mqmAfter 67 years of migration from various areas of India, Urdu speaking still considers as a separate community of Pakistan and claims that it has not been treated well in Pakistan. Therefore, Altaf Hussain founded All Pakistan Muhajir (Immigrant) Student Organization in 1978, which gave a birth to Muhtidda Mohajir Movment (United Immigrant Migrant Movement) in 1984. Later, the party name changed to Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997 (the United National Movement) to give the party as a national appearance. The name hardly influenced its vision and remained, predominantly, the part of the community, mostly residing in Karachi and Hyderabad.

MQM adopted violent tactics to find its niche and has increased its influence in Pakistan, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad. The founder, Altaf Hussain, ran away from Pakistan when he was charged for various crimes, including murders of opponents.  He took asylum in the UK. Later, he received nationality of the UK. Ironically, he still controls the affairs of the party while residing in the UK.

Is there any truth in the MQM’s claim that the community of Urdu-Speaking has not been treated well in Pakistan, or they want to repeat the politics of the United India to establish their supremacy in order to seize a bigger share? This is quite untrue that they did not get their rights or not treated well in Pakistan. Many members of this community have been taking the top political and bureaucratic positions since the birth of Pakistan. The first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was Urdu speaking; the former president and Army dictator, General Musharraf, is Urdu speaking. Another General and the former president, General Zia-ul-Haq was a migrant, though Punjabi. If we go in the history, most of top bureaucrats were Urdu Speaking.

Interestingly, the MQM came into existence in the period of Zia-ul-Haq. It was a dying political force when Gen. Musharraf took power. It is, he, who provided MQM with the opportunity to revive its political position in Karachi, again. Since the Musharraf’s regime, the party (MQM) has been most of the time a part of the ruling alliance in the center and Sind province.

Similarly, the members of the community have been sharing a number of administrative top positions in the bureaucracy at the center and provincial levels since 1947; in fact, more than the natives of Sindh, KPK and Bluchistan provinces. On the economic front, they are owner of large businesses, for instance, Habib Bank Limited, established by Habib Esmail, a migrant from India. Keeping in view, their social, political and economic position in Pakistan, it is hardly plausible to argue that they are being discriminated in Pakistan after independence.

What is the politics of MQM and what they wish to achieve? We, perhaps, better understand MQM’s politics if we briefly analyze pre-partition politics of the areas where Muslims were not in the majority, such as Lucknow or Bombay. Most members of MQM are descendents of those who migrated from these areas. In the United India, the residents of these areas sought a bigger share in politics and public administration positions in comparison to their numerical strength, so they exploited religion, under the umbrella of Two-Nation theory, to meet their political and economic ends. Since 80s, they have adopted the similar technique by posing as an aggrieved party whose rights have not been given. As the above short description shows that their claims and distress are incorrect because they have never been victimized in Pakistan. Thus, the issue is not that they are maltreated in Pakistan, but they want a lion share in politics and in the houses of power. Of course, if that goal will not be met, they do not mind to divide Pakistan further. The earlier reports show that they had dimly tried to achieve this goal in the past and even drafted the map for Jinnahpur, but did not succeed. Of course MQM denies such accusations. Without going into the details of earlier accusation, the recent statement (19 October 2014) from the second tier leadership of MQM is, however, alarming in which they stated that they would take their own rights and province (the daily Express 2014). The demand may apparently look innocent, but can have drastic effects in the future. They know that talking about a separate country, at this point of time, will receive a severe reaction from the armed and other law and order forces, so they demanded a separate province, however, it is likely they they go demanding of an independent state in the future, if they are not checked.



Nadeem Yousaf

Uploaded on 21 October, 2015

Political Aspirations of MQM