereas other provinces retain some degree of exclusivity in the quota system for their "sons of the soil," Sindh's quota share is divided between various ethnic groups like the Punjabis and Pushtuns. "The stakes of domicile declaration are high, and the motivation for tampering with or misrepresenting one's domicile is accordingly very much frequent."21 The Mohajirs, mostly of the salariat class, are the most affected. They demand to be recognised as the fifth nationality and allotted 20 per cent quota at the centre, and between 50 to 60 per cent in Sindh, to be shared only by Sindhis and Mohajirs. The extension of the quota system in 1993 for political reasons further added to the widening gulf. The Sindhi feudal class who are also well educated took advantage of the rural quota to get into covoted government jobs.

The Mohajirs' grievances derive from numerous factors and are deeply rooted in their psyche. According to Feroz Ahmed, a Sindhi nationalist, "Mohajirs separatism is not simply a reflection of a subjective decision to maintain a separate identity, but it is a consequence of the objective conditions, including the ghettoization of the Mohajirs over which the Mohajirs had no control."22

Among other grievances, the Mohajirs have taken up the issue of repatriation of the Biharis from Bangladesh. They are considered pariahs by the dominant Bengali community for their role in the 1971 liberation war. During the 1998 January visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he promised to take back the stranded Pakistanis (Biharis). Thereafter, an advertisement appeared in the International Herald Tribune appealing for donations to the Rabita Trust of Stranded Pakistanis from Bangladesh, signed by the secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and Sartaj Aziz, minister of finance and economic affairs. This appeal stated, "The Government firmly renewes its pledge to do all it can to bring and rehabilitate these stranded Pakistanis numbering over 238000..." This will be done as per the joint census carried out by both the Bangladesh government and Pakistan 1991-92.23 However, interestingly, a study undertaken by the Research and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU) of Dhaka University reveals certain facts which are contradictory to the general perception that all these Biharis want to be repatriated to Pakistan. According to this study, 59 per cent of those interviewed identified themselves as Bangladeshis, whereas 35 per cent identified themselves as Pakistanis; 55 per cent were unwilling to go to Pakistan; 45 per cent wanted to go back and of these 30 per cent stated family reunion as the prime reason for their desire to go back to Pakistan.24 All these data reveal the fact that there is a substantial percentage of these stranded Pakitanis whose affiliation remains with Pakistan, and according to the trilateral agreement, they have the right to go back.25 But their repatriation is beset with politics and the issue of where these people are going to finally settle has become an important political one. Since Pakistan politics is divided along ethnic lines, the issue of settlement of these people is going to be an explosive political item. The Sindhis will resist any attempt to settle them in Sindh because it will strengthen the Mohajirs clout in Sindh, since both Mohajirs and Biharis have the same political origin--"migrants from India"--which will lead to realignment of these forces, strengthening the Mohajirs position in Sindh. Thus, earlier attempts by Benazir Bhutto at repatriation could not achieve the desired result. There was opposition from the Sindhis and the project was abandoned as it would have affected the prospects of the PPP in Sindh.

The multi-ethnic character of Sindh is derived from many factors and this has affected the monopoly of ethnic based political parties. The rapid industrialisation during Ayub's period led to a scarcity of industrial workers. The Mohajirs formed the bulk of the industrial workforce. The Baluchis and Pathans have almost monopolised the transport business. The Punjabis are both industrial workers and owners of industries. However, now because of mechanisation of farming activities and a change in the attitude of the people towards working as menial labourers in farms, many people of rural Sindh have come to Karachi in search of urban employment. Urban employment has added advantages like facilities of electricity and other social amenities, which induce a desire to migrate to work in industrial concerns. This has affected the Mohajirs socio-economic and political base and their monopoly in the Karachi labour market.

The MQM's charter of demands is a reflection of their deep-rooted grievances. It has demanded that domicile certificates be issued only to people who have lived in Sindh for the last 20 years, and the Biharis are to be exempted from such requirements because of obvious reasons. Their long list of demand includes: locals to be recruited in the police issue of arms licences, shifting Afghan refugees to the camps near the border, provision of employment by the government to tackle the influx of people, katchi abadis (temporary housing) established until 1978 to be regularised in consultation with the MQM, improvement of the transport system, voting right to be restricted to the locals, lowering the voting age, job quota to be shared with Mohajirs and Sindhis on the basis of population, Mohajirs to be recognised as a sub-nationality in the constitution which has to be decided by the Parliament, repatriation of Biharis, opening of the Khokrapar route, reducing postal charges for India, locals prefering in the educational institutions, locals to be given housing plots and provided with loans for buying those, health related demands, Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation should be handed over to the Sindh government, Karachi Municipal Corporation to be given power to levy motor vehicle tax, uniformity in Fuel Adjustment Charges, power to levy sales tax to be conferred on the province, urs of Shah Lateef Bhatai and martyrdom day of Liaquat Ali Khan to be declared holidays.26

Though land and housing in Karachi comes under the Karachi Development Authority (KDA), large tracts of land in Karachi are under the jurisdiction of cantonments or railways which are controlled by the federal government thereby effectively curtailing provincial government control over this land. A profile of Mohajirs deprivation can be assessed from Tables 2 and 3.

Table 2. Employment Status by Ethnicity in Karachi

Ethnic Group Employed Self-Employed Unemployed

Mohajirs 59.4 29.8 10.8

Punjabi 64.5 26.5 9.0

Pakhtun 63.6 25.9 10.5

Sindhi 54.2 39.6 6.2

Balochi 65.8 18.4 15.8

Total 60.5 29.1 10.4

Source: Applied Economic Research Centre Socioeconomic Survey, 1986. As cited in Kaiser Bengali, "Understanding Karachi: The Crisis of Identity and Crisis of Opportunity," The News, July 5, 1998.

Table 3

Decades Mohajirs in Non-Mohajirs in Mohajirs in Non-Mohajirs in


1950s 100.0 0 50.0 50.0

1960s 20.0 80.0 30.0 70.0

1970s 37.5 62.5 22.5 77.5

1980s 20.5 80.5 20.0 80.0

1990s 0 100.0 0 100.0

Source: Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA). As cited in Kaiser Bengali "Understanding Karachi: The Crisis of Identity and Crisis of Opportunity," The News, July 5, 1998.

Political Tactics of the Mohajirs

The first election in 1970 exposed the Mohajirs to vote bank politics. Moreover, the 1970 general election, which was based on one person, one vote, for the first time in Pakistan's history, introduced them to the arena of ethnic politics as a part of democracy based on majority rule. The campus politics and the strong arm tactics of the Islami-Jamiat-Tulaba (IJT, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami) during Zia's rule had alienated the Mohajir students. Thus, ethnic identity and linguistic affinity were exploited to form a popular support base. The Mohajirs realised the use of this potential only after 1983, when the movement on the basis identity started germinating in the form of the student organisation, and later evolved into to a political party. It has been suggested that Zia indirectly helped in the creation of the MQM to exacerbate the policy of divide and rule.27 Zia's rule facilitated the ethnic brand of Mohajir politics. Like the Mohajirs earlier, Zia also emphasised the religious basis of the creation of Pakistan to undermine its federal character. Moreover, as explained earlier after the creation of Bangladesh, the Mohajirs were not convinced about the efficacy of such identity and the legitimacy of Islam as a binding factor among different groups. Politics became manifested more in ethnic terms after the creation of Bangladesh. It also saw a decline in the Mohajirs' power because they lacked a constituency to fight for their rights democratically.

In 1984, the MQM was born as an umbrella organisation for the political expression of the Mohajirs grievances. The MQM which was largely a student movement emerged as a major political force to reckon with, and by 1988, it was the third largest political party in Pakistan with such a short political history. For the MQM, ethnic identity took priority over religious identity. The Mohajirs were convinced that their ethnic identity would bring them more political benefits than any amalgamation of identities. Moreover, the rise of Sindhi nationalism had questioned the political prudence and efficacy of a Sindhi political identity encompassing all ethno-linguistic groups, other than exclusive Sindhi-speaking community. Because rise of Sindhi nationalism frustrated all attempts to have a converging Sindh identity on the basis of a geography than any ethno-cultural diacritics. All this brought about a radical change in the Mohajirs political orientation. They had been supporters of a strong authoritarian government at the centre and often aligned themselves with the fundamentalist party which emphasised religious identity rather than ethnic identity. Now the Islamic affinity was underplayed and new parameters for political mobilisation was constructed. Thus, they dismissed their previously held emphasis on religion by saying, "We have not signed a contract to uphold Pakistan and Islam."28

At various points of time, they aligned with different political groups to strengthen their political base and to increase their popularity. They joined forces against Z.A. Bhutto's authoritarian rule and also emerged as champions of democracy by joining the MRD against Zia. After 1989, the MQM has been a significant player in the coalition governments. The Mohajirs' problems are also rooted in the quota system and the discrimination meted out to them. This quota system is based on the comparative strengths of the respective population. Thus, the census has been the most politicised issue in Pakistani politics, because social benefits can only accrue from the relative strength of the population. Altaf Hussain, while criticising the 1981 census, said, "We are at least 45-50 per cent in Sindh but they put us at 22.6 per cent. Karachi's population is 10 per cent of the country's total and produces 63 per cent of federal revenue, yet it gets only a 2 per cent quota of jobs and facilities. Anyone for a small bribe can get proof of domicile and compete for jobs, whereas Mohajirs have no place to go."29 Referring to the grievances of the Mohajirs, he said "When a Sindhi comes to power, the Sindhis fight us; when a Pathan comes to power, the Pathans fights us. Will whoever come to power always victimise us?"30 This perception of victimization made the MQM more militant in their activities. In their political struggle, the Biharis provided a new cadre of young activists ready to display their combat skills which they had acquired during their exposure to military activities in the former East Bengal in 1971.31

There was a brief period when the Sindhis and Mohajirs realised that their common interest could be protected by initiating a joint fight against the administration. During the movement for restoration of democracy, the Sindhis had played an important role, because they felt that the Punjabi-dominated administration would have little to offer them in terms of benefits, and secondly, because Bhutto, a popular leader of Sindh had been hanged by Zia who was regarded as anti-Sindhi. Moreover, Zia was suspicious that any movement by the Sindhis for democracy and autonomy is essentially directed against him. The movement by the Sindhi nationalists, though successful, was mostly based in the rural areas, thus, it was not a full fledged movement since the Mohajirs were not included. The inclusion of Mohajirs was necessary for any movement for the autonomy of Sindh. Thus, identification of what constitutes Sindh was debated by its leaders to incorporate the Mohajirs. The linguistic identity was discarded in favour of geographical identity. The Mohajirs also evaluated their political orientation and realised that their interests would be best served by aligning with the Sindhis. The socio-political identity of the Mohajirs now became subservient to the larger Sindhi identity rather than an exclusive fifth nationality of Pakistan. However, the demise of Zia saw the demise of this alignment too.

The 1988 election sharpened the divide between the two parties. The MQM revitalised its ethnic aspirations by the demand for recognition of the Mohajirs as the fifth nationality. This demand was more to do with political mobilisation, because the Mohajirs themselves knew only too well that given the geographical dispersal of their community, it would be very difficult to have a separate state, and, unlike other ethnic groups of Pakistan, they do not have a particular geographical area to call their own. Thus, their demand lacked political expediency. In spite of a close alliance during the movement for restoration of democracy with the Sindhi nationalists, in 1988, the Sindh National Alliance (SNA) was formed. The naming of this group was debated upon and the term Sindh instead of Sindhi was adopted to make it not only broad based but to include the Mohajirs, if they wanted to be included. However, certain Sindhi intellectuals were sceptical about this new alliance objectives. The Mohajirs also evaluated their political fortune and were reluctant. As pointed out by Hamza Alavi, the Mohajirs joining this alliance would benefit the Sindhis because given the rural bias of the political system of Pakistan, it would be the Sindhis rather than the Mohajirs who would predominate in the government of Sindh.39 Though the alliance was open ended, the Mohajirs were reluctant to be a part of it because they were confident of their electoral prospect in the urban areas and their agendas were different. The alliance failed to take off because of radical policies of some of its leader. The electoral arithmetic plays an important role in Sindh politics. Though the PPP has a solid base in Sindh, it cannot take up the cause of autonomy. Being a national party, it needs the support of other ethnic groups to form the federal government. Moreover, the aspirations of Sindhi nationalist leaders are curtailed because many eminent Sindhis belong to the PPP, thus, minimising the electoral success of the Sindh National Alliance.33

The MQM cashed on its tremendous street power. It has a large following amongst the youth and educated classes and the largest urban following (given its political base) compared to any other party in Pakistan. It is surprising that a party whose leader is in London on a self-imposed exile has such a larger following and has emerged as one of the most charismatic leaders with tremendous mobilising capacity. However, it is perceived as a party which does not have a broad based ideology to include other groups within its fold, the reason being its demand for a separate province that includes the urban areas of Sindh otherwise to be known as Jinnahpur. In the absence of a broad based support it cannot fulfill its objectives. "The MQM is caught between a rock and a hard place: without cooperation or alliance with other ethnic groups, it can make little headway in the national politics; to have this alliance, it must moderate its stance...the fate of Mohajir separatism will be decided by the ability of the State of manipulate the political process, the attitude of other ethnic groups towards Mohajir nationalism and, above all, by the capacity of the Mohajir community to eschew its sense of self-righteousness."34 Any dilution in Mohajir stand will affect its electoral prospect and challenge its status as indisputed leaders of Mohajirs.

Politics of Political Alliance

The MQM has had a political alliance with each and every government that has come to power. It does not have any particular set of demands and has wavered from demanding autonomy to a separate province. It had an alliance with the PPP in 1988, with the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) in 1990 and again with the PPP in 1993, and in 1996, it had alliance with the PML, which broke only in 1998. During its alliance with the PPP in 1988 the MQM came under severe pressure to control the continuing violence in Karachi. Failing, the MQM resorted to rhetoric to extract the maximum out of the 58-point agreement signed between Benazir and Altaf Hussain. At the same time there was tremendous pressure on the PPP from the powerful army and equally powerful president to take action against those engaged in violence in Karachi. The crackdown was finally agreed paving the way for the death of the alliance. On August 6, 1990, Benazir's government was dismissed in the pretext of detoriating law and order situation. The next election saw a new equation emerging with the alignment of the Muslim League and MQM in Sindh along with nationalists and some dissident PPP members. The internal dissension in the MQM had started with active Pakistan establishment interference to weaken the party. In 1991 Altaf Hussain left for London on health grounds after a number of the member of provincial Assembly fled to the US, revolting against the party leadership. The internal dissention in the MQM had started with acgive Pakistan establishment interference to weaken the party. In 1991, the situation in Karachi became grim. The situation which had improved up after Nawaz Sharif came to power showed signs of deterioration. On May 27, 1992, the army decided to crackdown and all the members of the MQM in both the provincial and federal governments resigned in protest. Due to the growing difference between the president and Nawaz Sharif, both of them were pressurised to resign in the army-brokered peace. In the 1993 elections, the MQM proved its popularity by getting 27 seats in urban Sindh. The MQM joined the PPP again for the sake of mutual convenience and pressurised the PPP to withdraw the army from Karachi and was successful. After the army withdrawal in December 1994, the situation in Karachi became violent, proving that peace superimposed by the army cannot be a permanent solution. At the same time, the MQM and PPP alliance was drifting apart, with the MQM demanding withdrawal of cases against Altaf Hussain. Feeling harassed all the time by unreasonable and political opportunist demands by MQM, Benazir described them as terrorists. The political bickering left the civil administration defunct. There was no scope for political rapprochement between the parties since the target was the ethnic politics in Sindh.

In the 1996 election, the MQM and PML reached a secret understanding about their political partnership. Some source suggest that when the MQM initially joined Sharif, he persuaded the party to sign an electoral pact, threatening to release harmful information that the military intelligence (ISI) had on it, if it refused.35 This is perhaps one of the reasons why the alliance did not last.

Effectiveness of Military Solution

The effectiveness of military solution raises severe doubts as a fool proof method to contain violence without accompanying socio-economic package. The strategy of operation clean-up was worked out when Bhutto's government was under constant pressure to take action against the militant groups in Sindh. Many nationalist in the PPP had not approved the alliance with the MQM, whose activities were a constant source of embarrassment to the PPP. The accord broke down when the provincial government decided to have a house-to-house search for arms. The army maintained that the Karachi problem in 1989 was precipated because of the political patronage provided by the ruling party to some PPP members such as openly providing protection to the PPP's student wing in their violent activities in Sindh. On May 27, 1990, the PPP government decided to take action on the basis of the list prepared by the police and army. This was done with twin intentions: to restore law and order and to crackdown on Mohajirs, causing least damage to PPP supporters. This method, however, failed to restore peace in Sindh, mainly due to the political interference in the functioning of the law enforcing authorities. The military and police were not permitted by the Sindh government to extend their operations beyond the urban areas, since that could affect the PPPs strong support base in rural Sindh.

The army initially intervened without the approval of both federal and provincial governments. The federal government agreed to the intervention to establish law and order only when the clamour for martial law in Sindh had already started. The army wanted to be deployed under Article 245, i.e. army in the aid of civil government, which would put its actions beyond the scrutiny of the judiciary. The PPP government knowing the implications and past history of army involvement in civil administration, limited the army's intervention to detention, arrest and interrogation of suspects. These rights granted to the army came under criticism by the judiciary because the army, in its penchant for establishing peace, committed excesses which were severe even compared to the martial rule. Given the intractable nature of the problem and the political interference, President Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi suspended both the federal and provincial governments. This was the officially stated reason. The foundation of the bloody ongoing war between the Mohajirs and law enforcing authority was laid after the Pucca Qila massacre of May 27, 1990.

The operation clean up, as coined by the army was introduced on May 27, 1992 and was designed to restore peace in Sindh. The ordinance of June 19, 1992 granted the army legal immunity from criminal persecution to army personnel during an operation. However, it could not bring peace to the battered province. The operation which was mostly aimed at the MQM, established and patronised its splinter group, the Haqiqi group, under the leadership of Afaq Ahmed. Thus, after 29 months of involvement in Sindh to restore peace, the army finally withdrew on November 30, 1994. The army operation in Sindh was promulgated under Article 147 of the Pakistani Constitution. Nawaz Sharif who was opposed to the army operation in Sindh, tried to justify it, whereas Benazir under whose leadership this operation was formulated and executed, emerged as its new critic. Though action was unidirectional against the MQM, it was obvious to the officials that the People's Student Federation, the youth wing of the PPP, was engaged in a hostage swap with the MQM. The Punjabi Pukhtoon Ittehad was officially accused of kidnappings for ransom, and other terrorist activities. The Sindh Awami Tehrik of Rasul Bakhsh Palejo displayed its armaments strength without any hesitation. These groups were untouched by the operation. This was established from the fact that after the army left, the city witnessed unabated violence for quite some time. Moreover this incident can also be linked with the failure of the police to prepare a strong case against the lawbreakers. Instead, they blamed the courts for granting bail to the accused. The police also in some cases extracted confessional statements from innocent people to cover up their inefficiency and provide patronage to the criminals. In the 1992 operation clean-up, the army was functioning under Article 147 which reads "assisting the civil government in the maintenance of law and order." The army was deployed for 29 months. An evaluation of this period can be done from the following statistics. According to official figures whereas 304 people were murdered in 1991, 565 people were gunned down in 1994 up to November 30--this figure applies only to Karachi, in contrast to the 1991 figure that includes the whole province.36 Confessional statements were recorded prior to the lodging of FIRs. The army was successful in combatting the dacoits in rural Sindh but in the urban areas, it was not successful because of politically motivated crimes and criminals having political patronage. To deal with the situation, the government constituted an elite force, specialising in weapons training, anti-ambush tactics, anti-dacoity operations, a stint of martial arts, learning how to scale building as well as target shooting. The were armed with armoured personnel carriers. In the 1992 operation, the army patronised the Haqiqi group (created by the army) and targetted the Altaf group. The policy of divide and rule is now paying back in terms of violence and terrorism. In the face of the army operation, the MQM renewed its call for a separate province. Finally, the army was withdrawn in 1994.

The violence in Karachi however remained unabated with new forces emerging. There were "four separate conflicts involving rival criminal gangs, Sunni and Shia Muslims, native Sindhis and Urdu speaking Mohajirs, and rival factions of the Mohajir community.37 In this inter and intra ethnic flights the use of small arms is amazing. Extortian and illicit drug trafficking are part of normal business and have flourished under the clamafouge cover of police-criminal nexus. This in turn has added to the violence making it more bloody.

Need for a New Political Paradigm

The problem in Karachi has seen three governments out of office on the plea of the law and order situation. The problem in Karachi mostly socio-economic and political rather than of law and order. But successive governments have tried to placate the public by portraying it as a problem of law enforcement. However, the underlying intentions have always been to fight their political opponents. The MQM's strong hold over Karachi was proved in the past electoral success. It is not only a threat to the electoral prospect of the PPP but to the PML also. Moreover, Sindh has been the political bastion of Sharif's main rival, the PPP. Thus, the present operation initiated by Nawaz Sharif in 1998 November, not only aimed at providing respite to the citizens of Karachi but also providing new constituency to the PML. To deal with the situation, Sharif who had been critical about operation clean up in 1990, surprisingly involved few of the officers alleged to have been involved in extra-judicial killings in the past.38 Thus the operation other than restoring law and order, aims at disarming and suppressing the Mohajirs. The operation seems to have had a degree of political motivation also. Both the MQM and PML were having political problems and MQM accused the PML government of backtracking from implementing the alliance understanding. The Karachi case also poves that political expediency was the prime motivation in the conclusion of the accord between the two parties who otherwise had no commonality in their political ideology. The MQM also made it clear that it would not support the government on the Sharia Bill which Sharif wants to implement to prove his Islamic credentials. Earlier MQM had opposed Kalabagh dam. The fracture had already occured and Hakim Said's murder provided with much needed pretext to order a crackdown or its political opponent.

The military took over after the Sindh government was suspended on October 30, 1998, by invoking Article 232(2)(c) so that governor's rule could be imposed without suspending the provincial legislature but without a time limit. The operation of many law enforcement agencies including intelligence agencies, paramilitary rangers, army and police, with their own respective agenda, has created more confusion. Moreover, accountability is one of the most important factors. The army has been involved in a publicity exercise and the operation has been portrayed by the army as a most successful one. The army has been successful in extracting confessions and publicising this as an achievement. The MQM has accused the government of victimisation. Altaf Hussain blamed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the deterioration of the law and order situation. The contention of the MQM is that they were never given an effective role in administration. Moreover, meetings on the law and order situation of Karachi were attended by the chiefs of the ISI, military intelligence and Intelligence Bureau, police commissioner and inspector general, chief minister, cheif secretary and a few representatives of the Muslim League.39 Though Hussain has demanded provincial autonomy, the under-representation of Mohajirs is a prime cause of their grievances. He warns that declaring Karachi as an arms-free zone will not suffice; for effective control of violence, the whole country would have to be declared a weapon-free zone, because weapons which are manufactured in other areas will find their way to Karachi. Recently, the MQM has aligned with Jiey Sindh Quami Mahaz to build a joint front. It has been candidly accepted by both Altaf Hussain of the MQM, and Sindh Governor Moeenuddin Haider that some members of both the MQM and Muslim League are involved in criminal activities. Moreover, during the recent MQM-PML partnership, many of those arrested for various crimes were released by the government to appease the MQM. Such political opportunism has resulted in a spate of violence and the government cannot escape responsibility for it.

The failure of the government to bring peace can be attributed of various factors. The state's dismal performance in fields such as urban planning, supply of civic amenities like clean water, sewerage, dispensaries, and roads as well as the declining social, cultural and political representation of Mohajirs in public life continue to agitate the mind of this community.40 The situation in Karachi is quite complex. There are several linguistic groups competing for numerous social benefits; 5.5 million speak Urdu and Gujrati; 2 million are Punabis, 1.5 million Pathans (including Afghans), 2 million foreigners (including Iranians, Iraqis, Sri Lankans, Thai, Bangladesh, Burmese, Philippinos and others) and less than a million Sindhis and Baluchis.41 With such a varied community Karachi needs a broad based approach involving all the communities.

The continuance of violence is a grim reminder that the situation in Karachi is yet to be controlled completely. There are reports that recently a new faction has emerged from the already fragmented Mohajir groups, among whom inter-ethnic war is more violent than intra-ethnic conflict. This group is known as the Basic Association of Citizens of Karachi (BACK) and is headed by a person named Goga, a formed bodyguard of Altaf Hussain.42

While analysing the violence in Sindh, one needs to look at the political opportunism displayed by the major political parties. The PML had an alliance with the MQM knowing fully well that the pact between them could not be implemented. Moreover, from the beginning Sharif's policy towards Karachi appears to be flawed. The street war in Karachi is expected to continue for quite some time. The appointment of top police officials close to Sharif--again Punjabis--was done without adequate respect for the ethnic sensibilities of the Mohajirs. Moreover, his desire to surpass the Governor in all policy decisions was evident when Sindh Governor Moinuddin Haider asked for the recall of these political appointees. A notification was administered, stripping the governor of the power to appoint and transfer officials under his command, but was later withdrawn.43 However, the issue brings forth the question of provincial autonomy. The supremacy of the federal government's decision to deploy the army is embodied in various paras of Article 245. The army is not only supposed to act in the aid of the civil government but the validity of any direction issued by the federal government under clause (I) cannot be questioned in a court of law. The High Court shall not exercise any jurisdiction under Article 199 in relation to any area in which the armed forces are deployed in pursuance of Article 245. Given the political implications of Operation clean up, it will not be able to deal with the situation effectively. There is no military solution to the problem of Karachi. Had that been the case, the necessity of another operation after four years would not have arisen. Since it is an economic and political problem, the solution is inherent rather than being a peripheral one. Karachi needs a constitutional package to deal with the economic, social, democratic and political deprivations. Moreover the question of provincial autonomy is also imbibed with the problem of Sindh. Unless and until the people have greater say in the provincial affair, this kind of problem will persist. And Sindh might be the first manifestation of political malady of a centrist government. The latest political voice in other provinces are waiting to explode and in some provinces the preliminary sign have already been manifested. The government needs cautious approach for greater national interest and has to deal with the situation sensitively.

The MQM has to engage in some introspection. It needs to have broad-based representation in order to succeed politically. Cashing in on merely the Mohajir votes will limit its political manoeuvrability. The movement lacks ideological orientation and a fixed agenda. By aligning itself with the power centre, it has displayed its political opportunism. The change of nomenclature to Muttahida will not suffice for its political objectives. The change, however, signifies that the MQM leadership recognises the need to abandon its separatist policy. There have to be concrete changes in the objectives. The ethnic agenda has to be replaced by the socio-economic grievances of the people of Sindh with a promise to provide a better life and better governance. However, to emerge as the champion of the rights of the people of Sindh, the MQM leadership should evolve broad based policies to protect its larger interest. Engaging in a potracted war with the Haqiqi faction and the law enforcing authority furthering their interests, is self-defeating. A solution to the Mohajirs' problems is linked with the larger issue of economic and political autonomy and the cooperation of all ethnic groups in Sindh is necessary to achieve a defined goal. Without this, it will always remain a movement of Mohajirs rather than a Muttahida Quami movement.



1. The appellation, though derived from the territory, race, religion, language or nationality of the group, has become specific to a linguistic group, drawn from geographically dispersed mother populations but forced to converge within the restricted territory in Pakistan. See Feroz Ahmed, "The Rise of Mohajir Separatism," Viewpoint, August 18, 1998, p. 33.

2. Kaiser Bengali, Defining Mohajirs Grievances, (Sustainable Development Institute of Pakistan, 1998).

3. Urdu was treated as the Muslim's language and promoted in the schools in Punjab, North-West Frontier and Baluchistan. Not having their own scripts or written literature, the Muslims of these regions willingly adopted Urdu as their language of literacy. See Ahmad, n. 1, p. 35.

4. Christina Lamb, "Waiting for Allah" (Hamilton, 1991), p. 107.

5. Less coercive source of income means an educated person working for any organisation will have less physical work, relatively less exploitation and includes many social benefits like health, education and pension facilities. In menial labour such as agricultural labour, it involves more hard work and a tenant is dependent on the whims and fancies of the landlords and is paid very little.

6. Hamza Alavi, "Nationhood and Nationalities in Pakistan," Viewpoint, July 13, 1989, p. 27.

7. Mohammad Waseem, Pakistan: A Country Report, (Kandy: International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 1998) p. 288.

8. Alavi, n. 6, p. 27.

9. Waseem, n. 7, p. 289.

10. Mohammad Wasseem, Politics and State in Pakistan (Islamabad, 1994), p. 109.

11. Waseem, n. 7, p. 291.

12. Charles H. Kennedy, "Managing Ethnic Conflict: The Case of Pakistan," Regional Politics and Policy, no. 1, vol. 3, 1993, p. 138, as cited in Waseem, n. 7, p. 289.

13. Iftekhar H. Mallick, State and Civil Society in Pakistan, (Macmillan 1997), p. 201.

14. Mallick, Ibid., p. 202.

15. Kaiser Bengali, Understanding Karachi: The Crisis of Identity and Crisis of Opportunities," The News, July 5, 1998.

16. Shahid Kardar, "Polarisation in the Regions and Prospects for Integration" in S. Akbar Zaidi ed., Regional Imbalance and the National Question in Pakistan (Lahore: Vanguard, 1992) p. 311 as cited in Waseem, n. 7, p. 288.

17. Hamza Alavi, "Nationhood and Nationality Problem of Ethnic Identity-II," Viewpoint, July 20, p. 29.

18. Ibid.

19. Charles H. Kennedy, "Policies of Ethnic Preference in Pakistan," Asian Survey, vol. 24, no. 6, June 1984, p. 691. In this article Kennedy has argued that the quota system is redressal method for inequalities between different groups. However, the fixation of quota equalising the East Pakistan with West Pakistan is a contradiction itself, given the demographic figure.

20. It was introduced on the pretext of increasing the representation of Bengalis who were under-represented at the time of partition. But the quota allocated implies that both provinces are treated equally, irrespective of discrepancies in the size of their population. The quota as envisaged is divided in the following manner: merit 20 per cent, East Pakistan 40 per cent and West Pakistan 40 per cent.

21. Kennedy, n. 19, p. 697.

22. For an account of Sindhi's perception of Mohajirs' definition of grievances see Ahmed, n. 1, p. 28.

23. International Herald Tribune, January 30, 1998.

24. Abrar R. Chowdhury, "Issues and Constraints in the Repatriation/Rehabilitation of the Rohingya and Chakma Refugees and the Biharis," paper presented to the Conference of Scholars and Other Professionals Working on Refugees and the Displaced Persons in South Asia, at Rajendrapur, Dhaka, on February 9-11, 1998, pp. 3-4.

25. According to the trilateral agreement among Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, Pakistan agreed to take those non-Bengalis who were either domiciled in former West Pakistan, were employees of the central government, and thier families or who were members of the divided families irrespective of their original domicile. The Pakistani side reiterated that all those who fall in these categories would be received by Pakistan without any limit to numbers. By 1974, 108,000 Biharis were repatriated from Bangladesh out of 462,000 Biharis. Eventually, the figure of those who were repatriated stood at 163,000 leaving about 250,000 to 300,000 stranded in Bangladesh. For a detailed account of the problem of repatriation of stranded Pakistanis, see Ibid.

26. For details, see Anees Jillani, Advance Towards Democracy: The Pakistani Experience, (Lahore: Progresive Publishers, 1990), p. 297-304.

27. Ibid., p. 155.

28. Alavi, n. 17, p. 30.

29. Ibid., p. 158.

30. Ibid., p. 159.

31. Mallick, n. 13, p. 232.

32. Hamza Alavi, "Nation and Nationalities: The Complex Mixture in Sindh," Viewpoint, July 27, 1989.

33. Sindhi nationalism is propagated by parties like G.M. Syed's Sindh United Front later renamed as Jiey Sindh Mahaz in 1972; Palejo's Sindh Awami Tehrik which mostly imparted guerrilla training on Marxist-Leninst and Maoist theory; Sindh Graduate Association consisting of intellectuals. Later, the Sindh-Baloch and Pushton Front was formed to make a common platform against the Mohajirs.

34. Ahmed, n. 1, p. 30.

35. Christina Lamb, n. 4, p. 58-59.

36. Idrees Bakhtiar, "Look Back in Anger," Herald, December 1994, p. 32.

37. Christopher Thomas, "Snipper get Upper Hand in Karachi Violence," The Times, December 21, 1994, as cited in Mallick, n. 13, p. 251.

38. These officers are Anwar Ahmed Khan, posted in Karachi airport police station,' Sarwar, commando in Liaquatbad; Aslam Khan in Gulbahar.

39. See Altaf Hussain's interview in The Herald, November-December 1998, p. 35.

40. Arif Hasan, "What is Karachi Really Fighting For," Herald, September 1995, pp. 59-60.

41. Waseem, n. 7, p. 291.

42. Khalid Butt, "Karachi Burns as Government Fiddles," The Nation, July 12, 1998.

43. It was due to the pressure exerted by the opposition that the government was compelled to withdraw the notification to save itself from further embarrassment. The notification was withdrawn in two phases. The first denotification sand that the governor still enjoyed the withdrawn powers if the federal government, in its infinite wisdom, decided to cede those powers to him. Which in other words means that power would be exercised according to the pleasure of the federal government. Second, the governor would "consult" with the federal government on any such appointments and transfers. This also implied the over-arching central control over the exercise of power. See Rashed Rahman, "Sindh as the Embodiment of the General Crisis," The Nation, November 17, 1998.