MQM, founded as Muhajir Qaumi Movement, is now known as Muttahida Qaumi Movement. The change in name came after its decision to join national level politics as a main stream party. When MQM went through this shift it was assumed, and appreciated by many circles, that MQM has stripped out of its racist core. However, time has proved the optimists to be wrong. MQM is still a racist party, claiming to be the defender of Muhajir rights.
This leads to an interesting discussion. What is a Muhajir? Is it a caste? a race? or some sort of nationalistic identity? By definition Muhajir is someone who does Hijrat from a place to other. As Hijrat is called migration in English, so Muhajir can be an immigrant. However, in religious terms, and in the context of Two Nation Theory, a Muhajir in Pakistan is someone who left India to settle in Pakistan, in or after 1947.
As MQM claims itself to be champion of Muhajir rights, and runs its political shop on this pretext, it has spread some myths in order to justify its political slogans and brainwash innocent citizens of Pakistan.
Myth #1: Muhajris live in Karachi and Hyderabad only
As Urdu speaking communities migrated from UP and CP, Punjabis migrated from East to West Punjab. However, the settlers in Lahore or others parts of Punjab now call themselves Pakistanis rather than Muhajirs of Delhi or Amritsar. Even those who migrated from Pakistan to India have not don the Muhajir name tag.
Before inception of MQM, Urdu speaking communities used to live peacefully in interior Sindh with their Sindhi compatriots. However, they had to pay the price for MQM’s activities in the cities and mass exodus from rural to urban Sindh happened in 80s and early-90s.
Myth #2: All Muhajirs are Urdu Speaking
As claimed by MQM, it represents the Urdu Speaking, hence the Muhajirs – giving an impression that all Muhajirs are urdu speaking or vice versa. This is totally false. All Muhajirs are not Urdu speaking. MQM itself has people like Farooq Sattar whose mother tongue is not Urdu. Various castes of Memons and Gujratis are part of MQM. And as discussed in Myth #1, Punjabis and Pashtuns are also Muhajirs.
Wikiepedia has a list of Muhajir communities, many of them are not Urdu speaking.
Myth #3: MQM is sole representative of Muhajirs
MQM has a generated a hype that it is sole representatives of Muhajirs, and Altaf Hussain, its British National Quaid-e-Thereek, is the chief of all Muhajirs. This is another myth. Urdu speaking communities of Karachi constituted the vote bank of Jamaat-e-Islami before MQM, and its politics of gun and terror, entered in Karachi. In the good old days, PPP and JI enjoyed the support of Urdu Speaking communities of Karachi until MQM hijacked the scene.
In 1998 Sindh had 21.05% Urdu speaking population, Punjab had 4.51% and Islamabad had 10.11% [Wikipedia]. Fortunately, the Muhajirs in Punjab and Islamabad were saner enough to not to fall into the MQM trap.
Quoting the same source, the Muhajir population in United States is 150,000, Saudi Arabia 120,000, Canada 80,000, UAE 50,000 and UK 25,000. These figures are likely to include 2nd and 3rd generations who have been born overseas and are considered residents of their respective countries. That is, they do not call themselves Muhajirs any more and feel discriminated if someone call them immigrant. This should serve as a real wakeup call for all the Muhajir ki Aulad in Karachi and Hyderabad.
Incidentally, when Altaf Hussain asks Indian government to take back the Muhajirs, does he meant Punjabi Muhajirs too?
12 thoughts on “MQM and the Muhajir Myths”
the first quota system introdused by liyaqat ali khan when he fix a quota for muhajir for buying hindo property and sindhi been restricted to buy.
Great Post very well written