A memorable note from Perveen Shakir to Munir Pervaiz

I share this personal note from illustrious poetess Perveen Shakir that she wrote in my diary in 1972, when I was moving to IBA in Karachi to obtain my MBA.  She was a kind and caring friend.
This is a memory I cherish, and share it to remember Perveen Shakir.

Click at the link below to read the PDF:

Perveen Shakir note to Munir Pervaiz

Salam in honor of the martyrs of Karbala in Urdu with an audio.

I present a Salam in honor of the martyrs of Karbala and the family of Prophet Mohammad.
It is in Urdu and for those who do not read Urdu but understand the sounds, I am also sharing a recording of recital

Karti Hay

To listen to the audio of recital click here:

Manqabat in memory of the martyred family of the Prophet and Imam Hussain

I am sharing a Manqabat in Urdu remembering the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.
Please click the link to access image and audio.

Manqabat

Audio:

 

Organized Hinduism: From Vedic North to Hindu Nation by Daniel Gold

This essay titled Organized Hinduism: From Vedic North to Hindu Nation by Daniel Gold  was published in the 1st volume, Fundamentalisms Observed,  of a 6 volume set under Fundamentalist Project, A Study conducted by The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London 1991.

Daniel Gold : Associate Professor of South Religions; Cornell University

It is a useful study of various fundamentalisms prevalent and rising globally.

The essay provides an exhaustive study of Hindu Fundamentalism, and may help students interested in the subject. Click below to read:

Organized Hinduism – From Vedic North to Hindu Nation Revised
Organized Hinduism – From Vedic North to Hindu Nation -Page 157

It is shared for academic discussion under fair use.

وہ جو ہیں پروردہ ء شب، وہ جو ہیں ظُلمت پرست۔۔۔۔۔۔ Knights of Darkness, Worshippers of Tyranny

My Urdu column published at Urdu Times, USA and Canada , can be read as a PDF file by clicking the following link;

ظلمت پرست۔۔ Zulmat Paraast

Following is the English synopsis:
————————

Knights of Darkness, Worshippers of Tyranny
Many readers may not remember the name of Suroor Bara Bankvi, a distinguished Urdu poet, but those who know Urdu poetry would find his lines that I translate , as heart rendering. He said that, “Knights of Darkness and Worshippers of Tyraany”, will always follow the horrible dark nights”. If you read these lines in the perspective of God gifted land of Pakistan, you may understand the reasons of why Pakistan has become an abode of pain and misery. You may also recognize the princess of darkness who have been behind it. You will also then understand the lines of another Pakistani poet, who wrote that “Night rules the courtyards of my homeland”.

If you contemplate on the history of Pakistan, you will find that since its inception it has been overtly and covertly ruled by the Knights of Darkness. You will finds that these are the people who have raided your lives and fortunes in the darkness of nights. There have also been those who have resisted this tyranny and oppression.

We must remember that in whichever country the tyrannous horde raid its people, there will always be those who courageously oppose oppression. And these resisters will be declared as traitors and forever maligned. In Pakistan such resisters include, Jalib, Hasan Nasir, Fehmida Riaz, Ghaffar Khan, Baloch activists, oppressed Pakistanis, activists of human rights, intellectuals, and writers. These are the ones who expose tyranny and snatch the veils from the faces of the tyrants. After reading these lined many will also call me, who is only a student of affairs, a traitor. Such is the practice of worshippers of darkness.

No one can deny that the land of Pakistan has remained oppressed and backward since its creation. During various decades it has been ruled by those who thrive on public hangings and flogging of activists on the streets. It is but natural to call these oppressors as heartless tyrants.

You may also add to the above the scenes of young and old men being paraded in the streets with their eyes blindfolded by their own shirts, by heavily armed security personnel, and their pictures and videos are shown on media. You can also add to these thousands who are illegally abducted. If ever a court makes any hue and cry on this, then their tortured corpses are thrown on the street. These include, Bloch, Sindhi activist, and also those who declare Urdu as their mother tongue. One can also add to this many a journalists who are killed with impunity for their reporting, and whose own media houses do not even wink an eye on their murders. Those who practice such barbarity can only be called despotic satraps.

We must remember that those despots who have directly and illegally ruled over Pakistan, include Iskanadar Mirza, Ayub Khan, Yaha Khan , Zia ul Haq, and Pervez Musharraf. All were generals of Pakistan’s security establishment. Since they raided the kismet of the nation under the cover of nights, they are the Knights of Darkness that one must remember.

One must also always recognize their facilitators and hanger-ons. These are the bureaucrats of the government.

We must also remember that these two usurpers have always bad mouthed the civilian politicians, declaring them as corrupt and incompetent and responsible for Pakistan’s wretched backwardness. These tyrants have engrained this mantra on the minds of people. This has been going on since the very first days of Pakistan. They sugar coat this accusation with such sweet poison that people will not believe any other narrative.

We must review the period during 1947 to 1956, and try to dig out the now nearly forgotten name of Malik Ghulam Mohammed, a bureaucrat who became the 3rd governor general of Pakistan. He is the classical example of Peter’s Principle under which one rises to the highest levels of incompetence. He messed up the Kashmir issue, and imposed the first Martial Law during anti-Ahmadi riots. He is the forefather of all the bureaucrats of Pakistan who work with the security establishment to rule the people. We should also not forget the name of Justice Munir, who first used the Doctrine of Necessity that continues to guide the judges of Pakistan who came after him, and have protected nearly all military revolutions that destroyed the constitutionalism in Pakistan.
People may not even realize that Ayub Khan was appointed as the first military commander of East Bengal or East Pakistan. The same East Pakistan where Pakistani army surrendered during the tenure of Yaha Khan who was the successor of Ayub Khan as Pakistan’s Commander in Chief.

We should also note that Ayub Khan became the head of Pakistan army in 1951, and forced himself as the President of Pakistan in 1958

To comprehend the symbiotic relations of Pakistan’s bureaucracy and its defence establishment, one must review the times of Iskandar Mirza, a major general of army, who became a secretary of defence, minister of interior, governor general ,and then the president of Pakistan. It was he who promulgated the first constitution in 1956, and then declared Martial Law. Once you understood this, you can deduce as to how Pakistan’s military and bureaucracy manipulated the political system.

Those who parrot the corruption of politicians in Pakistan since its inception should ask as to what kind of corruption prevailed there during 1946 and 1958. They should also inquire as to what kind of corruption Fatima Jinnah practiced that made Ayub Khan contest her in his own engineered elections. Those who call the Muhajirs (people whose mother tongue is Urdu) as criminals, should never forget the victory parade in Karachi led by Ayub Khan’s son Gohar Ayub. That was the beginning of ethnic strife that has ever tormented urban Sind.

In order to understand the misery and troubles in Pakistan, we must refresh our memories about secession of Bangla Desh, Pakistan’s participation in Afghan Jiahd, Zia ul Haq’s Islamization policies, purposely entrenched inequities, and economic demise. We must remember that Pakistan’s is ruled by a dual system of governance, one by the defence establishment and the other by its bureaucracy.

Defence expenditure is a major burden of our economy, it may be and must be debated. But we must also note that a significant portion of defence spending is allotted to the civilian budget. A recent report revealed that several billions rupees on account of military pensions was drawn from civil accounts. If the people lose their resources in this manner, should it be the politicians who must hang?
We hear a lot about the corruption of Zardari and Sharifs. Do we ever question as to who their facilitators are. Many a times, it is the bureaucrats who collude with them. How many such officers have been punished for it. Have we ever questioned as to how retired army officers are inducted in civil service, in diplomacy, and NGOs, and what kind of corruption do they undertake? Have we ever investigated as to which retired officer benefitted from Hub Power plant, or who benefitted from various defence purchases? Most recently two senior army officers were found guilty of massive embezzlement to the tune of multi billion rupees, why were they not jailed, and why their property was not confiscated?

In a country where ignorance and darkness prevails, we accuse that those whose mother tongue is Urdu exploited Pakistan’s resources for the first eleven years of its existence. What kind of injustices they committed that their generations are made to pay for it forever?

You have to find the answers for all of the above yourself. Knight of Darkness, and Worshippers of Tyranny will not help you. They will indulge into foul language, and will use the pedantic phrases that Imran Khan has spread around.

We have tried to point out the true tormentors of Pakistan, now it is up to you to pursue it.

We are content in the dream that Suroor Bara Bankvi saw, when he said, “I know the stretch of the dark night always ends in the morning” . Long Live Pakistan!

 

 

Some posts from Abdullah Hussein’s Facebook Wall

One of the major and celebrated Urdu writers Abdullah Hussein is no more, and lives in our hearts and his writings. I just scanned his Facebook Wall, and share of his posts that enlighten and educate.
I will attempt to share all or most from the same wall later.
——————————————
It is in response to a friend: Edward Raj,
I just extracted some posts from Abdullah Hussein’s FB wall.

You may find some relevant comments. Some between the lines impression on criticism, a warm hearted appreciation of some good folks like Asif Aslam, and others. Also important is his note for Khalid Ashraf, where he thanks him for appreciating “Baagh”.

It may be long but I am sharing for the future generations as you said. I am actually going to cull his wall and plan to put all his posts at my own blog. That may be a good record.
——————–
“My one great friend Mustansar Hussain Tarrar has fallen ill and is hospitalized. All friends please pray for his early recovery.”

“Milo jo hum se to mil lo keh hum banok-e-giah
Misaal-e-qatra-e-shabnam rahey rahey na rahey. (May 08)”

“I have been thinking (ha ha, some might say!) that I have wasted away my life. Living in one’s ripe years a man has no time to ponder that he might have done some useful things in the past. Seeing life ebbing away, he is seized by the moment and laments, O what a waste! Some like Proust and Rimbaud stop, or want to stop living altogether in their different ways. Nearly all writers escape backwards and write about their childhoods, using it as a piece of torn cloth to hide the bits and bobs created by Life’s sleights of hand.”

“My dear Khalid Ashraf sahib, how can I forget you. I met you here in Lahore and you gave me your book (which is lost, because people borrow book and never return them). The really unforgettable memory that I have about you is that you not only wrote about all my novels but especially you said in your review that “Ba’agh” deserved to stand alongside world’s best novels. I will be eternally grateful to you for this because it is my favourite novel and it has always been underappreciated. But right now, fortunately, it is being read and talked about more and more. It is all because of your efforts because as far as I remember you were the first one to have appreciated it. I would very much like to meet with you again, but I am not keeping good health and rarely travel anywhere. If you happen to come I’d love to see you. It was a great pleasure receiving your message and I hope we continue to correspond. All my love. Abdullah

Hussein.——————————————–“

“Birthdays on August 14:
Friends , I noticed at least 8 of my friends birthdays on August 14. May they always be free in life, thought, speech, words, and action. I can vouch for nearly all of them and offer my greetings:
Abdullah Hussein Akif SyedAsif SaleemMalik KhanAjmal Siraj Arfan ChLiaquat Ali AsimShafi QureshiNaseem Chaudhary”

“Abdullah Hussein Thanks Munir. Wait for my note in my status slot in a day or two about this.”

“Asif Aslam, my estimable friend, yesterday signified the importance of birthdays in his post. Every year on my birthday (14th of August) I apologise on this page for having lived so long with so little to show for it when so many of high merit are rent asunder so early in their time. I think I owe some explanation to prevent it being taken as false modesty. I look back to that distant morning when I was a schoolboy and had been hearing constant firing all night long. At daybreak a bunch of us rode our bicycles and, instead of going to school, headed towards the railway station. A train coming from Bannu taking Hindu and Sikh refugees to India had been stopped and the passengers were being butchered by the tribals housed in our city to go to fight in Kashmir. They were joined energetically by the locals. We saw our Drawing Master, a poet and a singer whom we idealised, wrestle a fat man to the ground and repeatedly stab him with a large tailor’s scissors that he carried. Tearing open the front of the man’s kurta he cut off the pockets of the man’s cotton waistcoat, which were full of banknotes and gold ornaments, with the same scissors. Without looking back Master Sarwar took off with the loot. The platform was heaped with the dead and the dying. I was not yet sixteen.
It was not only the end of illusions but also the death of our romance with the world. Many of us later went into self exile, some never to return. But wherever we went, we were unhappy. We were an unsettled, lost generation.

Disabled and Disadvantaged in Pakistanterestingly, in the forty years from 1940 to 1980, the best of Urdu literature was created. Poets Majaz and Sahir to Firaq and Faiz; critics like Saroor and Askari, fiction writers like Krishan Chandar and Bedi and Manto and Ghulam Abbas among others, produced their best work. People usually talk of broken hearts. But writers of that generation wrote with wounded minds. We all have in us our places of exile.”


“Attn. Asif Aslam: The cannonisation of Saadat Hasan Manto has been done to the disadvantage of Ghulam Abbas. Manto wrote a handful of stories that will last; the rest were hastily written of necessity in indifferent prose, never revised and quickly sold by him to buy booze. Ghulam Abbas was neglected because he was a “Shareef man”, never went for theatrics, pedalled around town on a push-bike, lived within his means so that he didn’t have to sell his stories in haste but paid attention to his art. He wrote over forty stories and kept a uniform level of quality. Toba Tek Singh suffers in comparison with Anandi because it is based on a political event while Anandi is about human nature and will still be appreciated by people in fifty years time when the partition of India,though still remembred, will have largely gone from their concerns. It is the duty of people who manage literary opinion to restore reputations.”

عبداللہ حسین کہتے ہیں کہ جب لکھنا شروع کیا تو جو اردو رائج الوقت تھی اس میں بڑے مشکل الفاظ تھے، لچھے دار زبان مجھے نہیں آتی تھی، جو الٹی سیدھی زبان آئی اس کو لکھتا گیا، مجھے تو پتہ نہیں تھا کہ اس کو کوئی پڑھے گا یا شائع بھی کرے گا۔
اردو کے ایک معروف نقاد مظفر علی سید نے تو یہ تک کہہ دیا کہ پہلے عبداللہ حسین کو اردو سیکھنی چاہیے پھر ناول لکھنا چاہیے۔ کچھ عرصے بعد ہی عبداللہ حسین اور مظفر علی سید کا آمنا سامنا ہوا تو عبداللہ حسین کہتے ہیں کہ انھوں نے مظفر سے کہا کہ ’میں نے تو آپ کا ریویو سنا تھا پشاور کے ریڈیو سے جس میں آپ نے بڑی تنقید کی تھی، آپ نے کہا تھا کہ اس نے عجیب و غریب زبان لکھی ہے اس کو اردو سیکھنی چاہیے تھی کہ ناول لکھنے سے پہلے۔‘
دوسرا انہوں نے اس ناول میں زبان پر زور نہیں دیا بلکہ اس میں انہوں نے اظہار، جذبات پر یا جو کردار ہیں ان کی نفسیات پر زیادہ توجہ دی ہے چنانچہ وہ آسانی سے لوگوں کی سمجھ میں آجاتی ہے۔ اور آپ اس چیز کو ملکیت سمجھتے ہیں جس میں آپ اپنی جھلک دیکھتے ہیں اپنے اظہار کی یا اپنے لب و لہجے کی یا اپنے ماحول کی یا روایات کی۔مستنصر حسین تارڑ
عبداللہ حسین کے مطابق انھوں نے جواباً کہا کہ ’نہیں نہیں اور وہ تھوڑاکھسیانا ہو گیا اور ہنس پڑا کہ نہیں یہ اس وقت کی بات تھی اب تو ٹھیک ہی ہے، اب تو اردو کا مزاج بدل گیا ہے اب ٹھیک ہے۔ میں نے کہا کہ ٹھیک اس وقت بھی تھی لیکن آپ کو سمجھ اب آئی ہے۔ وہ بیچارہ جیسے پنجابی میں کہتے ہیں، زمین وچ ہی وڑ گیا۔‘

“If I have a hundred hats they are off to the Baloch Missing people marchers”

“My two innocent posts in the last two days have been faded out. Have the Facebook administrators blacklisted me?” Febrauar 13, 2014

“In the first post I said that this country is ruled by criminals masquerading as political parties. In the second I detailed my visit to KLF Karachi where the fiftieth uninterupted anniversary of “Udas Naslein” was celebrated in a session at the Festival and the special publication of a Jubilee edition of the book in a special size.”

“Abdullah Hussein Asif, it was something on these lines:

“The most astonishing thing that happened was Asif Aslam(Farrukhi) not just mentioning me in passing (which would be just about appropriate) but reading a whole page from my old story “Naddi” in his introductory speech as a co-sponsor of the Festival, before the entire august company of luminaries.

It was unprecedented and stunned me. It was like him putting his career on the line because I think he as well as I made some enemies there.

Later, I had a session moderated by Ahmad Shah in which the Jubilee edition of “Udas Naslein” was launched. There was question & answer period which went well.

But the publishers surpassed themselves by publishing the book in a special size: a milimeter or two longer and a millimeter or two wider than the usual size of an ordinary book, but just that much made all the difference by making it look quite remarkable.

Then there were private parties, most enjoyable at the home of Hanif and Nimra and HM Naqvi and Alya. All in all, I can say that “I had a goog Festival”. Just as well, as I am getting old and don’t know how many times I will be able to participate, or if at all.””

Toronto Festival of Literature and The Arts – FSALA 2015

Toronto Festival of Literature and the Arts 2015

May 15-17 2015

3 days of readings, seminars, music and dance

Celebrate World Literature as nowhere else!

Canada India Ghana Sri Lanka Pakistan Trinidad Tanzania Philippines  USA

Books Readings Debates!
Music!
Dance!

More than 40 writers and musicians will be present. New features include an East Asian Panel and a writing workshop. We will acknowledge the passing of Chinua Achebe, U R Ananthamurthy, and Victor Ramraj.

To review the detailed program click the link:

FSALA 2015 Program

Who killed the girl saint of Karachi? By Hasan Mujtaba (translated from Urdu)

Who killed the girl saint of Karachi? By Hasan Mujtaba

(An attempted translation of an Urdu column published at Jang, Pakistan, April 30, 2015)

Mummies and Daddies, living across the Clifton Bridge of Karachi, get to know about the troubles and travails of most other citizens only when their maidservants or drivers from Baloch Colony, Liyari, or New Karachi, tell them about the misery that their own friends and acquaintances faced that day.

Or as my friend tells me, “Mummies and Daddies felt the miseries only when  a shortage of fresh vegetable occurred at Agha super market.” Only then they realized that something bad has happened in the city. In such a situation a girl like Sabeen proved that they she was a saint.

Sabeen Mahmud the saint was murdered. We cannot name the event at T2F from which she was returning when murdered. But we can say that she was returning from a ‘banned’ seminar that she arranged at T2F. A banned seminar, about a banned issue, a banned people, with banned speakers.

Sabeen Mahmud left after that banned seminar, in a tiny Suzuki car with her mother (she was not an elite that she would ride in a double cabined land cruiser with security guards). And then at a traffic light, five bullets came. It happened in Defence Society, and for the ‘believers’, the whole world is a Defence Society.

The message was loud and clear. “Anyone who would try to discuss the ‘banned issue’ and the banned people would be despatched to the hereafter”.

Let’s not utter the name of the banned uncle. But we can utter the name of our ‘atomic hero’, who is the uncle of the nation. Even if we do not take the name of a ‘banned people’, Pakistan will still be called a multi-racial state. Now a days we also hear about a “Deep Sate”.

After Sabeen’s death we also received a message that she was not murdered by Uncle Type of people.

Let’s not speculate who killed Sabeen Mahmud. Did US, Isreal, India, Taliban, or MQM killed Sabeen??? Or did Sabeen kill herself?

Was Sabeen like Razia Bhatti, who my friend Ijaz Mangi used to call  a snake charmer of truth, putting her hand in the snake- pit, every day.

Was she a child playing on the lake, who, according to a Sindhi proverb could drown any day?

Or did she use to ride on a motor bike in the well of death?

Or was she an acrobat walking on a tight rope across a large and deep lake full of alligators?

Or was she a circus girl of Karachi, who used to put her head in the mouth of a ‘tamed lion’ each night? And then one night the lion ate her. Who can now tell the lion that we smell the blood of a girl in your breath?

No!

Was she killed because she used the eight letters from Urdu or English alphabet? If taking the name of Baluchistan and discussing its problems and misery is condemnable by death, then we should say good bye to the country and mourn for it and not just for Sabeen.

High civil and military officers say, “No it is not true, we did not kill Sabeen”. “We have better things to do.” Then they begin listing their good deeds.

But the murder of this girl across the Clifton Bridge is as high profile as that of Mir Murtaza Bhutto.

These two murder mysteries have one similarity. Curious and anxious people began naming the perpetrator in less than 24 hours. Just like they suspected the name of Murtaza Bhuttos’s killer in less time than it took the killer to shave his mustache. In Sabeen’s case, people also began naming one suspect.

We do not say who killed Sabeen, because we do not know. In a city like Karachi or even in Pakistan it is difficult to say. Because to say such things is to invite immediate death.

But we can ask:

Did the same people kill Sabeen, who killed Liaqat Ali Khan?

Did those who kill Hasan Nasir, also killed Sabeen?

It is speculated that Ayub Kirmani the information officer who leaked the news of Hasan Nasir’s death was also killed, and it was declared that he committed suicide.

Was Sabeen killed by those who killed Akbar Bugti? Or those who killed Akbar Bugti’s sister? Or those who killed Nazir Asi? Or those who killed Saleem Shahzad? Or those who burnt Maqsood Qureshi alive? Or those who fired at Hamid Mir?

An experienced crime reporting journalist in Karachi told me that, the investigators of Sabeen’s murder are very scared. For them it is an open-and-shut case. Is it a case that scares the investigators?

Someone wrote at social media that it was the murder of the “Koel” of the city.

Murder of the fan of Jimmy Hendrix, Apple Mac user, and computer geek, girl-saint of Karachi, is the murder of Karachi itself, a Karachi that refuses to be born. This is the murder of Karachi of tomorrow.

The flag bearer of free speech, who created a Hyde Park Corner in Karachi was murdered. Speech itself was murdered. Are some voices more powerful than an atom bomb that these need to be murdered? It does not happen in free societies. It is impossible to kill the spirit of freedom.

When will the uncles understand this?

Now this girl has become a character of the modern folklore. One of her friends has called her a Post Modern Hippy.

If the uncles did not kill Sabeen Mahmud, then whoever killed her has played a trick on uncles.

It is because they had the primary responsibility of protecting Sabeen Mahmud. They knew that the story of this seminar could become the noose around their necks. To protect Sabeen from T2F to her home was not as difficult as protecting a nuclear bomb. If they are not involved then they should find the culprit. They should sweep under their own bed.

They should do it before an investigating officer puffing again and again on a half smoked cigarette declares that, “it is a matter of conflict between national and foreign intelligence agencies”. Or with a foresight declares that this girl with dangerous thoughts and vision was murdered by the agents of Black Water.
She was murdered because she wanted to raise the birds and words of free speech.
Dear people, say something:

Say that it is not “safe” to write a poem like this,

Say that under this roof it is not appropriate to mention

a song, a movie, pen, or paper,

or to sip coffee.

O Karachi say that an un-armed girl,

who was telling your story,

was a danger to the powerful and mighty people.
Say that your lips are not free!

(Original in Urdu was published at http://jang.com.pk/jang/apr2015-daily/30-04-2015/col5.htm)

MQM – Urdu article published at Urdu Times, USA with its English version

My Urdu article titled MQM, published at Urdu Times USA and Canada is shared here. Its English version is also enclosed.
To click the Urdu version as PDF click the link below:

MQM Urdu Version

English version:

MQM

People of Pakistan, particularly the people belonging to the urban cities of Pakistan’s Sindh province have always been keenly interested in MQM, which has become a representative political party of urban Sindh. This interest has risen again recently, due to a very important by-election of Pakistan’s National Assembly’s constituency number 246.

This election is critical because this riding spans over Aziz Abad locality of Karachi, which is considered as the center of MQM, since its head office, and the residence of its founder Altaf Hussain, are also in this locality. It may be said that this is the area where MQM took its roots from.

Since the inception of MQM its candidates have defeated their opponents by margins of at least a hundred thousand votes in this locality. In this election MQM will face its traditional rival Jamat e Islami, and PTI the very recent entrant into Pakistan’s politics. This seat has been vacated by Nabeel Gabool who was a non-traditional representative, who did not belong to the ethnic group that is known as community whose mother tongue is Urdu, and which is traditionally known as “Muhajir”, or a community of immigrants.

The term Muhajir (immigrants) has been a controversial term in Pakistan as has been used for those who migrated from India to the geographical areas that constituted Pakistan at the partition of India. Pakistan’s citizens at large have always used this term for these people and continue to use it despite all controversies.

We must consider that even in the civilized countries including Canada, new comers have also been called as “New Immigrants”. Only in those countries where equal human rights have been established, the use if this term gradually declines, otherwise it takes a long time for these “new immigrants” to become equal citizens. And equities and inequalities against the new comers continue for several generations.

Pakistan’s Muhajirs or Immigrants have faced the same inequities and inequalities. And they have struggled against these just like the people of Baluchistan and Rural Sind have struggled. Following the social and sociological realities of any under developed and non-democratic country, it is unfortunate that Pakistan’s largest province Punjab that consists of 56 % of Pakistan, has indulged into hegemonic control of Pakistan’s economy, its resources, it politics, its armed forces, and its law enforcement institutions.

This hegemonic dominance has resulted in parochial ethnic prejudices, inequities, and inequalities. MQM came into being as result of these inequalities and prejudices.

One very sad and unfortunate example of these inequalities has been the quota system in employment, education, and other facilities, which required that “domicile holders of Karachi, Hyderabd, and other selected urban areas of Sind were not eligible for applying for employment and services”. This black and unjust system continues to prevail even today.

The “Muhajirs” of urban Sind were also punished and targeted with repression when they opposed military dictator Ayub Khan, and supported Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Pakistan’s founder.

People of Pakistan will never be able to understand MQM, unless they understand these realities. It came as a massive wave of protest against these real or perceived inequalities, and for over 30 years its candidates have been sweeping elections in urban Sind for both the provincial and national parliamentary seats. It has played the role of King Maker in Sind as well as Pakistan.

Various political parties and army dictators have relied on its support to form and sustain their governments. For the last many years the governor of Sind has been a representative of MQM. Due to this role in politics, MQM has also been accused of being a tool of the establishment.

It has not only influenced provincial and national politics, but has also been a very effective player in Karachi’s municipal politics, and has played a constructive role in developing municipal services and institutions. It has also been instrumental in maintaining ethnic and religious harmony, and has been known as a secular force that has kept the influence of religion under control in its areas of dominance.

Despite its constructive role in municipal politics and its national political influence, it has suffered because it has been under the personal and cultish influence of its founder. Over a period of time it has been accused of being involved in violence and corruption.

It is unfortunate that Pakistan’s other political parties and its establishment have similarly been involved in these non-democratic practices. Like any undemocratic country, Pakistan’s power establishment ignores these violent and corrupt practices, so long the perpetrators continue to serve its interest. Whenever such characters are seen as a threat to the power establishment, it reacts and tries to decimate them through most repressive means. It sometimes succeeds immediately or may take a longer time to eliminate such characters. All political parties of Pakistan including Muslim League, MQM, PPP, and ANP have gone through these cycles of repression of establishment at various times. MQM has been a target of violent repressions in the past like the activists in Baluchistan and rural Sind.
Due to its grave mistakes and unwise policies of its leaders, MQM has once again provided the excuses to the establishment to act against it and violently repress it. It is once against under extreme pressure. It is unfortunate that MQM participated in a constitutional amendment that gave significant powers to Pakistan’s military in the areas of law and order. As a result it is now a target of the same establishment like some other political parties.
Its founder is facing money laundering charges in UK, and party is accused of being complicit in the murder of one of its major leaders, Imran Farooq. Some observers speculate that Pakistan’s current minister of interior, who many consider as a dubious political character, is using para military forces to subjugate MQM.

The repressive action has been timed to coincide with elections mentioned above, and it is also rumored that establishment is using PTI of Imran Khan for this purpose. It is the same PTI that has recently gravely hurt Pakistan’s Parliament and Judiciary, and that has returned to Parliament after severely maligning it without even tendering an apology. The establishment has also accepted its demand that elections in Azizabad be conducted under para military forces. It is the first time that para military forces will manage a Pakistani election, that itself is dire political dishonesty.

One can opine that due to its past electoral history and experience, MQM will win this election again. It cannot be defeated through non-political means. But it will have to change its policies and practices to sustain future support.

Once the parties like, MQM, PPP, Muslim League, and ANP, win people’s hearts, it takes a very long time to eradicate their influence. It takes a long an vengeful period spanning over years to eliminate them through violent non-political and dictatorial repression. Dictatorships do not last that long and cannot sustain their repression.

A value based respectable democratic political system Pakistan will develop only when its armed forces sincerely pull themselves out of politics. Otherwise Pakistan will continue to slide towards destruction and annihilation.

MQM English Word Document

Dr. Sajida Alvi : Former holder of Chair in Urdu Language and Culture. McGill University.

Dr. Sajida Alvi,  Former holder of Chair in Urdu Language and Culture. McGill University will be guest of honor at Writers Forum Canada, in Toronto,
on Sunday Feb 22, 2015. Her detailed resume is shared here:

Sajida. Alvi CV February 5, 2015 – Copy