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Muttahida Qaumi Movement

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Muttahida Quami Movement
متحدہ قومی موومنٹ
Leader Farooq Sattar[1]
Spokesperson -
Parliamentary leader to the National Assembly Farooq Sattar
Parliamentary leader to the Senate Secretariat Tahir Hussain Mashhadi
Deputy Parliamentary Leader to the National Assembly Sharjeel Shah
Founder Altaf Hussain
Founded March 18, 1984 (1984)
Headquarters Nine Zero; 494/8, Azizabad, F.B Area
Karachi, Pakistan
Students wing All Pakistan Muttahidda Students Organization (APMSO)
Charity Wing Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF)
Parliamentary wings Haq Parast
Ideology Muhajir Nationalism[2][3]
Colors Red, green and white
Slogan Empowering People
8 / 104
National Assembly
24 / 342
Sindh Assembly
50 / 168
Election symbol
Party flag
Flag of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.svg

The Muttahida Quami Movement (Urdu: متحدہ قومی موومنٹ‎, Muttaḥidah Qọ̄mī Mūwmaṅṫ) (English: United National Movement) generally known as MQM, is a secular political party[4][5] in Pakistan currently led by Farooq Sattar.[6][1]

The student organization, All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization (APMSO), was founded in 1978 by Altaf Hussain that subsequently gave birth to the Muhajir Qaumi Movement in 1984.[7] In 1997, the MQM officially removed the term Muhajir (that denotes the party roots among the country's Urdu-speaking community) from its name and replaced it with Muttahida ("United"). The MQM is generally known as a party that holds strong mobilizing potential in Karachi, having traditionally been the dominant political force in the city.[8][9] Muttahida Qaumi Movement is currently the second largest party in Sindh and overall the fourth-largest party in the National Assembly of Pakistan after the Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pakistan Peoples Party, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.[10]

The party has kept its influence over Pakistan's federal government as a key coalition partner since the late 1980s (1988-1990, 1990-1992, 2002-2007, 2008-2013).[11] However, MQM parliamentarians resigned from the National Assembly, Senate and Provincial Assembly of Sindh in protest against a crackdown on criminal elements alleged to have close links with top MQM leaders.[12]


Muhajirs were the Urdu-speaking Muslims, who migrated to Pakistan when the country emerged independent from the British Raj in 1947. Karachi was then home to a very diverse set of ethnicities including Urdu and Gujarati speaking immigrants, Punjabis, Pashtuns, Baluch and foreigners from several South Asian countries. Muhajirs advanced in both commerce and the bureaucracy, but many resented the quota system which facilitated Sindhis in gaining university slots and civil service jobs.[13] It was this very ethnic rivalry that led to Muhajir political mobilization, which was further provoked by the stagnant economy and the condition of Biharis in Bangladesh concentration camps.[14]



The MQM is the dominant party in Karachi and Hyderabad. It was founded in 1984 by Azeem Ahmed Tariq & Altaf Hussain. At the time of inception, MQM represented only the Muhajir community but after several years, the Muhajir Qaumi Movement changed its name to Muttahida Qaumi Movement, thus welcoming all ethnic groups of Pakistan into its folds.

The first political organization of Muhajirs, called All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization (APMSO), was founded on 11 June 1978 by Altaf Hussain in Karachi University. On March 18, 1984, the APMSO evolved into a proper political organization—Muhajir Qaumi Movement.[7] It was launched to protect the Muhajir community who perceived themselves as the victims of discrimination and repression by the quota system that gave preference to certain ethnicities for admissions in educational institutions and employment in civil services.[15][16]

Late 1986–1990

In its early years, MQM drew enormous crowds, the epitome of which was the rally of August 8, 1986 at Nishtar Park, Karachi.[17] Three years into its existence, MQM won the November 1987 local body elections in Karachi and Hyderabad and had several mayors win unopposed.[7][17] Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won the highest number of seats in the general election of 1988 and formed a coalition government in the Sindh Province with the help of MQM, which then had a larger mandate in urban Sindh in comparison to PPP whose majority of support came from rural areas of Sindh. A 59-point agreement, called the Karachi Accord, was signed which included statements about protection of the democratic system and political rights, urban development goals, and creating objective criteria for admission to universities and colleges. Within a few months of the agreement, differences surfaced and MQM ministers in the Sindh Cabinet resigned because the agreement was not implemented.[18] Thus, the alliance broke up in October 1989 and MQM joined hands with PPP's opponents.[7] During these times MQM made mark for public benefit initiatives.[19] Khidmat-e-Khalq Committee, a social welfare initiative, was founded in 1978 which in 1998 transformed into Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF).[20]


In the elections of October 1990, MQM emerged as the third strongest party in the country. This time, it made its alliance with Pakistan Muslim League (PML) to establish a provincial government in Sindh whereas PML formed the federal government. During these times, small factions of MQM separated themselveom the main body of the party. The largest among these factions is MQM Haqiqi (English: Real MQM), which was formed by Afaq Ahmad and Amir Khan.[13] It is generally believed that MQM Haqiqi was formed by the collusion of Pakistani Government in power and the Establishment/ISI to weaken MQM and was supported by successive federal governments and the military.[13] In the years to come, federal governments switched between forming alliance with MQM and fighting against it to establish greater control over Karachi.[14]

From 1992 to 1994, the MQM was the target of the Pakistan Army's Operation Clean-up, The period is regarded as the bloodiest period in Karachi's history, with thousands MQM workers and supporters killed or gone missing. Although 14 years have passed since the alleged arrest or disappearance of MQM workers, families of the missing people are still hopeful after registering the cases in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.[21] The operation left thousands of Urdu-speaking civilians dead.[18][22]

The violence gripped urban Sindh politics in the late 1980s after General Zia ul-Haq's era, and finally in 1992, the erstwhile government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif passed a resolution in assembly to launch a military operation in Karachi to target 72 'big fishes'. The federal government gave the reasoning behind this operation, known as "Operation Clean-up", as the government's attempt to end terrorism in Karachi and to seize unauthorized arms.[17] Operation Clean-Up, which ostensibly sought to eliminate all terrorists irrespective of their political affiliation, began in June 1992. MQM perceived this operation as an attempt to wipe out the party altogether.[7] Political violence erupted while MQM organized protests and strikes.[7] The resulting lawlessness prevailed in the largest metropolitan city of Pakistan, which led to the country's President dissolving the National Assembly.

During the 1992 violence Altaf Hussain left the country when a warrant was issued for him in connection with a murder.[23] Since then, the political party is run by Mr Hussain from self-imposed exile in London.[24][14]

MQM boycotted the subsequent 1993 general elections claiming organized military intimidation but participated in provincial elections. MQM secured 27 seats in provincial assembly, in comparison to its political rival PPP which won 56 seats. This resulted in PPP forming both the provincial and federal governments.[25] Whereas, MQM Haqiqi failed to gain any seats at federal or provincial level.[7] Political violence gained momentum in 1993 and 1994. During the 1994 violence, heavily political killings were reported between MQM, MQM factions, and Sindhi nationalist groups. By July 1995, more than 1,800 people had been assassinated in Karachi.[13] In 1997, MQM boycotted the general elections and officially changed the previously maintained name 'Muhajir' to 'Muttahida'(English: "United").[17]

Accusations of violence

In the mid-1990s, MQM created widespread political violence that affected Pakistan's southern Sindh province, particularly Karachi, the port city that is the country's commercial capital.[13] In the mid-1990s, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and others accused the MQM and a rival faction, MQM Haqiqi, of summary killings, torture, and other abuses. The MQM-A routinely denied involvement in violence.[13]

The party's use of extra-legal activities in conflicts with political opponents have earned it the accusation of terrorism.[26][27][28] The party's strongly hierarchical order and personalist leadership style led to some critics labelling the MQM as fascist.[26][29]

Jinnahpur Conspiracy

During Operation Clean-up, MQM was accused of being anti-Pakistan and of planning a separatist break-away state 'Jinnahpur'. However, later some senior army officers, Brigadier (R) Imtiaz and General (R) Naseer Akhtar, confessed that Jinnahpur was "nothing but a drama" against MQM for the military operation and there was no map of Jinnahpur.[30][31]

In Pakistan on October 19, 1992 newspapers carried an ISPR press release, conveying Army’s denial of the knowledge of the Jinnahpur plan. The ISPR, the public relations arm of the Pakistan Army stated, "The Army had no evidence concerning the so-called Jinnahpur plan, it is clarified that the newspaper story in question is baseless. The Army has neither handed over to the government any document or map as reported, nor is it in possession of any evidence concerning the so-called Jinnahpur Plan. It is also factually wrong that the matter was discussed at any meeting of the corps commander."[32] Asif Zardari who was then President of Pakistan is said to have "said in a court premises in Karachi that the Jinnahpur scandal was created to malign the MQM."[32]


In 2001, MQM boycotted the local body elections but in the 2002 general elections, MQM won 17 out of 272 seats in national assembly.[33]

In 2008 elections, MQM won 25 seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan and 52 seats in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh.[citation needed]

In 2013, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) filed a Rs 5 billion defamation suit against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan at the Sindh High Court for issuing statements against MQM chief Altaf Hussain.[34]

In June 2014, the Metropolitan Police raided the London home of its leader, Altaf Hussain, on suspicion of money-laundering. Mr Hussain has lived in the UK since 1991.[35]

Leadership among NRO beneficiaries

On 22 Nov 2009, Pakistan government released the limited list of beneficiaries of a legal act called National Reconciliation Ordinance which granted amnesty to politicians, political workers and bureaucrats who were accused of corruption, embezzlement, money-laundering, murder and terrorism between 1 January 1986 and 12 October 1999, the period during democratic governments in Pakistan. None of the MQM personalities were included on money or corruption related basis. But names of two people associated with the MQM were included in the list based on political cases. According to the list, Altaf Hussain was allegedly involved with 72 cases, including 31 murder cases and 11 on murder attempts. Farooq Sattar had allegedly 23 cases, including five on charges of murder and four on attempt to murder, including the murder of Hakim Said a leading philanthropist of Pakistan.[36]

MQM City Government of Karachi (2005–2009)

In 2008, Foreign Policy released a Global Cities Index which named Mustafa Kamal as Mayor of the Moment, along with Berlin's Klaus Wowereit, and Chongqing's Wang Hongju.[37][38]

Party structure

The party is led by Altaf Hussain under whose supervision, members of the Rabita Committee (also known as Central Coordination Committee) formulate the party's political program. It consists of 24 members from Pakistan and 10 from London, United Kingdom.[39] The party's Karachi-based organizational operations are held under its Karachi Tanzeemi Committee.

On 20 November 2011, Muttahida Qaumi Movement formally announced the formation of Central Executive Committee with its members drawn from Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa, Balochistan and Sindh. Addressing a Press Conference, Farooq Sattar, a senior MQM official, told that the purpose of Central Executive Committee is to assist MQM Coordination Committee and the party in organizational matters, policy-making and preparation of manifesto.[40] MQM has several chapters across the world in the United States, Canada, South Africa, several European countries, and Japan.[41] Currently, the heads of MQM North America are former Federal Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Ibad ur-Rehman.[citation needed]

Designated terrorist organization

In 2006, the Federal Court of Canada declared the MQM as a terrorist organization, not allowing party members to visit and stay in Canada,[42] and considered it a serious security threat to Canada. The Court said the MQM is engaged in the harassment of opponents and has used the proceeds of crime to fund the party.[43][44][45] In 2009, the US Consul General in Karachi Stephen Fakan revealed in a cable that MQM has a militant group named Good Friends having thirty five thousand members, of which ten thousand are active.[46] MQM has been getting the funds from India to continue its activities in Karachi.[47] Tariq Mir, MQM's senior member claimed the Indian funding to MQM in an interview with British police. India and MQM chief claim the allegations are false.[48] The London Met Police stated that no such documents were part of its official record.[49]

Electoral history

See also


  1. ^ a b "MQM disassociates itself from leadership in London". Pakistan Radio. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Siddiqi, Farhan Hanif (2012), The Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan: The Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajir ethnic movements, Routledge, p. 116 
  3. ^ Talbot, Ian (2002), "The Punjabization of Pakistan: Myth or Reality", Pakistan: Nationalism without a Nation?, Zed Books, p. 65 
  4. ^ a b Cohen, Stephen P. (2011), "Pakistan: Arrival and Departure", The future of Pakistan, The Brookings Institution, p. 22, The avowedly secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)... 
  5. ^ a b Lyon, Peter (2008), "Mohajir Qaumi Mahaz", Conflict between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, p. 115, Despite its ethnic-based politics, the MQM claims to be the only significant political force in Pakistan to stand up openly for secular values. 
  6. ^ "MQM should operate from Pakistan alone: Farooq Sattar". Dawn. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Pakistan: Human rights crisis in Karachi". Amnesty International. 1996-02-01. Archived from the original on 2006-11-04. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  8. ^ Web Desk (April 26, 2013). "Second MQM strike halts activity in Karachi". Express Tribune. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Mitra, Subrata Kumar; Mike Enskat; Clemens Spiess (2004). Political parties in South Asia (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 366. ISBN 0-275-96832-4. 
  10. ^ "Party Position (National Assembly)" (PDF). Election Commission of Pakistan. 24 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "UK envoy adds new dimension to Altaf controversy". The News. 16 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Pakistan MQM party quits parliament 'over crackdown'". BBC. 12 August 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f "UNHCR | Refworld | Pakistan: Information on Mohajir/Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A)". United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. 2004-02-09. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  14. ^ a b c Cohen, Stephen P. (2004). The idea of Pakisan (illustrated ed.). Brookings Institution Press. p. 382. ISBN 0-8157-1502-1. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  15. ^ Walsh, Declan; Matthew Taylor (2007-06-02). "The Karachi ruling party 'run like the mafia' from an office block in London". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  16. ^ Kronstadt, K. Alan (2008-01-24). "Pakistan's Scheduled 2008 Election: Background" (PDF). Congressional Research Service, Govt. of USA. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  17. ^ a b c d Peshimam, Gibran (2009-03-18). "25 years of MQM: a critical analysis". The News. Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  18. ^ a b Haq, Farhat (1999-11-01). "Rise of the MQM in Pakistan: Politics of Ethnic Mobilization". Asian Survey. University of California Press. 35 (11): 990–1004. doi:10.1525/as.1995.35.11.01p00677. 
  19. ^ Lyon, Peter (2008). Conflict Between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia (illustrated ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 277. ISBN 1-57607-712-8. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  20. ^ "About KKF". KKF official. 
  21. ^ "KARACHI: Families of 'missing' MQM workers still hopeful". Dawn. 22 Feb 2010. Archived from the original on 23 Apr 2010. 
  22. ^ Ahmar, Moonis (October 1996). "Ethnicity and State Power in Pakistan: The Karachi Crisis". Asian Survey. 36. University of California Press. p. 1031-1048. 
  23. ^ "Mysterious world of a movement in exile". The Independent. London. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  24. ^ Lawson, Alastair (2007-05-16). "Running Pakistan's biggest city - from London". BBC News, London. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  25. ^ Ford, Jonathan (1995-07-13). "Fighting Benazir by fax from Mill Hill". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  26. ^ a b Ghosh, Teesta (2003), "Ethnic Conflict in Sindh and its Impact on Pakistan", Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism in South and Southeast Asia: Causes, Dynamics, Solutions, Sage, p. 111 
  27. ^ Khan, Adeel (2005), Politics of Identity: Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan, Sage, p. 163 
  28. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq (1991), "The politics of ethnicity in Sindh: Changing perceptions of group identity", Asian Societies in Comparative Perspective, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 3, p. 809 
  29. ^ Das, Suranjan (2001), Kashmir and Sindh: Nation-Building, Ethnicity and Regional Politics in South Asia, Anthem Press, p. 131 
  30. ^ "Jinnah Pur map was a drama: Brigadier Imtiaz". The Nation. 24 August 2009. 
  31. ^ "Truth in allegations of Jinnahpur uncovered". Geo News. 2009-08-24. [dead link]
  32. ^ a b Abbasi, Ansar (2009-09-03). "Where PPP, PML-N and MQM stood on Jinnahpur in 1992". The News. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2009. 
  33. ^ "Detailed Position of Political Parties / Alliances In National Assembly General Elections - 2002". Election Commission of Pakistan. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  34. ^ "MQM files Rs5bn defamation suit against Imran Khan". Dawn. July 23, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Pakistan MQM leader Altaf Hussain arrested in London". Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  36. ^ "NRO list out, Govt won't defend anybody: 34 politicians among 8,000 beneficiaries". Dawn. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  37. ^ Keating, Joshua (November 12, 2008). "What FP didn't say about the mayor of Karachi". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  38. ^ "Mustafa Kamal second best mayor in the world". Dawn. 10 November 2008. 
  39. ^ "Mustafa Kamal, 3 others named in MQM Rabita Committee". [dead link]
  40. ^ "MQM announces names of newly formed CEC". Dawn. 20 Nov 2011. 
  41. ^ "MQM USA official". MQM USA. 
  42. ^ "Iftikhar Shoaq Jalil (Applicant) v. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Respondent)". February 24, 2006. Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  43. ^ "Judge orders deportation of Pakistani party chief". [dead link]
  44. ^ "MQM declared a terrorist organization by a Canadian Court". Karachi Express. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  45. ^ "Canadian federal court upholds MQM's 'terrorist character'". Daily Times. September 17, 2007. [dead link]
  46. ^ "'Armed gangs outnumber police in Karachi'". Dawn. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  47. ^ "Pakistan's MQM received Indian funding". Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  48. ^ "'Confession documents' of Tariq Mir alleging Indian funding of MQM are fake: London Police". Business Standard. 30 June 2015. 
  49. ^ "'Confession documents' of Tariq Mir alleging Indian funding of MQM are fake: London Police". Express Tribune. 30 June 2015. 
  50. ^ Irfan Ali Shaikh. "Acid test for MQM". October 04, 2002. Daily Times. [dead link]

Further reading

External links