CIA         Criminal Investigation Agency

DIG         Deputy Inspector General of Police

FIR          First Information Report

KMC      Karachi Municipal Corporation

MLO       Medico-Legal Officer

MQM(A)               Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Altaf (led by Altaf Hussain)

MQM-Haqiqi        Haqiqi faction of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement

PML(N)  Pakistan Muslim League (led by Nawaz Sharif)

PPP         Pakistan People's Party (led by Benazir Bhutto)

PPP (Shaheed)      Shaheed faction of Pakistan People's Party (led by Murtaza Bhutto/Ghinwa Bhutto)


See original

Source: Pakistan: A Country Study 1984, p. xxviii.


See original

Source: King Apr. 1993, p. 108.


This paper is intended to serve as an update on human rights issues surrounding the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM)[1]1 in Karachi, Pakistan, since April 1996. It follows and is meant to be read in conjunction with the November 1996 DIRB Question and Answer series paper Pakistan: The Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Karachi January 1995-April 1996.

Political violence in Karachi dates back several years and is, as Jane's Intelligence Review sums up, "a complex phenomenon" involving not just political and ethnic tensions, but also rapid population growth, corrupt and neglectful government, and a massive influx of drugs and small arms from the Afghan war (July 1996; see also Current History Apr. 1996, 162). Karachi, Pakistan's main seaport with an estimated population of 12-15 million, is 60-65 per cent Mohajir, and contributes disproportionately to the economy and government revenues of both Sindh Province and the country as a whole (Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996; Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1038; Le Monde diplomatique Jan. 1996). However, political power in Sindh Province has traditionally rested with rural-based parties rather than with the urban-based Mohajirs, who make up about 40 per cent of the province's population (Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996; Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1038-39). In recent years, politics in Karachi has been dominated by bitter conflict between former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the MQM, a conflict that contributed to the dismissal of both Bhutto national governments, in 1990 and 1996 (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1465; Asian Survey July 1996c, 671; Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996). But tensions and incidents of violence have also been high between rival factions of the MQM: the MQM(A), which is headed by Altaf Hussain in London, UK, and the breakaway Haqiqi faction headed by Afaq Ahmed in Karachi (ibid.; Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1037; AFP 3 May 1996).

This paper proceeds chronologically, beginning with issues related to the stepped-up police action against the MQM in early 1996, and following through Benazir Bhutto's dismissal by President Farooq Ahmed Leghari in November 1996 on charges of corruption and of orchestrating extrajudicial killings in Karachi. The paper also discusses the national and provincial elections in February 1997, which saw re-emerging MQM involvement and a new influence for the party in both the Sindh and national governments.


2.1 Police Action

In the spring of 1996 Karachi police, in coordination with the paramilitary Rangers[2]2, were completing a massive crackdown on suspected MQM supporters that had been building since July 1995, when key military and police officials were replaced and security forces were reportedly given a free hand to destroy the MQM leadership using whatever means necessary (The Herald Mar. 1996a, 46a-46b, 47-48; ibid. Mar. 1996b, 25-26; Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996). In March 1996 the Karachi monthly The Herald reported a wave of fake encounter killings, often accompanied by torture, of suspected MQM activists, staged by police and Rangers and supported by Medico-Legal Officers (MLOs) and police surgeons untrained in forensic medicine and unlikely to challenge security forces' stories (Mar. 1996a, 46a-46b; ibid. Mar. 1996b, 25-27; ibid. Mar. 1996c, 32-33). According to Jane's Intelligence Review, "there can be little doubt that the government sanctioned the use of extra-judicial methods to eliminate key terrorist suspects" (July 1996). As well, The Herald reported that "many of those killed in fake encounters are people whose only crime was to be politically active and who had never been known for any kind of violent act" (Mar. 1996b, 26, 30). Others, according to The Herald, were victimized simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then later were labelled as MQM activists (ibid., 31).

Tactics used by security forces included stepped-up patrols in MQM-dominated areas, cordon-and-search operations and round-ups of able-bodied males, the use of reward money and torture to obtain information, selective tapping of phone lines and intense surveillance of suspects, and the banning of mobile phones and pagers, which had been used heavily by the MQM[3]3 (HRW Dec. 1996, 176; Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996; The Herald Mar. 1996a, 46b; ibid. Mar. 1996b, 26; UN 15 Oct. 1996, 5).

The most controversial tactic, however, was the use of targeted extrajudicial killings—a policy officially denied by security forces and government officials, but widely alleged by other sources, including President Leghari, who cited government-sponsored extrajudicial killings in Karachi as a major reason for dismissing the Bhutto government in November 1996 (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; India Abroad 15 Nov. 1996; AI Nov. 1996, 1; HRW Dec. 1996, 176; The Herald Feb. 1996). Torture was often involved: according to The Herald, most of the suspected MQM activists killed by security forces in early 1996 "were picked up, tortured to extract information and murdered in cold blood" (ibid. Mar. 1996b, 26; see also Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; HRW Dec. 1996, 176). The Herald also stated that "extreme forms of torture, with detainees being burnt with cigarettes and iron rods, beaten, cut with razors, having their flesh gouged out and their bones broken seemed to be the norm rather than the exception" (ibid., 30; see also UN 15 Oct. 1996, 5, 21).

By various accounts the security forces' campaign hit hard against the MQM leadership, forcing many of those not killed or arrested to flee the country or go underground (AFP 9 Jan. 1997; The Herald Mar. 1996a, 46b; ibid. Feb. 1997; Asian Survey July 1996c, 671; India Abroad 12 Apr. 1996; The Economist 1-7 June 1996). In June 1996 The Economist reported

The MQM is wounded. Of its 26 members of Sindh's provincial assembly, all but three are in jail or live abroad. The party leader, Altaf Hussein, is in exile in London. Thousands of party supporters are in hiding (ibid.; see also India Abroad 12 Apr. 1996).

Similarly, in April 1996 India Abroad reported that according to a submission to the UN Commission on Human Rights by the Cairo-based Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Group,

700 MQM workers are in jail in Islamabad, 50 in Rawalpindi, more than 100 in Karachi, 28 in Landhi, 287 in Khairpur, 300 in Sukkur, 200 in Jacobabad, 400 in Hyderabad and hundreds more under what is called house arrest in Islamabad (12 Apr. 1996).

In 1996 the MQM estimated that up to 5,000 of its members were in prison in Pakistan, although according to Country Reports 1996 "this number is impossible to confirm" (1997, 1469).

Allegations of corruption and misuse of power accompanied the security forces' campaign against the MQM (UN 15 Oct. 1996, 21-22; Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996; Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; AFP 18 Feb. 1996). The use of extortion against MQM suspects and their families was widely reported, and security forces were criticised for allegedly falsifying accounts of the deaths of MQM suspects in their custody (UN 15 Oct. 1996, 21-22; Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996; Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; HRW Dec. 1996, 176; The Herald Mar. 1996d, 38).

Corruption is alleged to be widespread throughout Pakistan's police forces (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1468; UN 15 Oct. 1996, 6, 26). According to Country Reports 1996, in the spring of 1996 President Leghari

alleged that police stations are sold—meaning that police officials pay bribes to the politicians and senior officials in the department in order to get posted to police stations of their choice. They then recoup their investments by extorting money from the citizenry (1997, 1468).

UN Special Rapporteur Nigel S. Rodley, who visited Pakistan from 23 February to 3 March 1996 to investigate allegations of torture in custody, reported that according to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in Karachi, between January 1995 and March 1996, 179 cases were registered against police (UN 15 Oct. 1996, 22).

In 51 cases the policemen were dismissed from the police force, 50 received `major punishments' and 40 received `minor' punishments. However, none were prosecuted for their violations. This is consistent with information the Special Rapporteur received from other sources. There appears to be a conviction on the part of police and government officials that administrative disciplinary measures such as dismissal, demotion and transfer are sufficient punishment for police and security officials who have abused their authority. Although the Government has stated its commitment to prosecute any officer found responsible for crimes such as torture, to the Special Rapporteur's knowledge none have been convicted (ibid.).

      Country Reports 1996 reported that in November 1996 the caretaker government in Sindh initiated "a wholesale housecleaning" of the Karachi police department (1997, 1467). Similarly, in March 1997 the Karachi daily Dawn reported a new initiative from the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Karachi to establish a cell at the Central Police Office where citizens could lodge complaints against corrupt officers (19 Mar. 1997a). According to police sources, "the complaint cell is manned by clean and honest officials so that the accountability of the corrupt would not be affected" (ibid.).

2.2 Reports of Calm

Numerous sources reported that a relative calm descended on Karachi in 1996 in the wake of the crackdown on the MQM (HRW Dec. 1996, 176; The Herald Mar. 1996a, 46a; The Economist 25 Jan. 1997; ibid. 1-7 June 1996; AFP 19 July 1996; UN 15 Oct. 1996, 22). Deaths due to political violence fell sharply from the previous year—approximately 400 in 1996 as compared to over 2,000 for 1995 (HRCP 1996, 50; see also Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; Reuters 26 Sept. 1996; UPI 12 Oct. 1996). In June 1996 The Economist likened Karachi to Belfast:

It is a scarred city, relieved that at last it is almost peaceful, but fearful that violence could return. People are still being shot in the street, but the Battle of Karachi ... has reached [the] exhaustion point, if not a conclusion (1-7 June 1996).

In July 1996 Agence France Presse also reported that violence was "at a low ebb" and that Karachi was experiencing the "gradual resumption of normal life and business" (19 July 1996). According to AFP,

Rusted shells of torched cars no longer dot the streets, gunfire has stopped echoing through the night and road-side vendors are again doing brisk business in the once-ravaged central and western districts of the city (ibid.).

The UN Special Rapporteur also commented that along with the reduced violence, the city's successful hosting of World Cup cricket matches in early 1996 indicated that "some semblance of law and order" had returned to Karachi (UN 15 Oct. 1996, 22).

However, MQM-led strikes, usually to protest killings of MQM members by security forces but also to protest other issues,[4]4 frequently disrupted life in the city (Asian Survey July 1996c, 672; Reuters 26 Sept. 1996; ibid. 14 Sept. 1996; ibid. 18 Apr. 1996; DPA 8 Sept. 1996; AFP 12 May 1996; ibid. 3 Apr. 1996; ibid. 14 Mar. 1996). In a July 1996 Asian Survey article, Saeed Shafqat reported that

whenever Altaf Hussain, the MQM leader, issues a strike call the response is overwhelming and the city of Karachi and other urban centers of Sindh come to a grinding halt. These strikes have a crippling effect on the social, cultural, and commercial life in Karachi and on the economy of the country (July 1996c, 671-72).

As well, the MQM(A) and MQM-Haqiqi rivalry continued to spark violence (AFP 3 May 1996; The Herald [Glasgow] 4 Feb. 1997; Reuters 4 Feb. 1997; ibid. 26 Jan. 1997; AFP 3 Feb. 1997; ibid. 2 Feb. 1997). The Haqiqi, or "real" MQM, split off from the main group in 1991 in opposition to the leadership of Altaf Hussain (Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996; Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1037).[5]5 According to Jane's Intelligence Review, the MQM-Haqiqi were originally covertly backed by the military in an attempt to undermine the MQM (ibid.). Thus the MQM(A) still frequently refers to the MQM-Haqiqi group as "state-sponsored terrorists" (MQM News 29 Sept. 1996; The News 7 Apr. 1997). However, the Haqiqi group itself reported a crackdown on its supporters by security forces in 1996 (Dawn 15 July 1996; Reuters 20 Sept. 1996). In July, for example, police clashed with MQM-Haqiqi supporters in the Central district of Karachi and shut down preparations for a public meeting for which they claimed the MQM-Haqiqi had not received proper authority (Dawn 15 July 1996). As well, in September 1996 police killed Haqiqi activist Mohammad Habib in a raid on his home in Orangi Town in what the Haqiqi leadership claimed was a false encounter (Reuters 20 Sept. 1996).

For its part, the MQM(A) reported that several of its members were killed by Haqiqi activists in 1996, and there were numerous reports of election violence between MQM(A) and Haqiqi groups in early 1997[6]6 (MQM News 29 Sept. 1996; The Herald [Glasgow] 4 Feb. 1997; Reuters 4 Feb. 1997; ibid. 26 Jan. 1997; AFP 3 Feb. 1997; ibid. 2 Feb. 1997; The Herald Feb. 1997, 50).

A number of sources commented that despite the relative calm in 1996, peace could not be counted on in Karachi until fundamental problems had been addressed on a political level (Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1041; DWS 20 Mar. 1997b; AFP 19 July 1996; The Economist 25 Jan. 1997; The News 18 Aug. 1996). Long-standing Mohajir grievances include not only the violence associated with the past few years, but also discrimination in filling quota-driven public employment and educational positions, and being left out of political power in a system dominated by rural-based Sindhis in Karachi and Sindh, and Punjabis on the federal level (Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1036; Asia Times 22 Jan. 1997; India Abroad 12 Apr. 1996). President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir Bhutto, introduced the quota system for government jobs (Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1039-40). Asia Times reports that traditionally Mohajirs have been limited to only 7 per cent of federal government employment, and that Karachi, despite providing more than 70 per cent of the country's revenues, receives only 5 per cent of funding for development (22 Jan. 1997).

Compounding the sense of injustice has been the ongoing reluctance of subsequent governments to hold a national census—since the last one was held in 1981, for example, the population of Karachi has ballooned to an estimated 12-15 million, but for official purposes remains set at 6.4 million (India Abroad 12 Apr. 1996; Current History Apr. 1996, 161; Asiaweek 22 Nov. 1996). As Ahmed Rashid reported in Current History in April 1996,

a census would lead to a new demarcation of constituencies for seats in the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies, drastically reducing the rural seats now held by feudal politicians and allowing the nascent urban middle class a better chance to enter politics. Both major political parties [the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League] have therefore stalled on carrying out a count (Apr. 1996, 162).

In March 1997, however, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's new federal government announced plans to hold a new census (DWS 20 Mar. 1997a).

2.3 Prison Conditions/Corruption

Beginning in July 1996 a number of reports from the Pakistani media focused on alarming conditions in prisons in Sindh Province and in the country as a whole, exposing widespread use of bar fetters, torture, extortion of prisoners and family members, and deep-rooted corruption among officials (AI Oct. 1996, 1-4; The Herald Sept. 1996a; ibid. Sept. 1996b; ibid. Sept. 1996c; ibid. Sept. 1996d; Country Reports 1996 1997, 1467; UN 15 Oct. 1996 13-17, 23-26; HRCP 1996, 57-64). The initial reaction of authorities was to press charges against journalist M.H. Khan for his part in an exposé on the workings of the Hyderabad Central Jail (AI Oct. 1996, 1-4; UN 15 Oct. 1996, 17; Country Reports 1996 1997, 1467). Khan was granted bail, and by the end of 1996 the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had taken up his case, with hearings still pending (ibid.). As well, the superintendent of Hyderabad Central Jail, Major Ghulam Hussain Khoso, was suspended and charged with corruption, and the Sindh provincial ombudsman Justice (retired) Salahuddin Mirza conducted an investigation into conditions at the jail (AI Oct. 1996, 1-4; The Herald Sept. 1996b; Country Reports 1996 1997, 1467). According to The Herald, Justice Mirza's 10-hour visit in August 1996 "confirmed the extensive use of fetters, torture and extortion" (Sept. 1996b). For example,

among the inmates who had clearly been tortured was former MQM member of the National Assembly, Anees Qaimkhani from Mirpurkhas. His buttocks were blackened from constant whipping. Another prisoner, Mohammed Ali's lips had been sewn shut with an ordinary needle and thread by jail officials in sheer anger over his refusal to break his hunger strike. The floor of the ward was stained with blood (ibid.).

In the Karachi Central Jail, the UN Special Rapporteur collected testimony from several prisoners:

The ill-treatment described included beatings, burning with cigarettes, whippings with rubber or leather straps, sexual assault, being hung upside down for prolonged periods, electric shocks, deprivation of sleep, mock executions, the use of fetters, blindfolding for periods of up to 16 days and public humiliation. Although many of these prisoners claimed that the police, Rangers and prison officials had used force to elicit confessions and to compel detainees to incriminate others, some indicated that the force was used to extort money or merely to humiliate individuals (UN 15 Oct. 1996, 13).

      The Herald reported that in Pakistan prisoners are routinely forced to pay bribes to avoid fetters, solitary confinement and beatings, or to buy "privileges" such as a comfortable room, drugs, the right to receive mail and visitors, or even to attend court hearings (Sept. 1996d; ibid. Sept. 1996a; ibid. Sept. 1996b). As well, reports indicated that prisoners who have been tortured have little chance of receiving medical treatment (ibid. Sept. 1996d; UN 15 Oct. 1996, 13). A mid-1996 report by the Democratic Commission for Human Development indicated that it is a common perception throughout Pakistan that torture under police custody is endemic, as is the act of detaining a relative of a suspect in order to get the suspect to surrender (1996, 13-14).

The UN Special Rapporteur reported that corruption within Pakistani prisons is "facilitated by the failure of the judiciary to ... monitor them regularly" (15 Oct. 1996, 25). However, the Special Rapporteur found it even "more disturbing" that "in the few cases where judicial magistrates or High Court judges take action to improve the treatment of prisoners, their orders are routinely ignored by the authorities" (ibid., 23).

As well, the UN Special Rapporteur reports that the corruption found within Pakistani prisons is reflected in other areas of the legal and law enforcement system:

Provincial powers of appointment, promotion and deployment of police and prison personnel are not subject to institutional systems designed to promote competence, integrity, efficiency and adherence to the rule of law. It is generally understood that corruption is rife. Many of the notoriously underpaid and ill-trained personnel are generally thought to make ends meet by extorting money from those over whom they have power. It is commonly asserted that the jobs of such personnel, ranging from police recruits to station house officers, from prison guards to jail superintendents, can be bought, with the return on investment coming from the opportunities provided by unlawful enrichment (15 Oct. 1996, 22).

In September 1996 the MQM shut down Karachi with a strike protesting an apparent case of the Sindh government using corruption within the prison system for its own political gain (Reuters 14 Sept. 1996). Feroza Begum, an MQM deputy in the provincial assembly, testified that she had been forced to cross the floor to the ruling PPP government in order to keep her son, Osama Qadri, also formerly a deputy of the provincial assembly, from being tortured and killed in prison (ibid.; AFP 24 Oct. 1996). According to a 13 September 1996 editorial in The Muslim reprinted by the MQM, the "barbaric practice" of extrajudicial killings in police custody

has worked as the most effective threat to a degree where even a non-political family is willing to pay whatever price is asked by the local policemen for releasing their youth who are picked up in a general sweep or a search operation.

2.4 Police Killing of Murtaza Bhutto/Dismissal of Benazir Bhutto

On 20 September 1996, in a case that would eventually bring down the government, Karachi police shot and killed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's estranged brother and political rival, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, and seven of his bodyguards outside his Karachi residence (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; The Herald Oct. 1996b, 24; The News 24 Feb. 1997; HRCP 1996, 50-51). Police claimed the men were killed in an encounter that began when officers attempted to arrest the bodyguards for terrorist acts and possession of unregistered weapons (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; The Herald Oct. 1996b, 24; AFP 19 Dec. 1996). Murtaza Bhutto had headed a PPP faction called Shaheed ("martyr") Bhutto that was opposed to his sister's governing PPP and at times allied with the MQM in Karachi (The Herald Oct. 1996c, 26; Reuters 26 Sept. 1996; Dawn 28 Jan. 1997). On 17 September police and Rangers had arrested Murtaza's second-in-command, Ali Mohammed Soonara, who was suspected of being behind numerous terrorist attacks in Karachi (The Herald Oct. 1996c, 26; ibid. Oct. 1996b, 24; HRCP 1996, 50-51). According to The Herald, just hours after the arrest Murtaza Bhutto, anticipating that police would torture Soonara to obtain information and then kill him, led his bodyguards in a raid on two Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA) centres in a failed attempt to free Soonara (ibid. Oct. 1996c, 26; ibid. Oct. 1996b, 24). Police then registered cases against Murtaza and his bodyguards, which led to the 20 September confrontation (HRCP 1996, 51; The Herald Oct. 1996c, 26; ibid. Oct. 1996b, 24).

According to The Herald, Murtaza Bhutto had been travelling in an armed motorcade that police intercepted outside his residence (Oct. 1996b, 25-28). The Herald report indicates that a single shot appears to have set off a volley of shots from police; police claim there was a prolonged shoot-out, but according to witnesses there was little return fire from Murtaza's guards (ibid.).

Writing in The Herald in October 1996, Hasan Zaidi argued that the case highlighted a profound loss of faith among Pakistanis: "the lack of trust among the public in the organs of the state and the eroding credibility of institutions is emblematic of a much bigger problem" (Oct. 1996a, 40). Zaidi argued that if the state had been functioning properly, Murtaza's death would have launched widespread reforms:

The entire structure and operating procedures of the law enforcement agencies would have come in for review and transformation, making both more accountable to the public, as would have the laxity of laws which allowed Murtaza to move with impunity within the city in a convoy of guards armed to the hilt with deadly weapons. Such a reform movement would have also questioned why certain pockets within the administration were outside the normal chain of command and answerable only to their direct political and military patrons, as is the case with an elite group of police officers in Karachi (ibid., 40-41).

In fact the case has had wide-reaching ramifications: in early November 1996 President Leghari dismissed the PPP government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, citing among other issues thousands of extrajudicial killings in Karachi, widespread corruption and a "sustained assault" on the judiciary (AI Nov. 1996, 1; Dialogue Dec. 1996, 4; Country Reports 1996 1997, 1472; India Abroad 15 Nov. 1996; AFP 12 Feb. 1997). In early January 1997 Asif Ali Zardari, husband of Benazir Bhutto, stood charged with Murtaza Bhutto's murder, along with former interior minister Nasirullah Babar, former Sindh chief minister Syed Abdullah Shah and several police officials, on the evidence of 52 witnesses, including Murtaza's widow Ghinwa Bhutto (ibid. 19 Dec. 1996; The News 3 Jan. 1997). According to The News from Islamabad,

The charge-sheet accused Asif Ali Zardari of hatching a conspiracy in connivance with Abdullah Shah, DIG [Deputy Inspector General] Karachi, Dr. Shoaib Suddle and Intelligence Bureau chief Masood Sharif to eliminate Murtaza Bhutto from the political scene. The charge-sheet said that they considered Murtaza Bhutto as a threat to the PPP (ibid.)

For her part Benazir Bhutto has charged that "there is a nexus between my brother's death and the president," testifying before the three-person tribunal investigating the killing that President Leghari was involved in a conspiracy to bring down her government through Murtaza's death (AFP 12 Nov. 1996; ibid. 19 Dec. 1996; The News 24 Feb. 1997). Mysteries and conspiracy theories surround the case: for example, a key witness, police officer Haq Nawaz, was murdered, there were delays in registering First Information Reports (FIRs), and a mysterious fax allegedly from Military Intelligence reportedly links Benazir Bhutto and her brother to planned terrorist attacks just before Murtaza's death (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1466; The Herald Oct. 1996a, 40-41; Dawn 17 Feb. 1997).

In April 1997 the trial of Asif Ali Zardari continued, but the political map of the country had changed: the dismissal of the Bhutto government and the calling of national and provincial elections allowed the MQM(A) to re-emerge from hiding and campaign openly for the first time in several years (The News 9 Apr. 1997; The Economist 25 Jan. 1997; AFP 9 Jan. 1997; DPA 29 Jan. 1997; The News 5 Mar. 1997).

2.5 National and Provincial Elections

In the 3 February 1997 national and provincial elections[7]7, the MQM(A) emerged as a powerful ally of the victorious Pakistan Muslim League (PML(N)) of Nawaz Sharif (AFP 13 Feb. 1997; AP 5 Feb. 1997; PTV Television Network 24 Feb. 1997; The News 20 Feb. 1997). Nationally, the MQM(A) won 12 seats, as compared to 134 for the PML(N) and 18 for the PPP, while in Sindh Province the MQM(A) won 28, with 35 for the PPP and 12 for PML(N) (The Herald Mar. 1997a, 48b; AP 5 Feb. 1997; AFP 13 Feb. 1997).

Immediately after the election both the PPP and MQM(A) claimed that the results had been marred by fraud, but international observers declared them largely free and fair[8]8 (The Washington Post 5 Feb. 1997; AP 5 Feb. 1997; The Herald [Glasgow] 4 Feb. 1997; AFP 12 Feb. 1997). The report of the European Union (EU) observer mission mentioned some problems, especially with the registration of women in tribal areas, and with sporadic violence in Karachi (AP 5 Feb. 1997). Reports indicate that in Karachi MQM(A) and Haqiqi members clashed throughout the election campaign, and that members of each side faced violence when trying to campaign in areas dominated by the other (The Herald [Glasgow] 4 Feb. 1997; AFP 3 Feb. 1997; ibid. 2 Feb. 1997; Reuters 26 Jan. 1997; The Herald Feb. 1997, 50). On election day, for example, the MQM(A) claimed that two of its members were killed and several others abducted by Haqiqi rivals, while a few days earlier two MQM-Haqiqi members were shot and wounded, reportedly by MQM(A) workers (AP 5 Feb. 1997; The Herald [Glasgow] 4 Feb. 1997; AFP 3 Feb. 1997; ibid. 2 Feb. 1997). As well, early in the campaign the MQM(A) charged that police had destroyed an MQM election office and brutally broken up a prayer meeting of MQM women (India Abroad 17 Jan. 1997).

Several reports indicate, however, that in general the MQM(A) was able to campaign openly, with large telephone rallies featuring Altaf Hussain speaking from London, and the re-emergence of many party workers who had previously been in hiding (DPA 29 Jan. 1997; Asia Times 22 Jan. 1997; The Herald Feb. 1997, 50). For example, Asia Times reported a peaceful midnight telephone rally in Karachi that featured 20,000 MQM supporters chanting for Altaf Hussain (22 Jan. 1997). As well, a number of key MQM leaders were released from prison on parole to contest the elections, including Farooq Sattar, the former mayor of Karachi, and MQM senators Nasreen Jalil and Aftab Sheikh (AFP 20 Jan. 1997).

In February 1997, as a result of the MQM(A)'s strong showing in the elections, the PML(N) and MQM(A) reached a power-sharing deal on both the federal and provincial levels. According to press accounts, the MQM was promised the positions of Sindh governor and speaker of the Sindh assembly, equal sharing of Sindh cabinet portfolios, and either one or three federal cabinet positions. The accord also reportedly contains commitments to appoint a judicial commission to probe into extrajudicial killings in Karachi, to provide compensation for victims of extrajudicial killings and political violence[9]9, to possibly withdraw the Rangers from the city, to release MQM detainees and withdraw cases against them, to increase the federal service employment quota for urban Sindh from 7.5 to 11.5 per cent, and to review and reinstate all those dismissed from service for political reasons by the previous government (The Herald Mar. 1997b, 42; The News 20 Feb. 1997; ibid. 11 Mar. 1997; Radio Pakistan Network 20 Feb. 1997; Pakistan Observer 13 Mar. 1997).

As a result of the power-sharing agreement, Liaqat Ali Khan Jatoi of the PML(N) became the new Sindh chief minister, while Nawaz Mirza Ahmad of the MQM became the speaker of the Sindh Assembly (The News 20 Feb. 1997; PTV Television Network 24 Feb. 1997; Radio Pakistan Network 20 Feb. 1997). However, the post of Sindh governor did not go to an MQM candidate as agreed but to LGen (retd) Moinuddin Haider, as Prime Minister Sharif reportedly was unable to convince President Leghari to accept an MQM governor (The Muslim 18 Mar. 1997; Dawn 3 Apr. 1997). The Nation describes Haider as "originally a PPP appointee [who] tried to cling to office by switching loyalties after the dismissal of Benazir Bhutto's government" (13 Mar. 1997). A Dawn report stated that the MQM was unhappy with the turn of events and that the issue would arise again (3 Apr. 1997). However, in an early speech the governor-elect called exiled MQM leader Altaf Hussain "patriotic" and invited him to return to Pakistan to fulfil a political role as leader of the party (The Nation 17 Mar. 1997).

In March 1997 charges of inciting to riot in a 1994 case against Altaf Hussain and several other prominent MQM members were dismissed by a judge in South Karachi for lack of evidence (The News 5 Mar. 1997). However, several murder charges against Hussain are still outstanding (The News 22 May 1997; The Nation 16 Apr. 1997), and in April 1997 Hussain reiterated that he felt it would be dangerous for him to return to Pakistan[10]10 (DWS 18 Apr. 1997). The News reported on 22 May 1997 that the MQM was insisting on withdrawal of 40 outstanding cases against Hussain, ranging from murder to rioting and kidnapping, on grounds that the police as main witnesses could not be trusted; however, The News also reported that the government seemed "indecisive" on how or whether to proceed.

An editorial in The Nation commented that the alliance in Sindh would only last as long as "the MQM(A), despite having more seats than the PML(N), accepts a secondary role," and explained that neither the PML(N) nor the PPP could have afforded to give the chief ministership to the MQM for fear of "[widening] the Sindh-Muhajir divide" (17 Feb. 1997). Another editorial commented that rural Sindh is still most deeply represented by the PPP, and that true peace in the province would require an unlikely reconciliation between the PPP and MQM: "An improvised legislative majority is not a solution. It is a key that can unlock the door to the repetition of an unhappy past on which the country must turn its back" (DWS 15 Feb. 1997a). However, an editorial in The Muslim argues that the MQM, by compromising on its demand for the position of governor, has re-entered the "mainstream of the country's political life," and points out that the Sindh chief minister and the MQM have similar priorities: "maintenance of law and order, creating harmony between the residents of Sindh rural and urban, improving health and education facilities and according high place to merit" (18 Mar. 1997; see also Dawn 15 Mar. 1997).

In a 13 March 1997 editorial that focused on two main points of agreement between the PML(N) and MQM(A) in Sindh, the Pakistan Observer welcomed the planned judicial probe into extrajudicial killings in Karachi but cautioned against a hasty withdrawal of the Rangers. It warned that "rival political factions in Karachi and other urban areas of Sindh province, are still dangerously poised against each other and justice demands none of the factions should be allowed to crush the other with the help of the state authority" (Pakistan Observer 13 Mar. 1997). On 25 May 1997 Dawn reported that the federal government had decided to keep the Rangers in Karachi to maintain law and order. According to the report, the MQM has strongly protested the presence of Rangers in Karachi schools, where, according to the MQM, they have been harassing students (ibid.).

For its part, the PPP (Shaheed Bhutto) has called the PML(N)-MQM(A) agreement "anti-Sindh," has criticized the anticipated committee to review compensation claims for victims of extrajudicial killings, which it feels will be dominated by the MQM, and protested any changes in the federal job quota without a proper national census (The News 11 Mar. 1997). In mid-April 1997 the Supreme Court ruled the quota system for government jobs invalid because the 20-year period specified for the program had lapsed in September 1993 (DWS 17 Apr. 1997).

On 7 April 1997 MQM leader Altaf Hussain voiced strong frustrations with the political situation. In a telephone speech from London to party leaders in Karachi, he complained that the PML(N)-MQM(A) accord was not being followed, that no progress had been made on assembling the committee to review extrajudicial killings and no compensation money had been paid to families of victims, that MQM ministers were being ignored in cabinet, and that the state was providing protection to Haqiqi "terrorists" who he claimed were still killing MQM(A) members (The News 7 Apr. 1997). Hussain also reportedly warned members to be prepared for another "operation" against the MQM(A), and said that despite MQM(A) cooperation on all major issues, the PML(N) government was ignoring Mohajir grievances by not implementing the provisions of the PML(N)-MQM(A) accord quickly enough (ibid.). Sindh chief minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi subsequently flew to London with two prominent MQM leaders, Dr. Farooq Sattar and Shoaib Bokhari, to meet with Altaf Hussain (ibid. 13 Apr. 1997). On 14 April 1997 Jatoi announced that the accord would be fully implemented, that compensation would be paid to families of victims, that all "fabricated cases" against MQM workers would be withdrawn, and that those who were dismissed by the previous government would be reinstated (Radio Pakistan Network 14 Apr. 1997). Altaf Hussain reportedly "extended wholehearted cooperation to the Sindh government in promoting the well-being of the people of the province," and stated that many MQM(A) demands had already been accepted by the PML(N) government (ibid.). On 21 May 1997 The Frontier Post reported that over 250 MQM(A) leaders and activists, who had been in jail since the early 1990s, were released on bail as part of the accord. Also, a 30 April 1997 report from The News indicated that a judicial commission to "decide payment of compensation and rehabilitation of the Karachi operation victims" was being struck, and that a four-member committee would be regularly reviewing the progress of implementation of the accord.

All has not, however, been peaceful. The MQM(A) has reported murders and other crimes against MQM(A) supporters, which, according to MQM(A) leaders, were committed in an attempt to destabilize the government in Sindh (Dawn 24 May 1997; ibid. 16 May 1997). Other sources accuse the MQM(A) of participating in violence; in mid-April 1997, for example, two MQM-Haqiqi members were killed in Karachi, allegedly by members of the MQM(A) (Dawn 14 Apr. 1997; ibid. 13 Apr. 1997). According to MQM-Haqiqi sources, Mehmood Khan was killed on 12 April 1997 by several MQM(A) gunmen, and then on 13 April 1997 a bomb exploded outside Khan's residence, killing another Haqiqi member, Syed Iqbal, and wounding two others (ibid. 14 Apr. 1997). In late April and early May 1997 The Nation reported that under MQM(A) pressure the Sindh government had launched a police operation against the Haqiqi faction, picking up over 500 Haqiqi activists from seven Haqiqi-dominated areas in Karachi: Landhi, Korangi, Malir, Shah Faisal Colony, Lines Area, Liaquatabad and Orangi Town (3 May 1997; ibid. 22 Apr. 1997). On 23 April 1997 MQM(A) member Qazi Khlaid Ali publicly complained that he was unable to visit certain parts of his constituency in Landhi without being shot at by Haqiqi members (Dawn 23 Apr. 1997; see also DWS 23 May 1997). However, Rashed Rahman of The Nation had a different interpretation:

...the law and order situation in Sindh generally, and in Karachi particularly, has been characterised as `beyond the control of the Sindh administration'. What this means in plain language is that the MQM and elements either directly under its control or claiming its umbrella are back to their old tricks of collecting bhatta (i.e. extortion), and/or criminal elements are taking advantage of the climate in Karachi to indulge in a free for all (22 Apr. 1997).


Many sources have commented that Pakistan in 1996 was a country at the crossroads, facing the possibility of spiralling into chaos if the government was unable to deal with a host of problems, including endemic corruption, an overwhelming national debt, a paralysing sense of public cynicism and paranoia, regional, ethnic and religious tensions, and lingering political violence in Karachi, the country's economic powerhouse (The Economist 8 Feb. 1997; Dialogue Dec. 1996, 4; Asian Survey July 1996a, 690; ibid. July 1996b, 648-49; ibid. July 1996c, 672; Current History Apr. 1996, 159; The Herald Oct. 1996a, 40-41). According to The Economist, the collapse of the Bhutto government, the third consecutive government dismissed for corruption and mismanagement in the 1990s, left a sense of "popular despair ... [stemming] from a widespread belief that the country's politicians are irredeemably corrupt," a despair that could only be lifted with "a spell of clean government ... to restore public faith in democracy" (8 Feb. 1997).

Only about a third of eligible Pakistanis voted in the February 1997 federal and provincial elections, yet the resounding victory of Nawaz Sharif and the fledgling government's efforts to restore the public faith appear to have opened a door to constructive debate about approaches to solving the country's many problems (The Economist 8 Feb. 1997; The Muslim 18 Mar. 1997; Pakistan Observer 13 Mar. 1997; DWS 20 Mar. 1997b). In April 1997 the government, with unanimous all-party support in both the National Assembly and Senate, passed a constitutional amendment taking away the power of the appointed president and governors to dissolve elected federal and provincial governments, and restoring "the prime minister's mandatory advice in the appointment of armed services chiefs and governors" (ibid. 2 Apr. 1997). The statement of objects and reasons in the new Thirteenth Amendment explains that the changes are meant to "strengthen parliamentary democracy" (ibid.). The scrapped Eighth Amendment had been instituted by military dictator General Ziaul Haq in 1985, and had been used by three presidents to "pack up four assemblies in eight years" (ibid. 5 Apr. 1997).

In another effort to restore public confidence, in March 1997 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched an anti-corruption campaign, instructing federal and provincial governments to compile lists of officials against whom charges of corruption have been brought, or who seem to be "living beyond their means or have a general reputation of being dishonest and corrupt" (Dawn 19 Mar. 1997b). However, efforts to root out corruption have met institutional resistance, and by all accounts the extent of corruption is enormous[11]11 (DWS 25 Mar. 1997; ibid. 24 Mar. 1997; ibid. 3 Apr. 1997; The Economist 8 Feb. 1997; The Banker Dec. 1996). Yet as Omar Kureishi writes in a Dawn editorial on corruption and the many other problems facing the nation,

We are observing our Golden Anniversary this year. It should be an occasion of pride in ourselves. Despite all the forebodings and confident predictions that we would collapse, Pakistan is still there and on the map. We have had our share of difficulties and gone from one crisis to another but we have bungled through. As I have written before, the leadership may have failed but the people have not. The people, on the contrary have faced every manner of adversity bravely. The Golden Anniversary can be seen as a triumph of the people over the leadership (DWS 24 Mar. 1997).


Various Pakistani press sources, including Dawn Wire Service (DWS), Dawn, The Herald, The Nation, The News, Pakistan Observer, Radio Pakistan Network and PTV Television Network.

This paper extensively cites various Pakistani press sources, many of them available through the Internet either directly or through the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) operated by World News Connection (WNC). Some human rights groups have reported restrictions on freedom of the press in Pakistan, including increased government restrictions on reporting on ethnic and sectarian violence in urban areas such as Karachi during 1996 (AI Oct. 1996, 6; DWS 16 Mar. 1997). In general, however, the Pakistani English-language press is considered free and lively, and a valuable source of commentary and information on political and social issues in Pakistan (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1472; The World's News Media 1991, 382). However, most broadcasting is controlled by the government in Pakistan, and sources warn that radio and television news broadcasts are strictly controlled (Country Reports 1996 1997, 1472; The World's News Media 1991, 382). The Herald, an independent monthly, often produces series of articles that centre on issues of interest, and a number of these series have featured prominently in this paper, including The Herald's work on the security forces' crackdown on the MQM, the state of Sindh's prisons, the murder of Murtaza Bhutto, and the national and provincial elections.

Jane's Intelligence Review [Surrey, UK]. July 1996. Anthony Davis. "Karachi: Pakistan's Political Time-Bomb."

This lengthy report gives a detailed yet clear account of the many forces colliding in Karachi up to July 1996, with background on the security forces' operations against the MQM and on MQM tactics and organization. Davis' contention that despite the crackdown the MQM was not a spent force and remained politically strong turned out to be remarkably prescient.

United Nations. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights. 15 October 1996. (E/CN.4/1997/7/Add.2). Question of the Human Rights of All Persons Subjected to Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, in Particular: Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Nigel S. Rodley, Submitted Pursuant to Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1995/37. Addendum: Visit by the Special Rapporteur to Pakistan.

The Special Rapporteur visited Pakistan from 23 February to 3 March 1996, and met with a wide variety of government, police and legal authorities, as well as representatives from human rights and opposition groups, including the MQM in Karachi. As well, the Special Rapporteur visited a number of jails and detention centres, and supplemented his report with press accounts received before publication in October 1996. The report gives many details specific to the time and subject of the visit, but also contains wider commentary on the nature of the various problems facing Pakistan.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 13 February 1997. "Political Bargaining Under Way in Southern Pakistani Province." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 12 February 1997. "Bhutto Wants Pakistan's New Prime Minister to Complete His Term." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 3 February 1997. "Karachi Party Blames Security Agencies for Death of Polling Agent." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 2 February 1997. "Two Seriously Wounded in Karachi Clash on Eve of Pakistan Polls." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 20 January 1997. "Jailed Leaders Freed on Parole Ahead of Pakistan Polls." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 9 January 1997. "Pakistani Ethnic Grouping Launches Election Campaign in Karachi." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 21 Jan. 1997, Vol. 13, No. 2)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 19 December 1996. Owais Tohid. "Pakistan: Benazir's Husband Arrested in Murder Conspiracy Case." (FBIS-NES-96-246 19 Dec. 1996 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc. fedworld.gov))

Agence France Presse (AFP). 12 November 1996. "Pakistan: Bhutto Accuses Leghari of Involvement in Brother's Murder." (FBIS-NES-96-220 12 Nov. 1996 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

Agence France Presse (AFP). 24 October 1996. "Pakistan Opposition Defector Tells Court She Was Coerced." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 19 July 1996. Quatrina Hosain. "Karachi Edges Away from Brink of Destruction." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 12 May 1996. "Nouvelle grève à Karachi pour protester contre la mort de cinq militants." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 21 May 1996, Vol. 11, No. 19)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 3 May 1996. "Four Killed in Karachi Violence." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 3 April 1996. "Karachi Partially Paralysed on Strike Day." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 16 Apr. 1996, Vol. 11, No. 14)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 14 March 1996. "Karachi Partially Paralysed by Opposition Group Strike." (NEXIS)

Agence France Presse (AFP). 18 February 1996. Quatrina Hosain. "Sprawling Karachi Slum a Hot-Bed of Political Violence." (NEXIS)

Amnesty International (AI). November 1996. Pakistan: Appeal to the Caretaker Government. (AI Index: ASA 33/17/96) London: Amnesty International.

Amnesty International (AI). October 1996. Pakistan: Journalists Harassed for Exposing Abuses. (AI Index: ASA 33/11/96) London: Amnesty International.

Asian Survey[Berkeley, Calif.]. October 1996. Vol. 36, No. 10. Moonis Ahmar. "Ethnicity and State Power in Pakistan: The Karachi Crisis."

Asian Survey[Berkeley, Calif. July 1996a. Vol. 36, No. 7. Iftikhar H. Malik. "The State and Civil Society in Pakistan: From Crisis to Crisis."

Asian Survey[Berkeley, Calif. July 1996b. Vol. 36, No. 7. Marvin G. Weinbaum. "Civic Culture and Democracy in Pakistan."

Asian Survey[Berkeley, Calif. July 1996c. Vol. 36, No. 7. Saeed Shafqat. "Pakistan Under Benazir Bhutto."

Asia Times[Los Gatos, Calif.]. 22 January 1997. Kamal Siddiqi. "Pakistan's MQM Rolls Out the Party Machine." (NEXIS)

Asiaweek[Hong Kong]. 22 November 1996. "Pakistan vs. Corruption: Bhutto's Ouster Highlights an Urgent Need for Reform." (NEXIS)

The Associated Press (AP). 5 February 1997. Gretchen Peters. "EU Poll Observers Say Pakistan Elections Generally Fair." (NEXIS)

The Banker[London]. December 1996. "Corruption: Impressions that Count." (NEXIS)

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996. 1997. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Current History[Philadelphia]. April 1996. Ahmed Rashid. "Pakistan: Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind."

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 25 May 1997. "Pakistan: Government Decides to Keep Rangers in Karachi." (FBIS-NES-97-145 25 May 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 24 May 1997. "Pakistan: MQM Accuses `Secret Forces' of Sabotaging Sindh Government." (FBIS-NES-97-145 25 May 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 16 May 1997. "Pakistan: `Conspiracy' Said Seeking to Destabilize Government." (FBIS-NES-97-136 16 May 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 23 April 1997. "Pakistan: MQM Leader Accuses Sharif's Party of Not Honouring Vows." (FBIS-NES-97-113 23 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 14 April 1997. "Pakistan: Foreign-Made Bomb Blamed for Death of MQM-Haqiqi Man." (FBIS-TOT-97-104 14 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 13 April 1997. "MQM(H) Leader Shot Dead in Landhi." [Internet] (URL: http://xiber. com/dawn).

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 3 April 1997. "Pakistan: Factors Behind Repeal of Eighth Amendment Sections Reported." (FBIS-NES-97-093 3 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 19 March 1997a. "Complaint Cell Against Police Reactivated." [Internet] (URL: http://xiber.com/dawn).

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 19 March 1997b. "PM Asks Centre, Provinces to Identify Rogue Officials." [Internet]

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 15 March 1997. "Sixteen-Member Sindh Cabinet Takes Oath 13 Mar." (FBIS-NES-97-074 15 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 17 February 1997. H.A. Hamied. "Pakistan: `Mysterious' Fax Ties Bhutto to Terrorism." (FBIS-NES-97-033 17 Feb. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 28 January 1997. "Pakistan: MQM, PPP-SB Reach `Electoral Adjustment,' Create `Alliance'." (FBIS-NES-97-019 28 Jan. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

Dawn[Karachi, in English]. 15 July 1996. "Removal of MQM(H) Camp Leads to Violence." [Internet] (URL: http://xiber.com/dawn).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 23 May 1997. "Order Be Withdrawn, Demands MQM." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 18 April 1997. M. Ziauddin. "Altaf Wants Early Compensation for Victims." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 17 April 1997. "Appointments No More to be Made on Quota Basis: SC." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 5 April 1997. "President Signs Bill Clipping His Powers." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 3 April 1997. Sultan Ahmed. "Corruption Is the Core Issue." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 2 April 1997. "President's Powers Clipped." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 25 March 1997. Masood Haider. "Ehtesab Chief Says FIA, Police Not Cooperating." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 24 March 1997. Omar Kureishi. "It Takes Two to Tango." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 20 March 1997a. "Cabinet Decides to Hold Census." [Internet] (URL: Dawn@MIT. edu).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 20 March 1997b. Sultan Ahmed. "Preparing Karachi for 2001." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 16 March 1997. "Violations of Press Freedom in Pakistan: Report." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 15 February 1997a. Mushtaq Ahmad. "Reflections on the Change." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Dawn Wire Service (DWS). 15 February 1997b. Nasir Malick. "What the Caretaker Government Did During Its 12-Week Stint." [Internet] (URL: [email protected]).

Democratic Commission for Human Development. 1996. Report on Human Rights Situation in Rural Communities of Pakistan. Islamabad: Democratic Commission for Human Development.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 29 January 1997. BC Cycle. Hasan Iqbal Jafri. "Pakistan's Ethnic Party Enjoys New-Found Freedom During Polls." (NEXIS)

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 8 September 1996. BC Cycle. "One Reported Dead in Karachi Opposition Strike." (NEXIS)

Dialogue[London]. December 1996. Imran Raza Kazmi. "Pakistan: Standing at the Crossroads."

The Economist[New York]. 8 February 1997. "Last Chance in Pakistan." (NEXIS)

The Economist[New York]. 25 January 1997. "Pakistan, Blood and Balloting in Karachi." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 4 Feb. 1997, Vol. 13, No. 4)

The Economist[New York]. 1-7 June 1996. "Pakistan: The Belfast of Asia." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 3 July 1996, Vol. 11, No. 25)

The Frontier Post[Peshawar, in English]. 21 May 1997. "Pakistan: Hundreds of MQM Leaders, Activists Released from Jail." (FBIS-NES-97-142 22 May 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The Herald[Glasgow]. 4 February 1997. Raja Asghar. "Bhutto Urged to Accept Defeat." (NEXIS)

The Herald[Karachi]. March 1997a. Aamer Ahmed Khan. "The Anatomy of a Landslide."

The Herald[Karachi]. March 1997b. "Wheels Within Deals."

The Herald[Karachi]. February 1997. Idrees Bakhtiar. "Mohajir Qaumi Movement."

The Herald[Karachi]. October 1996a. Hasan Zaidi. "State of Paralysis."

The Herald[Karachi]. October 1996b. Hasan Iqbal Jafri. "Who Killed Murtaza Bhutto?"

The Herald[Karachi]. October 1996c. Hasan Iqbal Jafri. "The Last Stand."

The Herald[Karachi]. September 1996a. Firuza Pastakia. "The Gates of Hell." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 15 Oct. 1996, Vol. 12, No. 14)

The Herald[Karachi]. September 1996b. Ali Hassan. "Judgement Day." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 15 Oct. 1996, Vol. 12, No. 14)

The Herald[Karachi]. September 1996c. Hasan Jafri. "Inhuman Bondage." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 15 Oct. 1996, Vol. 12, No. 14)

The Herald[Karachi]. September 1996d. Hasan Iqbal Jafri. "In the Belly of the Beast." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 15 Oct. 1996, Vol. 12, No. 14)

The Herald[Karachi]. May 1996. Idrees Bakhtiar. "Hijacking Karachi." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 11 June 1996, Vol. 11, No. 22)

The Herald[Karachi]. March 1996a. Azhar Abbas. "Future Shock?"

The Herald[Karachi]. March 1996b. Ghulam Hasnain and Hasan Zaidi. "The Politics of Murder."

The Herald[Karachi]. March 1996c. Ghulam Hasnain and Hasan Zaidi. "Anatomy of a Post-mortem."

The Herald[Karachi]. March 1996d. Ghulam Hasnain and Hasan Zaidi. "Fact and Fiction."

The Herald[Karachi]. February 1996. Idrees Bakhtiar. "Law of the Gun."

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). 1996. State of Human Rights in 1996. Lahore: HRCP.

Human Rights Watch (HRW). December 1996. Human Rights Watch World Report 1997. New York: Human Rights Watch.

India Abroad[Toronto]. 17 January 1997. Sanjay Suri. "MQM Announces Candidates but May Boycott Elections."

India Abroad[Toronto]. 15 November 1996. Sanjay Suri. "MQM Chief Holds Phone Rally After Benazir Bhutto's Ouster." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 3 Dec. 1996, Vol. 12, No. 21)

India Abroad[Toronto]. 12 April 1996. Sanjay Suri. "U.N. Inquiry Urged on Abuse of Mohajirs." (DIRB Indexed Media Review[Ottawa], 30 Apr. 1996, Vol. 11, No. 16)

Jane's Intelligence Review[Surrey, UK]. July 1996. Anthony Davis. "Karachi: Pakistan's Political Time-Bomb."

King, John S. April 1993. Pakistan: A Travel Survival Kit. 4th ed. Hawthorn, Vic.: Lonely Planet Publications.

Le Monde diplomatique[Paris]. January 1996. Alexandre Dastarac and M. Levent. "Karachi, une île à la dérive." [Internet] (URL: http://www.ina.fr/CP/MondeDiplo/1996/01/ DASTARAC/2211.html).

MQM News[London]. 29 September 1996. "Human Rights Violation Report: List of MQM Workers and Supporters Extrajudicially Killed by Government Agencies During 1996." [Internet] (URL: http://pw2.netcom.com/~newsntwk/KillingList1.html).

The Muslim[Islamabad, in English]. 18 March 1997. "Pakistan: Article Views MQM, PML Relations." (FBIS-NES-97-053 18 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

The Muslim[Islamabad, in English]. 13 September 1996. "An Old Lady Takes Up the Challenge." [Internet] (URL: http://pw2.netcom.com/~newsntwk/Articles.html).

The Nation[Islamabad, in English]. 3 May 1997. "Pakistan: Over 500 Haqiqi Activists Rounded Up." (FBIS-NES-97-123 3 May 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

The Nation[Islamabad, in English]. 22 April 1997. Rashed Rahman. "Pakistan: Article Evaluates Government Performance." (FBIS-NES-97-078 22 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld. gov))

The Nation[Islamabad, in English]. 16 April 1997. "Pakistan: Prime Minister Forestalls Action Against Bhutto." (FBIS-NES-97-107 17 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The Nation[Islamabad, in English]. 17 March 1997. "Pakistan: Sindh Governor Designate: MQM Chief Patriotic Citizen." (FBIS-NES-97-076 17 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The Nation[Islamabad, in English]. 13 March 1997. "Editorial Views Appointment of Governors, Problems." (FBIS-NES-97-072 13 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The Nation[Islamabad, in English]. 17 February 1997. "Pakistan: Uncertainty of Situation in Sindh Viewed." (FBIS-NES-97-033 17 Feb. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 22 May 1997. Amir Mir. "Pakistan: Government `Indecisive' on Cases Against MQM, Altaf." (FBIS-NES-97-143 23 May 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 30 April 1997. Jawed Jaidi. "Pakistan: `Crucial Dialogue' Between PML-MQM Ends on Positive Note." (FBIS-NES-97-121 1 May 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc. fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 13 April 1997. "Pakistan: Sindh Chief Minister, MQM Leaders on Surprise London Visit." (FBIS-NES-97-103 13 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 9 April 1997. "Pakistan: Court Allows Senator-Elect Zardari to Attend Senate Session." (FBIS-NES-97-100 10 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 7 April 1997. "Pakistan: MQM Tells Sharif to Quit if Agreement Not Implemented." (FBIS-NES-97-098 8 Apr. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 11 March 1997. "PPP (SB) Official: MQM-PML Agreement 'Anti-Sindh'." (FBIS-NES-97-070 11 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 10 March 1997. "MQM To Go to Court To Claim Rigging." (FBIS-NES-97-069 10 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 5 March 1997. "Altaf, Others Exonerated in Several Cases." (FBIS-NES-97-064 5 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 24 February 1997. "Pakistan: Bhutto Gives Evidence at Murtaza Tribunal." (FBIS-NES-97-037 24 Feb. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 20 February 1997. Javed Jaidi. "Pakistan: PML, MQM Reach Agreement on Power Sharing." (FBIS-NES-97-034 20 Feb. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 3 January 1997. Maqbool Ahmad. "Pakistan: Former Interior Minister Charged for Murtaza Murder." (FBIS-NES-97-003 3 Jan. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc. fedworld.gov))

The News[Islamabad, in English]. 18 August 1996. Syed Talat Hussain. "Pakistan: Terrorism, Government Response, Options for Karachi Viewed." (FBIS-NES-96-162 18 Aug. 1996 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc.fedworld.gov))

The Ottawa Citizen. 18 April 1997. "Foreign Exchange."

Pakistan: A Country Study. 1984. 5th ed. Edited by Richard F. Nyrop. Washington, DC: Secretary of the Army.

Pakistan Observer[Islamabad, in English]. 13 March 1997. "Editorial: Rangers Should Remain in Karachi." (FBIS-NES-97-072 13 Mar. 1997 [Internet] (URL: http://wnc. fedworld.gov))

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[1]1.           The MQM claims to represent the interests of Mohajirs, Urdu-speaking Muslims who left India after partition in 1947 to settle in Pakistan (Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1036-37). For more background on Mohajirs and the MQM, please see the November 1996 DIRB Question and Answer series paper Pakistan: The Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Karachi January 1995-April 1996, pp. 1-3.

[2]2.           The Rangers, numbering 6,000 to 7,000, are commanded by regular army officers and complement the approximately 25,000 police officers in Karachi (Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996).

[3]3.           The caretaker government restored the use of mobile telephones in Karachi after Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was dismissed in November 1996 (DWS 15 Feb. 1997b).

[4]4.           In September 1996, for example, the MQM staged a strike to protest the alleged blackmailing of MQM member Feroza Begum (see subsection 2.3) (Reuters 14 Sept. 1996; AFP 24 Oct. 1996). Also in September 1996 the MQM led a strike to protest the police killing of Murtaza Bhutto (Reuters 26 Sept. 1996), and in April 1996 called another strike to protest changes to the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) that had the potential to reduce the KMC's autonomy (ibid. 18 Apr. 1996; The Herald May 1996).

[5]5.           According to Moonis Ahmar, "criticism against the MQM leadership, particularly against Altaf Hussain, was considered unpardonable and the whole organization was run on the style of Nazi and Fascist parties of Germany and Italy. The MQM leadership dealt harshly with dissidents and compelled them to leave the city" (Asian Survey Oct. 1996, 1037; see also Jane's Intelligence Review July 1996; Asia Times 22 Jan. 1997).

[6]6.           For more information on election violence, please see subsection 2.5 National and Provincial Elections.

[7]7.           For full lists of the 3 February 1997 national and provincial elections, please see DIRB Responses to Information Requests PAK26432.E of 28 February 1997, PAK26467.E of 28 February 1997, and PAK26468.E of 28 February 1997, which are available at IRB Regional Documentation Centres.

[8]8.           Benazir Bhutto publicly acknowledged Sharif's victory and wished the new government well for the sake of democracy in the country (AFP 12 Feb. 1997). Altaf Hussain of the MQM(A), while working in coalition with PML(N), has threatened to bring the issue of election rigging to court (The News 10 Mar. 1997).

[9]9.           According to The Herald, the secret agreement states that the Government of Sindh will pay Rs 300,000 (Cdn $11,160) to families of victims of extrajudicial killings and/or terrorist activities (to a maximum of 1,000 persons/families), Rs 150,000 (Cdn $5,580) to individuals who were disabled partially or totally handicapped as a result of activities of terrorists or "other agencies" (to a maximum of 150 persons/families), and Rs 75,000 (Cdn $2790) to those who lost property to terrorists (to a maximum of 1,200 persons/families) (Mar. 1997b, 42; The Ottawa Citizen 18 Apr. 1997, C14). "The total amount of compensation is not to exceed 40 crore rupees [Rs 400 million or approximately Cdn $15 million]. In addition, the above categories shall be compensated on the basis of a list prepared and authenticated by the MQM leadership" and verified by a review commission (ibid.).

[10]10.        There has been much speculation about Hussain's possible return. In April 1997, on a complaint by MQM(A) member Shoib Bukhari, a minister in the Sindh government, police filed a First Information Report (FIR) against former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former Sindh Chief Minister Abdullah Shah for the 1995 murders of Altaf Hussain's brother and nephew (Radio Pakistan Network 10 Apr. 1997; The Nation 16 Apr. 1997). According to The Nation, the FIRs were carefully tabled when both Bhutto and Shah were outside the country, and the case was designed to be a test: if Bhutto could safely return to Pakistan with a murder charge over her head, the argument ran, then Hussain would also have to be allowed a safe return (ibid.). According to The Nation, on 16 April 1997 Prime Minister Sharif directed the Sindh authorities to not arrest Bhutto until the case had been completely investigated (ibid.). Bhutto did return to Pakistan, while Shah applied for asylum in London (ibid.). By the end of research for this paper (25 May 1997), Hussain had not announced any plans to return to Pakistan.

[11]11.        Pakistan was named the second most corrupt country next to Nigeria in a widely cited 1996 poll of international business people taken by Transparency International (The Economist 8 Feb. 1997; The Banker Dec. 1996; DWS 24 Mar. 1997). Perhaps illustrative of the extent of the corruption, as part of his anti-corruption drive the prime minister has reportedly announced that income tax returns will not be checked this year in order to deprive reviewing officers of a substantial source of bribery (ibid. 3 Apr. 1997).

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