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The evolution of mohajir consciousness

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Was the Muttahida Qaumi Movement simply engineered by Gen Zia or was there more to its history?

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), once the most dominant political party in Karachi, is in complete disarray. At the moment there are three factions of the party vying for the Mohajir vote and at least two sub-factions within one of the splinter groups. The immediate memory associated with the MQM in the minds of the party’s supporters is that of an organisation that was able to stall the political and economic alienation of Sindh’s Mohajirs. The other immediate memory of the party — mostly held by its detractors — is of an outfit which plunged Sindh’s capital, Karachi, into ethnic turmoil and of heinous crimes allegedly committed by the party’s armed wings.

There are also those who have maintained that the party was the outcome of ‘political engineering’ undertaken by the ‘agencies’ at the behest of Gen Zia’s dictatorship. This has often been repeated by various political analysts. Although this claim was convincingly substantiated, it’s possible that this indeed was the case before MQM broke away from the agencies’ orbit sometime in the late 1980s.

This perception is largely rooted in comments by some Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leaders and then those belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). In 1986, when one of the worst ethnic riots in Karachi propelled the MQM into the forefront, the JI claimed that the party had been created by the Zia dictatorship to neutralise the support the JI once enjoyed in Karachi. The PPP, on the other hand, claimed that the party had been engineered to “balance out the PPP’s........

© The Pioneer