Pakistan: Are Punjabis a small minority in Karachi and Sindh province? Treatment of Punjabis by Mohajirs and Sindhis. Information on All-Pakistan Mohajir Student Organisation (APMSO), Islamic Jamiat Talba (IJT), Jiye Sindh Student Federation (JSSF), Sindhi Medicos Association (SMA) and Punjabi Pakhtoon Ittehad (PPI)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 August 1990|
|Citation / Document Symbol||PAK6802|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Pakistan: Are Punjabis a small minority in Karachi and Sindh province? Treatment of Punjabis by Mohajirs and Sindhis. Information on All-Pakistan Mohajir Student Organisation (APMSO), Islamic Jamiat Talba (IJT), Jiye Sindh Student Federation (JSSF), Sindhi Medicos Association (SMA) and Punjabi Pakhtoon Ittehad (PPI), 1 August 1990, PAK6802, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad9214.html [accessed 20 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to the last available census (1981), 54.03 percent of Karachi population speaks Urdu (Malik, p.34). The census also states that 13.06 percent is Punjabi, 8.7 percent Pakhtoon, and 6.3 percent Sindhi, with the rest being "foreigners" (Ibid). Residential and social segregation is well-defined within greater Karachi (Kamm, p.A4). The suburb of Orangi (or Aurangi), inhabited by a majority of Punjabis, the Sohrab Goth district where Pakhtoons are predominant, and the Khawaja Ajmer Nagri (Ahmed, 19 May 1988), Nazimabad and Liaquatabad neighbourhoods, inhabited mostly by Mohajirs (Khan, 2 November 1986), are a few examples of that segregation. Sindhis are those originally from the Sindh province and remain the majority in the rural areas.
The ethnic conflict in the Sindh province involves mainly Mohajirs, Sindhis, Punjabis and Pakhtoons. A list of events in which Punjabis have been involved in the past follows:
In 1985, a bus accident involving Pakhtoons became the starting point of riots in the Sindh province between the Mohajirs on the one hand, and the Pakhtoons, the Punjabis and the Sindhis on the other (Keesing's, p.34995). The riots resulted in several deaths.
In May 1986, approximately 60 people lost their lives during inter-ethnic riots in the Orangi suburb of Karachi (Khan, 1 November 1986). After a convoy of Mohajirs was attacked by Pakhtoons in October 1986 in Sohrab Goth (North of Karachi), ethnic rioting led to the death of 48 people in Karachi and 6 in Hyderabad, as well as the arrest of more than 1,000 people in the Sindh province, according to police sources (Reuters, 6 November 1986). The Sohrab Goth incident was a turning point in the inter-ethnic armed struggle in Karachi, giving way to reprisals with the diverse groups alternatively bearing the responsibility of the attacks (Malik, p. 51).
In January 1987, the Mohajirs organized strikes after two women of their community had been raped and killed (The Globe and Mail, 13 January 1987). In July and August 1987, inter-ethnic violence in Karachi burst out again and caused numerous losses of life (The Ottawa Citizen, 22 July 1987; The Globe and Mail, 27 August 1987). A curfew was imposed in October 1987 (The Globe and Mail, 12 October 1987). In December 1987, the Mohajir Qaumi Movement won the municipal elections in most conurbations of the Sindh province, thus pushing the previously incumbent Pakhtoons and Punjabis out of power (Roy, p.116).
As early as January 1988, however, renewed riots in Karachi led to the cancellation of the celebration of electoral victory by the Mohajirs (Reuters, 5 February 1988; Le Devoir, 11 January 1988). This was due to the imposition of a curfew. In April 1988, faced with the rising level of inter-ethnic strife in the Sindh, Governor Ghouse Ali Shah gave his resignation (Ahmed, 19 May 1988). During three days of rioting in October 1988, more than 250 people from various communities (Mohajirs, Punjabis, Sindhis, etc.) died in Karachi and Hyderabad (Masurel, p.152). The bodies of three Punjabis were found on a railroad near Model Colony in Karachi (Anwar Iqbal, 5 January 1990, p.6).
Since Benazir Bhutto came to power in November 1988, inter-ethnic troubles in Karachi and elsewhere in the Sindh province have not ceased (Crossette, 28 May 1989). Relations between Punjabis and Mohajirs have reportedly shown "little signs of improvement" (Anwar Iqbal, 5 January 1990, p.6). In April 1989, the army was sent to Hyderabad, with the order to shoot on sight those who would break the curfew (Keesing's, p.37150). This was ordered after the death of 15 people. On 13 and 14 April 1989, troops were sent to a dozen cities in the Sindh province in order to contain inter-ethnic violence (Ibid).
In August 1989, young Mohajirs provoked clashes in Karachi when they threw stones at a convoy of Pakhtoons and Punjabis (Asiaweek, 1 September 1989). The government then imposed a curfew in the most agitated neighbourhoods of Karachi (Keesing's, p.37150). On 17 September 1989, a curfew was imposed on Hyderabad following inter-ethnic clashes involving the student members of the MQM and of the Jiye Sindh, or Nationalist Sindhis (Libération, 18 September 1989). Tension between the MQM and other ethnic and political groups in Karachi has risen since the dissolution, in the fall of 1989, of the governmental alliance established one year earlier between the Pakistan People Party (Bhutto's party) and the MQM (Davidson, 11 February 1990). At the beginning of October 1989, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto qualified the Sindh situation as a "mini-revolt" (Malik, p. 63). Later in that month, after a Mohajir worker was tortured to death, leaflets were distributed among the Mohajirs calling for revenge, while simultaneously leaflets were circulated among the Punjabis to urge them to strike against the Mohajirs (Anwar Iqbal, 5 January 1990, p.6). A few days later, some bodies of Punjabis were found on a railway track (Ibid).
In January 1990, inter-ethnic clashes left more than 30 dead, at least 200 wounded and 300 under arrest (The Globe and Mail, p.A8). The army patrolled Karachi in the following days in order to enforce a city-wide curfew (Gene, 8 February 1990). A bloodbath occurred in Hyderabad on 27 May 1990 (now called "Black Sunday") that claimed 180 lives, most of them caught in the crossfire between police and Mohajir militants (The Chicago Tribune, 11 June 1990, p.5). In recent months, law and order have declined sharply in the Sindh province, as people from diverse ethnic groups are being kidnapped and shot in the streets (Salamat Ali, 7 June 1990, p.22).
During the 1970s, Mohajir students (among whom Altaf Hussain, Imran Farooq and Farooq Sattar) founded the All-Pakistan Mohajir Student Federation (APMSO) in order to protect Mohajir interests against the rise of Sindhi ethnic militantism. This organization also agitated against the actions of Sindhi students regrouped in organisations such as the Jiye Sindh Students Federation (JSSF) and others more or less structured (Malik, p. 46). It is from the APMSO the Mohajir Qaumi Movement later emerged.
The Jiye Sindh movement, on the other hand, emerged from Sindhi nationalism and played on ethnic-Sindhi resentment against the constant influx of non-Sindhis into the province of Sindh (Salamat Ali, 14 June 1990, p.22). The Sindhi Nationalist Alliance (SNA), founded in May 1988 and supported by Sindhi landlords (Malik, p. 13), is composed of a number of semi-autonomous nationalistic groups: Sindhi Awami Tehreek, Sindhi Tehreek, Sindhi Hari Tehreek, Sindh Pani Tehreek, Jeeye Tehreek, Jeeye Sindh Mahaz, Sindh National Front, Communist Party, Sindh Mazdoor of Pakistan (Nazish Amrohvi Group), Qaumi Inqilabi Party, Intellectual Forum, Awami Mazdoor Federation, Sindhi Ittehad, Sindhi Shagird Tehreek, Jeeye Sindh Students, Sindh National Students Federation, Democratic Students Federation, Shehri Sindh, Sindhi Girls Students Organization, etc. (Malik, p.50). The Punjabi section of Punjabi-Pakhtoon Ittehad is led by Malik Sarwar Awan, a Punjabi settler in Karachi (Anwar Iqbal, 5 January 1990, p.6).
The only piece of information related to the "Sindh Medicos Association" indicates that students from the MQM and from the PPP (mostly composed of Sindhis) fired at each other in the Sindh Medical College in Karachi on 4 December 1989 (Anwar Iqbal, 5 January 1990, p.6). No information on the Islamic Jamiat Talba, however, is currently available to the IRBDC in Ottawa.
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