Political insight, MQM

Ever since I have been able to comprehend things, I have heard the name of this organization mentioned. It is the singular most powerful political party in my city of birth “Karachi” and beyond doubt the most well organized. Now MQM or Muttahida Qaumi Movement was not always the powerhouse, be all say all of this city and to understand the beginning of this organization one has to first understand why the people who migrated here from India started calling themselves Muhajir, or rather as I see it were forced to adopt that term.

Many people often tell me “oh you guys always use this victim mentality to defend your own shortcomings” Consider this however, most of us and I speak of my community the memons here, migrated from India leaving behind far greater wealth than we could ever hope to achieve in this new land. We were among the pioneers of Industry here in Karachi and Sind and lent not just our expertise in various sectors to this land but demonstrated a dedication to this country far beyond what is available today. In response to that we were isolated, barred from prestigious places in the government and the diplomatic core and were told to basically stick to industry to make more money for Pakistan. Is it not a shame that the finest business minds in this countries entire population are present in this community but we have only had one commerce minister from among us? Same goes for the other sectors of government, there are no memon diplomats or memon generals and you can substitute the word “memon” with any community that migrated here to get the same result. I used my own community’s example as I have witnessed them firsthand. These communities under the yoke of oppression that was imposed on them by the so called “sons of the soil” (yes I speak of all of you fuedals from Tando allah yar to Lahore) had no choice but to take the name of muhajir literally meaning refugee for that is what we have all been treated as so far. Bear in mind dear reader that this is the same yoke of oppression which refused to adopt a “Bengali” as a leader of a united Pakistan and thus gave us the fragmented nation we have today. The hatred of this section of Pakistan for migrants is visible in the terms “Bhooka Bengali” to describe a really hungry person or “Kalwa” a more brunt form of the word Muhajir as fair or gora is always good and right while Kala or black is always wrong here.This is the phycology of exclusion.

Fittingly the leader of all these migrants was a man from humble beginnings, a student of Karachi University, who upon witnessing the atrocities being committed their in the name of admissions and quotas decided to form a student action committee which later grew into APMSO, a student organization which took Jamatis head on in the politics of student colleges in this city and started representing the many unrepresented small migrant communities across this city. This man was Altaf Hussain and whether one likes him or not, agrees with his methods or not one has to give credit to the man who stood up in the face of decades of tyranny without any support or political backing to lean upon. Yes Altaf Hussains parents were not politicians or landowners or even ex generals, they were just ordinary people. This is what the man represented and thus he became the voice of “ordinary” citizens of this city, those that were always silenced for the benefit of a few.

After its establishment on June 11 1978, APMSO spread like wildfire across this city, and when it was forced out of Karachi university by the militant wing of Jamat E Islami “Islami Jammiat Tulba (jammiat)” it shifted its office to a small 120 yards house in Azizabad which would later become the famous symbolic headquarters and actual residence of their leader namely 90. Incidentally “Jamiat” goons are the same ones which beat up Imran Khan not so long ago, yet we see him leading Long marches with their leadership while blaming MQM for anything and everything under the sun. By the way the mythical name 90 is not because of some kind of mafia like tradition but the simple end of the phone number of this residence, which was 631690, and is now 6313690, feel free to call and confirm πŸ™‚

Gradually over the years APMSO started contesting in elections through local leadership and in spite of the many many attempts of the establishment grew in power to morph into MQM which later on took the name of Mutahhida Qaumi Movement with its white red and green flag and 5 stars on its logo to represent that there were not only 4 ethnic communities in this country but a fifth one which would no longer stay silent.

Today, one cannot form a government in this province of Sindh without MQM, such is its power and contrary to what people think this is not the power of anything else but work, and tremendous work that this party has done for its voters. MQM boasts a voting crown which is the most literate and the most active. It is no small feat that every time there is an election MQM sweeps across most of its constituencies and wins landslide victories from this province, my own family voted for this party in the last election and the one before that as well and its not because we were forced to.

Often in discussions I come across today the name of this party is held synonymous with what happened on 12th May. However there is an alternative side to that story as well, a camera angle which shows footage very different from what was shown to us on our media channels., so see and judge for your own self who is responsible for what.

Mqm’s journey has been one encompassing 31 years and obviously I cannot hope to gain the insight required to analyze it properly in such a short time. However I have had the opportunity to contact some members of this Party in the last week and all the info in this article is a result of their open mindedness and facilitation. I say open mindedness because normally one hears that the moment you talk about writing on this subject you are threatened into submission. Instead of threats all I have come across are people with open hearts and minds, patriotic and educated, willing to do anything for this country and city to help it grow and I am not surprised as I have often found living in this country that truth is stranger than fiction

We often tend to believe things as they are shown to us in the media or told to us by so and so who’s got an important source in “some” office, I think its about time we stop believing in this bullshit and actually talk to the people involved to get the right picture, which I hope I have been able to present somewhat above. As a curious mind however I now have a lot of questions for the detractors of this party and will hope to interview some of them next in my attempt to provide something different to my readers. I shall leave you with the following thoughts.

  • Why is Altaf hussain who has never held a single political office in Pakistan accused of being power hungry?
  • Why is the notion of Jinnahpur associated with this party all the time when having all the resources and people power in their position they could have started a separation struggle for this city long ago but never did?
  • Why is the only party which gives a chance to every member of this city from any background to join it and wins them seats in assemblies described as the hegemony of a few? Case in point who was Mustufa Kamal, ever seen someone like him come into power from another political party in Pakistan?

I thank Ali Raza Abidi, Ali.K Chisti and Aeyaz Hasan for giving me the information and insight needed for this piece.

  1. Nice One Faisal !!!

    Just remember only one thing,

    Lion the king of jungle the most powerful always hunt the animal who left his herd,( kindly watch Animal planet if you think i am wrong )

    So mohajirs do remember when ethnic riots occurred the others would not ask you about your political affiliation with MQM, they just target you because of your ethnicity, so why not work for Mohajir unification and Nationalism to save ourselves and our upcoming generations??????

  2. πŸ˜‰ let me start off the hackfest

    The problem with MQM is that it has one too many skeletons in its closet – as much good that Mustafa Kamal might do – they back-end team only tries its Damndest to discredit and tarnish his work – the past five years – MK did well for Karachi only to end up being splattered with one political incident after another and the highlight of May 12th and later April 9th prove quite a mouthful

    I accept that May 12 has fingers pointing both ways – but you must admit as much that the scenario was created and orchestrated by MQM from the get-go that resulted in a free-for-all.

    The night before, the containers, the bull dozing motorcycles etc etc only go to show a threat by MQM to its opposition saying HOW DARE YOU COME OUT TO RECEIVE the CJP in OUR CITY – that attitude resulted in a stand-off – then it resulted in actually blocking off processions as they were approaching various intersections on Sh-Faisal after which the killing started and the retaliation resulted from both sides yes both sides were armed and both sides killed but the argument that remains is that why cant MQM be tolerant of opposing voices – the 25 years has shown the people of Karachi that inherently it cant and habitually it wont let voice of opposition say anything against them. Though they selectively choose to splatter hideous comments on anyone they choose

    FK you have shared some videos of the event showing killing on both sides and I too accept it was not one sided but we must understand [without defending the criminals] that why did the killing had to happen in the first place

    The all powerful administration of the MQM was actually helping the spread of terrorism and seriously found not stopping it – even today the owners of AAJ tv have stories to tell of that hair raising day that played outside their offices and mind you its generally not talking about the ‘other side’ – calls were made by the all powerful administration to threaten them into submission.

    April 9th was yet another manifestation.

    As much as Mustafa Kamal tries to wash away – the old leadership tries its best to tarnish and destroy his efforts.

    What troubles me is that old habits die hard -the thuggery and gangsterism will not go away that easy – more because MQM is ‘in the govt’ the minute they find themselves outside that tender envelop – I fear for my life and the lives of the rest of Karachi as to sit and watch the tiger unleashed all over again. The question shall remain when will they cross this fine line – for the sake of Pakistan – I hope never – oft its considered to be a necessary evil – needed to keep the evil itself away.

    in the recent months I have been engaged with Ali Chishti and Ali Raza Abidi where they present a very compelling and pleasant side of the new Young MQM – im all ears – im engaged in a dialog – we might not switch sides [or maybe ;)] but at least the channels of a civilized communication are breath of fresh air.

    Bottom Line is lets hope this honeymoon period of MQM is long lasting – the topsy turvey political manipulations generally have us all worried as to what next.. and how will the MQM leadeship react

    Quite unpredictable muah dear ‘ol watson

  3. So finally you reveal your true colors hmmm??? Is there noone in pakistan without a tilt?

  4. Brilliant as always faisal you never cease to amaze me with the clarity you can find amongst the diarrhea of info overload there in pakistan.

  5. Hats off to Mustafa Kamal… i work in site and the udnerpasses he has made has reduced my commute time from 60 to 75 minutes to only 15 minutes…

    i would vote for him whenever he stands in an election and for whatever position he stands for!!

  6. Hey Faisal, great article but it seems a lot sugar coated. The present of MQM is based on scares from the past that run long and deep. I might have to write a blog about my experience, which might really have a mob running behind me with pitch forks…lol

  7. @ TM funny you should talk about skeletons while following a man like Imran Khan…there are lots of skeletons in that closet as well mr ever open it and take a look?

    The video to my untrained eye shows ppp flags and ANP thugs.. one even going as far as proclaiming “ham karachi ko itni asani se nahi choren ge” still the whole thing is MQM orchestrated huh?

    What about the fact that a few days ago MQM held a massive rally without any violence at all from anyone, who was in control now? Who put an end to violence for this rally? I guess im the only one who can put 2 and 2 together here and see that both PPP and ANP are in power in this city as well and this time there was no firing on the rally hence no firing back.

    Good stuff Faisal, its nice to see a divergent point of view.

  8. @ KF thanks, and i do agree we should all work towards unification rather than division, but has not this party unified all of us in this city???

    @TM You forget to mention the fact of Jamatis beating up Imran and him still marching with them, politics my friend is a strange cup of tea, was it all MQM on 12th May or was it made to look like MQM by provoking them by firing on men women and children from that party marching on shahra E faisal, I have personally seen people pull out guns in a traffic accident in this city many times, you expect people to be fired upon and just take it cuz they are not thugs? If someone fires on my family i will take the nearest weapon in sight and bust a cap in their ass ASAP, call me a thug if you will.

    No one is trying or wants to defend criminal acts here, im just trying to show who the criminals might be, they are not always visible dude and for gods sake do not talk about our media channels having horror stories, i can tell you a few horror stories of what some of them do if they do not get their required advertisment campaigns…that patti at the bottom of the screen is what i call the “blackmail strip”

    @ Terry look forward to your blog man, im sharpening my pitchfork.

    @Sana If honesty is what you call a tilt than i am guilty of that crime. My true color is green and white.

    I think Tayyab illustrates what i have been trying to say well, simply put the party that works for the people will be voted into power. We can argue on specific incidents all we want, I have heard people arguing about ruthless hooliganism in the name of the long march on GPO chowk with people pelting the police with stones..i have seen a leader break the law and take it in his own hands and scare the establishment into a cease fire and all of us celebrated that as a victory of the people!!! Its just perspective that’s all there is to it one mans thug being the other mans savior.

  9. I am quite confused about Awab Alvi aka Teeth Maestro, he is so called Libral but he is following a party and person who openly sided with talibans, Imran Khan Party President in FATA welcomed Baith Ullah Mehsud.


    The way Imran Khan is giving statements against MQM is also more ethnic rather then political, Why nobody is trying to find who killed 14 MQM workers on 12th May ?


    Imran Khan was spitting poision against MQM but failed to give names of his party workers injured on 12 Mya, He used to say as MQM tagetted his workers so he will sue Altaf hussain, Few days back Imran Khan Party workers were injured in suicide blast in Pindi but he didn’t gave any statement against Talibans and people who are doing it.

    This is aimed to provide valuable information about Imran Khan (Ex- Pakistani Cricketer) and its party Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI)

    The Ex Pakistani cricketer is a blunt supporter of Talibans (Declared Terrorists by UN) and sanction have been imposed on Talibans.

    Imran Khan and its party is also against the on going operations in Afghanistan which is legitimize by the UN and Canada as a state is part of it.

    Imran Khan is a person who legitimize the Suicide Attacks by calling them Reactions.

    Suicide bombers not only murdered innocent men and women but also a give a bad name to the religion of Peace Islam.

    The workers of Imran Khan party are ready to work with Al Qaeda on their Official Forum to eliminate MQM, the biggest political party of Karachi and against religious terrorism.

    Imran Khan also has a soft corner for the Talibans responsible for thousand of deaths of innocent men and women.

    Imran Khan entered politics under the tutelage of Lt.-Gen. Hamid Gul, the former Pakistani intelligence chief famous for fueling the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan,

    Hameed Gul is also wanted by US as He is in loop with Al Qaeda.

    Imran Khan is also working closely with the Jamat e Islami Pakistan who are harbouring International terrorists of Al Qaeda.

    Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (Master mind of 9/11 Attacks) and many members of Al Qaeda were arrested from the houses of Jamat e Islami Leaders Houses.

    In line of all these proofs and evidence it is crystal clear that Imran Khan is working with the people who are not only against the World Peace but also involved in crimes against Humanity,

    I urge the Canadian Government to immediately declared Imran Khan and It’s Party Tehreek e Insaaf as Terrorists and their activities and funding should be Ban in Canada.


    1. Official website of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf) http://www.insaf.pk/
    2. United Nations (http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N99/300/44/PDF/N9930044.pdf?OpenElement)
    3. The Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee(http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/index.shtml)
    4. Canada in Afghaniatan (http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/lf/english/6_11.asp?FlashEnabled=-1&ampπŸ˜‰
    5. Imran Khan legitimize Suicide Attacks:(http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=116296)
    6. Imran Khan Party Seek Help from Al Qaeda against Political Apponents:(http://www.insaf.pk/Forum/tabid/53/forumid/1/postid/27148/view/topic/Default.aspx)
    7. Official Website of MQM:( http://www.mqm.com)
    8. Imran Khan and Talibans: (http://www.newsline.com.pk/NewsDec2002/newsbeatdec5.htm)
    9. Taliban responsible for killings of men and women: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByZHoWAYXIs)
    10. Imran and Hameed Gul Nexus: (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/658vhcpk.asp)
    11. Hameed Gul and Al Qaeda Connection: (http://www.geo.tv/12-7-2008/30263.htm)
    12. 9/11 attacks Master Mind Arrested from Jamat e Islami Office Berier House: (http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers7/paper699.html)
    13. Al Qaeda people arrested from jamat e Islami Houses: (http://www.saag.org/common/uploaded_files/paper1073.html)

  10. @TM: Thank you for your comments. I would say brother, just let go of the past, as a lot was and is controlled by a third invisible hand, which causes us to believe the otherwise. We can talk forever on the 12th May and 9th April issues, but man, please be objective, and I know you can be. We are all on the same team, just need to understand each other much better.

    @FK: Great composition yar!

  11. @Ali Raza – as much as I want to have Faith in your party to stay its present course why do I have a sense of worry – your party is all smiles as long as its in power but the minute its outside, its a different story. I am ready to move on. But when you say forget May 12th and April 9th – I am with you – but for a fleeting moment can I share with you another observation

    The April 9th apart from its criminal manifestation was also a threatening event by MQM as it was suddenly finding itself being shoved out of the power blocks – and immediately after April 9th it was able to re-negotiate back into the realms of power.

    Mind you I don’t use April 9th as a threatening example but merely as an example of ‘what if’

    Might you be suggesting a rejuvenated party – quite possibly. I await to see. But yes I am heartened to see dialog take precedence over muscle – Bravo at that

  12. I think as long as dialog can take place and precedence over violence, it is best. we are all residents of this city and most of us love it regardless of their political affiliations or not so whats the point in arguing when the goal is the good of Karachi for each one of us?

  13. slmz to all ,i am new at this blogging so please excuse any mistakes…i just wanted to ask a simple question and my question is…..
    if a person does not vote after 18, should he be allowed to criticize ,as that person himself did not fulfill his basic duty ,that person has no right to criticize because he had the option and choose to do nothing ….Now lets come to the real question ,my question to you sir is quite simple, don’t you think if a party boycotted the elections ,as they thought they can never contest in any election that were held under mushraff ,should have any say in matters now and if they were on the stand that election under musraff are not to be accepted so why is it soo when courts declared shareef brothers(who contested in those very elections) ineligible the same party said its stabbing of democracy ,i dont understand the two face politics of Mr Imran khan….just one more thing calling supporters of mqm ghadar of the country is a pretty upsetting statement from a party leader….your comments plz teeth maestro or any one would like to answer

  14. Regardless of what your feelings are about the MQM, Faisal this was a great piece πŸ™‚ Good background and history of the party’s shift from a student movement into a political party. Nice work!

  15. one more which we should understand that as the world media is controlled by Jewish like our pakistani media is in control of either Punjabi or Jamati Journalist so they can not perform their journalism duty with honest.
    i can give you one example in the daily Dawn 17/03/09 news appear that PMLN worker did massive firing in Rawalpindi but this story did not came in any newspaper of Punjab except Aaj Kal or daily Dawn of Karachi. link is given below


  16. After seeing all this dicussions and posts.. I am happy that we are finally growing up as a nation. I support all Parties and all their supporters as they all I can see in them is a Pakistani.

    My true color is green and white. <=== Stole my words πŸ˜‰

  17. Sorry to say that,
    Please come and ask the people on road side.


    MQM mind frame goverment is not good for us, the Karachi people

  18. Faisal, mohajir would be translated as an immigrant not refugee, since it is from hijrat (or migration).

    I belong to one of the “muhajir” families that forms the MQM’s core voter base, although I am not in that voter base. There are several problems I have with the MQM. First, as you point out, MQM started off a political party representing one particular ethnic group, but in later years it has broaden its scope, at least in black & white if not in practice, to encompass the whole of Pakistan, hence the name change from Mohajjor Qaumi Movement to Muttaihida Quami Movement. Despite what this name suggests, MQM still plays its political cards on deep rooted ethnic grounds. Like almost every other political party in this county, it does not believe in issue or principle based politics, but on ethnic and racial politics. Hence if a Punjabi is doing some good work, doesn’t matter, just because he is Punjabi, we must view his every action with cynicism and suspect, or alternatively even if so-called “mohajir” is doing something wrong, disregard it because he’s one of the community members. (a teacher at the NED University for instance, confessed to being sick and tired of harassment and threats from AMPSO students to not place any overbearing restrictions in examination environments, but still went ahead and voted for MQM in the elections this year because quote “yaar, woh apne log hein, agar marein gey bhi, to darakht ke chaon mein jake marein gey”.

    The MQM leadership has over the years consistently taught its workers and propogated to its voter base a genuine mistrust and cynicism of people of other ethnicities, hence Pathans are killers, Punjabis will rob you, etcetera etcetera…in short, as I keep getting told “the sons of the soil” will not accept me. They will deprive me of my rights, take away my livelihood, take all the tax money, and give us nothing in return, and in short, they are evil and will do anything to harm us. This is the philosophy I believe the work on, hence the usage of term “mohajir” even by current generation of MQM workers who probably have no actual recollection of partition. They have born here, lived here all their life, but continue to call themselves Mohajir. I for one to do not identify with this term. I believe it is time to move on, in fact this is very much over due. Its bean 60+ years for god’s sake. How long will we keep calling our selves muhajir? Why can’t we call our selves Pakistanis?

    Secondly, since I am student, one of the foremost ways these days in which my political attitudes and orientations are shaped is through what I see of student unions backed by various political parties at the Karachi University, which is where coincidentally, MQM (in the form of AMPSO) came into existence in the first place. And unfortunately, in this sphere all I see is petty power politics and systemic corruption.

    Don’t have enough marks to secure admission into a department of your choice? Not to worry, join AMPSO/IJT/PSO/PSF/ISO and you can get admission into virtually any department of your choice.

    Don’t feel like taking any classes all year round but still want to pass? Not to worry again, your preferred union will come to your help. All of have to do is show your face in the a couple or so classes as exams approach, and drop a line or to to the teacher about your “affiliations” and “sources” and of course “dire consequences”. And be rest assured, all but the most principally and fearless of teachers, will pass you.

    Want to have university closed or classes called of? No problem again, just get together with a handful of your union fellows and protest about anything under the sun, and any number of classes may be disrupted, depending upon the intensity of the protest and the gravity of the “cause” of your protest. Oh and if you ever have a disagreement with members of other unions, fighting is usually the only option, so that’s another sure shot way of getting normal university activities disrupted.

    In short, join an union, and be the de facto administrators of the university and feel free to run the campus complete at your whims.

    I’m afraid, this is what I see of every student union, including AMPSO. They may have started out on a good cause, namely to lobby for the rights of a select background of students, but ever since that primary objective has been fulfilled, now that they have acquired the power and authority that they required earlier to defend their rights, they are openly abusing this power to fulfill their own vested interests. AMPSO, like other unions, is the epitome of the dirty politics of confrontations, lies, deceit and narrow political gains that forms the core nature of the Pakistan’s larger political arena.

    And the MQM’s supposedly sincere and honest leadership never comes out to take notice, let alone criticize any of these activities of its student wing. Unless this scenario changes, I’m afraid, I will continue to harbor very deep reservations about the veracity of MQM’s stated political goals and ideologies.

  19. Very interesting post, Faisal sahab.

    My do paisay:

    I am a Punjabi from Lahore, and often heard bad things about MQM (obviously). I decided to do some research, and ended up reading a fascinating book titled “Migrants and Militants” that highlights the early history of MQM. Since then, I have always semi-respected the party, its rationale and its organization, and have often (strangely) defended it while my fellow Lahoris have hurled abuses at it.
    (Link to the book, in case anyone is interested. Must-read for all Pakistanis: http://www.amazon.com/Migrants-Militants-Violence-Pakistan-Princeton/dp/069111708X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240350160&sr=8-2)

    However, I then moved to Karachi and lived there for a year (2007-08). Naturally, as a curious outsider, I talked to a number of my friends about MQM, and my opinions began changing. There were simply way too many horror stories – not conspiracies planted by agencies, but real-life personal experiences of relatives of people I spoke too. Too much horror was inflicted by the MQM on all other ethnicities in Karachi. These are, it appears, matters of fact and nothing less.

    I will, however, admit and acknowledge that as many Mohajirs have been victimized, killed, hurt and marginalized as the other side. So there is enough blame to go around for everyone. πŸ™‚

    On a humorous note, many years ago I wrote a short and funny piece about Pakistani ethnicities. You might enjoy it:


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