Are Sindhi's Muslims more liberal than Punjabi Muslims - the information portal on South Asia

The Mohajir, "pilgrims", were predominantly members and supporters of the Muslim League. So they supported a party whose demand for a Pakistan and thus for the partition of British India triggered the largest refugee movements in Indian history. You yourself flee to the improvised capital of the new art state, to Karachi. Here they first establish and monopolize the administrative and command structures of a state that the indigenous groups in East and West Pakistan, especially the Bengalis and Punjabis, are indifferent, sometimes hostile to. From the beginning they were forced into a condominium, to a power cooperation with the Punjabi elite, they soon lose their politically dominant position, but they retain privileged access to the state administration. They represent parts of the military command apparatus and they are the primary carriers and beneficiaries of commercial and catching up industrial development. The same applies to Pakistan as to Prussia: the country has no army, but an army has a country. Beyond that, however, the following applied until 1957: a refugee elite has one and affords a state. The Mohajir are not only losing their political primacy, since the 1980s they have seen their power and influence in their very own refuge in Karachi threatened by the Afghan war refugees.

From the very beginning, other groups of refugees have migrated to this metropolis of mohajir refugees. Punjab peasants and farm workers who fell victim to the "green revolution"; Baluch, who escape the famine and survival difficulties of this desert region; so-called Biharis, stranded in Bangladesh after the secession of East Pakistan; finally the Pashtuns by the hundreds of thousands, mostly war refugees from Afghanistan. The city, whose population almost doubles every decade, thanks mainly to this immigration, and is estimated at 15 million in 2000, is being transformed into an arena in which groups of refugees of different strengths fight for control over land, positions of power and branches of the economy.

In a situation of supposed exclusion from the state and a feared loss of power over the only remaining bastion of Karachi, a new, second generation of Mohajir founds an ethnic, a Mohajir people's movement. This Mohajir Quaumi Movement triggered a six year long urban and terrorist uprising from 1992, which paralyzed the huge port, commercial and industrial city and endangered the stability of Pakistan. The Mohajir and Karachi show the political functions and opportunities, forms and consequences of flight in multiple and threatening ways: The Mohajir are victims, but also beneficiaries of one of the largest flight movements of the 20th century; they transform the most important metropolis of the new art state into a refuge for their escape; Threatened by other refugee groups in their refugee bastion, they have been imagining a new resentment-laden "ethnic" Mohajir, i.e. refugee identity, since the 1980s, they found a corresponding Mohajir party and risk an uprising - against the state once enforced by their parents.

This refugee story will be presented in the following along the ascent, descent and resistance of the Mohajir. I am describing the following developmental steps: First, the initiation of a flight on the part of the Mohajir and their own flight; then the power and the loss of power of the Mohajir; then the growth of Karachi and the conflict between Mohajir and Pashtuns; in the end the uprising of this refugee group mutated into a people. The study is the best analysis of the mohajir movement based on intensive field research to date. (At this point we expressly refer to the comprehensive study by Ms. Ann Frotscher (2005). In particular, the uprising and shadow war of the Mohajir is presented in detail, which cannot be described in detail in this article.)

I. Triggering an escape movement and the flight of the mohajir

The fight for the independence of British India is initially carried out by the Indian National Congress. The independence movement has been radicalized since the 1920s, and it is now evident in the competition between two different parties and visions of independence. The Congress calls for independence for one country, for "one nation" of Indians. The Muslim League, led by Mohamed Ali Jinnah since the 1930s, now calls for independence for "two nations", for the nation of Hindus and for the nation of Muslims. It is still about separate electoral groups, protective clauses and autonomy rights for the 24 percent strong minority of Muslims against the 70 percent strong majority of Hindus. Since 1940, however, the Muslim League has been demanding its own state, Pakistan. With the election of 1946/47 it became clear that the Muslim League, thanks to a skillful and opportunistic mobilization of voters, convinced more than 80 percent of Muslims eligible to vote of the necessity of a Pakistan and thus the division of the country. The overwhelming mass of Muslims who voted for the League and Pakistan in the winter of 1946/47 identified with a vision and followed the calls of local magnates and pirs, holy men. Little did these often illiterate voters realize that the creation of Pakistan and the division of British India must also result in the division of the two sprawling core provinces of India, Punjab and Bengal. The leadership, the cadres and the educated partisans had to be aware, however, that at least the division of Punjab had to trigger uncontrollable massacres and expulsions. Minorities of Hindus and Muslims, numbering in the millions, have lived in the west and east of Punjab for centuries. More than half of the cultivation areas and the sacral centers of the religious community of the Sikhs were in the predominantly Muslim western Punjab.

Since the beginning of 1947 there have been uncontrolled cycles of violence, pogroms and expulsions triggered by Hindu militias, private Sikharmeen and Muslim immobs in Punjab. After the new borders were revealed on Independence Day, the whole of Punjab, a region the size of Germany, was transformed into an ethnic, religious and sectarian battle zone. In thousands of villages and hundreds of small towns, the respective minorities are attacked, killed and displaced by organized mobs. The colonial power is now finally losing its long-weakened control over the local troops, whose Hindu or Muslim contingents often make common cause with Hindu or Muslim fighting groups. The tour of the Congress in New Delhi initially remains powerless and inactive; In the eastern, in the Indian Punjab, the administration shows itself helpless, in the western, in the Pakistani Punjab it no longer exists.

Huge, often more than 50 kilometers long, refugee treks by Hindus and Sikhs are trying to reach India, while those by Muslim farmers are trying to reach Pakistan. The refugee trains are cities on their feet and often contain more than 30,000 to 50,000 people. The ox-carts, the old, the injured and the children, the cows and goats they took with them, are only making slow progress. The refugee routes from the east often encounter refugee trains from the west. After the first insult and the first stones, days of bloody battles set in. The refugee treks are attacked by militias and mobs from the surrounding villages and towns; the longer they drag, the more vulnerable they become. British pilots report that they flew over Punjab for more than an hour and did not reach the end of those refugee trains. But even for those who flee by train, the flight often leads to death. The trains are stopped and wagons filled with corpses arrive in Ferozpur on the Indian side and in Lahore on the Pakistani side. (Hodson 1969: p. 386-418) The number of those killed in their hometowns or during their flight has never been recorded, and the total number of those displaced by 1948 is based on estimates: "No one knows and no one will ever know the exact figures, but it appears that about 6 million Muslims came into Pakistan and about 5 to 6 million non-Muslims left it. Something like one million of the total died in the process, from starvation, exhaustion, disease, or murder "(Davis 1951 : P. 197). In the largest refugee movement in Indian history, more than 11 million lose their homes; more than half of the Punjab population becomes a refugee.

These mass exodus traumatize those affected, but they do not collapse India, Pakistan or Punjab. The bulk of these refugees are farmers, village artisans and harvest workers, they are settled on the Pakistani side in the Canal Colonies "cleaned up" by the Sikh farmers, on the Indian side in the village quarters and Mohallas "cleared" by the Muslims. The governments and history of both countries ignore the fate of these refugees. Indian historians have only been beginning to question the survivors of these mass exodus and their descendants as part of an "oral history" research for ten years. In Pakistan there is not even this kind of remembrance.

Not all Pakistan refugees settle in villages; more than a million, mostly urban artisans, traders and workers, move to the cities of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province. The large administrative centers and trading cities of the Punjab and the border province, "cleansed" of Hindus and Sikhs, now have an often extremely high proportion of refugees after the forced population swap: Lahore 46%, Lyallpur 70%, Gujranwalla 51%, Rawalpindi 40%, Multan 44 %, Sialkot 33% (Government of Pakistan 1955). Nevertheless, the common language of Punjabi, a similarity of the rural or urban occupational situation and the ability and willingness to come to terms with local caste, tribal and "Biraderi" networks, all of this leads to the fact that these refugees quickly culturally and economically be socially and politically integrated. They do not establish their own interest groups, movements, parties or factions.

This radically distinguishes these new Punjabis from a smaller group of refugees called the Mohajir. These refugees do not come from Eastern Punjab, but from northern and central India, from the United Provinces, from Maharashtra, Gujrat and the Dekhan. Most of them lived in cities; they are literate and professionally skilled and many have served in the British administration. They are proficient in Urdu, used by the English on the middle administrative levels, a language of soldiers, garrisons, traders and, ultimately, literary and administrative language that emerged during the Mughal rule. The Mohajir, who come from different districts, can communicate with one another thanks to this language. These dignitaries, magnates, entrepreneurs, lawyers, artists and civil servants formed the relatively enlightened and at the same time religiously correct supra-local Muslim elite that had joined the Muslim League at an early stage and from the outset the demand for Pakistan. Many are politicians, cadres, members of the Muslim League. In allusion to the hijra, the progress of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina, they call themselves "Mohajir", pilgrims. Not all are victims of expulsions and pogroms; many move to the new, ideal state of their own free will. Often they can plan their trip, their "pilgrimage", and some can save and transfer at least part of their wealth.

The flight and pilgrimage of the Mohajir was directed from the beginning on Karachi. Karachi is the capital of the new state. Karachi is chosen not because it is the birthplace of Jinnah, but because this port and trade center is the only developed city in (West) Pakistan besides Lahore, because Jinnah mistrusts the Punjabis and the capital of the Punjab and also because Lahore is close to the new border to India (Frotscher 2005: pp. 88-116). Karachi is de facto a founding of the British colonial power. By 1900, this former fishing village had assumed enormous strategic and commercial importance in less than 60 years. The Persian Gulf is controlled from Karachi, the wheat and sugar of the Punjab and the canal colonies are exported via Karachi; the port square now competes with Bombay, which has existed for three centuries. Since 1900 the city has started to grow even faster: in 1947 around 500,000 people lived in the city, a large number of them Hindus. As civil servants, traders and qualified specialists ("liberal professions") they support British rule and are its beneficiaries. In the summer of independence they are all driven out. The same fate applies to the Hindu populations of the other cities of Sindh, particularly Haidarabad and Sukkur.

It is the more than one million mohajir who now take over the homes and offices of the Hindus. The bulk of the Mohajir, more than 600,000, move to Karachi. More mohajir settle in Haidarabad, Sukkur and other large cities in the Sindh. This settlement of the Mohajir fundamentally changed the character of most cities in Sindh. With far more mohajir coming than Hindus leaving, the cities of Sindh are now turning into bastions of strangers, while the number of city dwellers skyrockets. At the time of partition, Karachi had half a million residents. Around 100,000 Hindus, Hindu officials, authorized signatories, lawyers and doctors, i.e. the backbone of the colonial administration and the large Anglo-Saxon companies and trading companies, are driven out. What remains is a tiny remnant, mostly untouchables, who work as washers or "sweepers", as latrine cleaners or servants. At least 600,000 mohajir crowd into the city. Within a few months, Karachi becomes a metropolis of millions. Now 57 percent of the city's residents are mohajir. Haidarabad, which was the most important political and sacred center of Sindh after Tattha's decline, had fewer than 100,000 people before independence. With the influx, the city now has 240,000 people, 65 percent of the residents are Mohajir. The same applies to Sukkur in the north: In 1951 it had 77,000 inhabitants, 55 percent of whom are Mohajir (Government of Pakistan 1955). Karachi is turning into a huge refugee camp due to this immense and uncontrolled influx. While the wealthy and politically influential Mohajir take over the vacant apartments and villas of the Hindus, hundreds of thousands settle in the open spaces in the center and around the city.

II. Power and loss of power of the mohajir

In the chaos and crush of the refugee city, the first thing to do is to save the new state from collapse and anarchy. Decisions with serious consequences are quickly made. The Sindh, an independent province with a provincial parliament only since 1935, rejected the establishment of the state of Pakistan almost to the end. Karachi is by far the largest city of the Sindh, its gateway to the world and an enormously important source of benefices and taxes. The Sindh government and the predominantly agrarian Sindhelite have gladly granted hospitality to the new government, Jinnah and the Muslim League; but she does not want to lose control of the metropolis. Jinnah has secured the office of Governor General, which is endowed with colonial, autocratic rights of intervention, in order to be able to consolidate the new state in the face of the expected chaos. With the help of these rights, with intrigues and with the help of the manipulation of the Sindh parliament, he and the league government enforce that the Sindh government cedes Karachi to the new state. Karachi becomes the capital of Pakistan and an autonomous government-only area. All of a sudden the Sindhi elite and a first generation of Sindhi nationalists lose control of an object of prestige, investment and manipulation that is important to them.

A state language must be specified for the new state. The national written and administrative language Urdu is enforced. The one around a homogenizing Nation building The league government tried hard to enforce Urdu in the provinces as well. The Punjabi elite support this suggestion because they recognize early on that the best way to consolidate and disguise their demographic and economic primacy in West Pakistan is to identify with the new state without any problems - and then under the pretext of loyalty to the state and the raison d'état to take over. After Urdu became the administrative language of Punjab, the pressure on Sindh increased. However, Sindhi is a literary and administrative language that has been established, used and celebrated for centuries - in stark contrast to Punjabi. Again using authoritarian interventions and political manipulation, Urdu is introduced as the administrative language of Sindh. This measure reinforces a Sindhi (language) nationalism directed against the government and against the Mohajir (Jalal 1990: pp. 8-93).

The new state is ruled by M. A. Jinnah.Although he was born in Karachi, he found his professional advancement and political career in Bombay and northern India. He comes from the Khojja (merchant) community, which is regarded as religiously suspect, he is married to a Parsi woman, he is a secularist and is considered a bad Muslim in the circles of the mullahs and Maulanas, but an indispensable political leader. He is not only "the sole spokesman", returning to Karachi in triumph, he is the exemplary Mohajir (Jalal 1995). Its prime minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, is also a mohajir, as are almost all of his cabinet colleagues. But the parliament, which is now holding its sessions in the splendid building of the relocated Sindh Assembly, consists to a large extent of mohajir and league veterans. Since the entire colonial apparatus in Sindh, (West) Punjab and the border province was largely provided by Hindu officials who have since fled, it is now a matter of filling these posts with qualified Muslims. It is understandable that the government is primarily using the mohajir officials who have fled to Pakistan and are concentrated in Karachi. At all levels and in almost all parts of the country, the administrative apparatus is taken over by Mohajir and initially monopolized. The new state owes its survival to the commitment, loyalty and willingness to make sacrifices of these "(Pakistan) pilgrims" - these refugees believe. In a modification of Ernest Renan's definition of the nation, they have "suffered a lot together, forgot nothing and they still plan to do a lot" - all of this for Pakistan (Renan 1882/1991: p. 41).

A corps d’esprit is developing in this bureaucratic class and state-supporting elite. This ethos is completed by a comprehensible resentment and a realistic assessment. The Mohajir know that they are not welcome in the new host country. Because of the lag in development of the Indus Valley, they consider its inhabitants to be ignorant and superstitious, and its agrarian elites and magnates to be corrupt and irresponsible. They are all considered ungrateful. If the state is not to fall, they, the Mohajir, have to make the painful decisions. During the first four years, however, the balance of power began to shift and a new power alliance was formed: Jinnah died one year after independence, and four years after independence, Jinnah follower and league veteran Liaqat Ali Khan fell victim to an assassination that was never resolved.

With the death of the "great leader" and the "leader of the people" (better: the Mohajir), the heroic phase of the Muslim League is over. There are now power struggles and shifts in power in the center of power and in the administrative apparatus, which are not detailed here, but which lead to a Mohajir-Punjabi alliance. Within this power-sharing and cooperation, however, the mohajir elite are constantly losing influence: In the new art state, three power gaps are evident: the Karachi mohajir initially dominate the state; West Pakistan with around 40 percent of the population dominates politically and militarily East Pakistan - with 60 percent of the population; In West Pakistan, the Punjab dominates economically and ultimately politically the remaining population groups with 60 percent of the population, i.e. Sindhi, Pashtuns, Balutschen, and ultimately the Mohajir as well. (Jaffrelot 2002: pp. 7-48)

In the face of an unspoken consensus that the Bengali majority must be prevented from ruling the state - on the basis of a "one man, one vote" - an alliance of interests between the Mohajir and Punjabi elite formed early on in the West. Due to its population size, the Punjab now quickly provides the most league members and politicians. After months of division and chaos, the Punjab League has ostensibly consolidated, in reality it has now been finally usurped by opportunistic Punjabi magnates and provincial politicians. Since the Punjab has had the highest level of development and education in West Pakistan since British times, Punjabi bureaucrats are now taking over power and administrative positions at all levels.

In the meantime, the colonial military apparatus has also been finally divided between India and Pakistan and reconstituted in (West) Pakistan with British assistance. 80 percent of this army is traditionally recruited from the "martial races", castes and tribes of the Western Punjab that are considered to be able to defend themselves. The rest of the soldiers are mostly Pashtuns. The mohajir are rarely represented in the army, although there are a few mohajir and relatively few Pashtuns in the upper ranks of command. For example, the former dictator Parviz Musharaf is a mohajir. (Jones 2002: pp. 250-280) In the decade after independence - with the help of countless changes of government, political intrigues and staff appointments - a new balance of power, supported by the Mohajir and Punjabi elite, is established. The shift in power is particularly evident at the top of the state, in the office of Governor General and Prime Minister. At the same time, the army provided and empowered by the Punjabis begins to play a decisive role behind the scenes in determining government policy. With the military coup carried out by Ayub Khan in 1958, the army took the stage openly.

The democratization process had been discredited and blocked by attempts by the Mohajir and Punjabi politicians to deny East Pakistan and the Bengali majority unrestricted voting rights. With the coup, the attempt at democratization finally failed. The Mohajir now find themselves in a situation that threatens them in the future with growing powerlessness, influence and insignificance: Pakistan may have been founded as a "Mojahiristan", with the expansion of military rule it threatens to become a "Punjabistan" to transform - in the assessment of these refugees and state elite. (Talbot 2002: pp. 51-62) This shift in power is reflected in a decision characteristic of the "Marshal" and de facto Punjabi Ayub Khan. The capital should no longer be on the south coast and under Mohajir control, but rather be in Punjab and near the central garrison town of Rawalpindi. Here in the south of Rawalpindi, according to the specifications of a Greek planning company, a new capital known as the "City of Islam" is being built. Islamabad's layout is more reminiscent of a military camp than a government center. The military government and parliament are moving to Islamabad before the building is finally completed. To this day, they are under the supervision of the military concentrated in Rawalpindi.

But Karachi again becomes the center of Sindh. The Mohajir are losing political control over the metropolis and fear that they will be dominated by the Sindh voters and parties in the future. If the Mohajir do not want to fall back into powerlessness and insignificance, they must henceforth work together with a far stronger power, from which they distance themselves at the same time for various historical, political and cultural reasons. They are forced to this condominium with the Punjabis because they despise the Sindhelite more and fear them far more; because the Punjabi elites and militaries advocate a strong, centralized Pakistan; because only this power group secures them a still strong, if no longer dominant position in the state apparatus. In 1973 the Mohajir - only 6 percent of the population - made up 30 percent of civil servants in the state's 85,000-person administrative apparatus ("General Administration"), and they made up 34 percent of the elite cadre, the 6,000 "Senior Civil Servants". Even after the Bhutto government, which is committed to Sindhi interests, only imposed a 7.6 percent access quota on the Mohajir, the Mohajir can maintain an above-average presence in the state apparatus. In 1983 they still provided 17 percent of the civil service and 20 percent of the elite cadre - in 1983 134,000 and 12,000 positions. (Samad 2002: 63-84)

In addition to forced cooperation, however, there is growing political distance. The military ruler Ayub Khan tries to legitimize himself democratically in two largely controlled elections. In a presidential election, the Mohajir vote with a large majority for the aged sister of Jinnah, Fatima, who stood against Ayub Khan. In a parliamentary election, the majority of mohajir voters decide against their traditional party, the Muslim League. This has since been re-constituted and taken over by Ayub Khan. The Mohajir do not opt ​​for the so-called worn by the opposition politicians either Council Muslim League. Instead, the overwhelming majority of them now vote for a previously shunned Islamist party, the Jamiat-i-Islami of the fundamentalist Maududi. This donation is characteristic, but not permanent. The Jamiat-i-Islami stands for a fundamentalist Islam, which the majority of the well-educated, highly cultivated and secularist-oriented Mohajir basically rejects. At the same time, the party stands for a highly centralized state, and it propagates those bureaucratic secondary virtues that the mohajir so sorely miss among the locals and in the new state. Above all, however, as a minority and cadre party open to a minority, it stands against the state dominated by the secular military. (Nasr 1994: pp. 3-43)

Since the beginning of the military dictatorship, a new development has emerged: the Mohajir fear that neither their victims nor their merits will be recognized. In order to maintain their weakened position, they cooperate with a state from which they distance themselves politically. They identify with a meritocratic ideal according to which they are entitled to a leadership role. The disregard for this ideal on the part of the local elite is the cause of growing resentment. The ideal and resentment promote a diffuse identity, supported by the Mohaji elite, based on demarcation and self-privilege. This is not yet an ethnic identity. The group is far too heterogeneous in terms of origin, specialization, sectarian orientation and language to be able to conceptualize and represent itself as a uniform ethnic community. Only an identification with the Urdu and the image of the correct Muslim create a minimal unity.

In addition to the mohajir, which has been thrown together from the most diverse areas of origin, the refugee group also includes numerous traditional trader communities. They lived in Karachi as well as in neighboring Gujarat and above all in the trading metropolis of Bombay. It was only after the partition that they concentrated in Karachi. Most of them speak Gujarati and belong to the most varied of Islamic beliefs, often viewed as heterodox. (Aitken 1907: p. 157-180) However, these trading communities carry and monopolize an impressive industrial development that can only unfold within the framework of the laissez-faire economy under Ayub Khan. During the ten years of Ayub Khan's military dictatorship, supported by state aid and loans, the entrepreneurs and banks from these trading communities set up new raw materials, steel and textile industries.

These industries will initially be based primarily in Karachi; they transform the metropolis into by far the largest industrial center in the country. The new wealth not only benefits the city and the mohajir, the new industries also attract impoverished Punjabi farmers as well as daring entrepreneurs, members of the Chinioti group. The industries are thus accelerating the growth and expansion of the metropolitan area. Pakistan's economic, particularly industrial, development is thus triggered and dominated by traditional trading communities, who make up less than 0.1 percent of the population, but control the overwhelming majority of investment capital and shareholdings. Later we speak of 22 families who own more than four fifths of the industrial wealth of the country (Talbot 1999: p. 181).

This also shows the commitment and meritocratic operating principle of the Mohajir in economic development - these refugees believe. When it comes to economic development, too, it is important to push back, control or co-opt the Mohajir - believe the Punjabi and Sindhi elites. The suppression of the mohajir's remaining influence on the administration and control of their economic power will only be possible after a catastrophe that endangers the survival of the state as a whole - the secession and independence of Bangladesh. The decline of Ayub Khan's military rule has been driven forward since 1966 and used by his former foreign minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who comes from a prominent Sindhi family. The latter has succeeded in founding a new people's party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, which, at least in opposition to Ayub Khan's military rule, has achieved the impossible: The PPP is based on a politically moderate Sindhi (linguistic) nationalism and a majority of voters des Sindh, but at the same time the PPP can secure the votes and elite support in Punjab that are necessary to secure the election victory in (West) Pakistan. (Wolpert 1993: pp. 100-245)

After the military itself forced Ayub Khan to resign, the military chief of the transitional government, Yahya Khan, held elections. In order to finally solve the problem of the appropriate political weighting of East Pakistan, which has only been postponed by the dictatorship, these elections will be held for the first time on the principle of "one man, one vote". In East Pakistan, the Awami League, which was swiftly advocating de facto secession, was then, predictably, winning, while in West Pakistan the uncompromising PPP advocating unity of the country won. An intervention by the West Pakistani military, a massacre, a civil war in East Pakistan, and finally the establishment of Bangladesh are the consequences of the politics and the election victory of the two parties. Z. A. Bhutto, who is partly responsible for this disaster, becomes the celebrated savior of the remaining (West) Pakistan. He does not have to fear the humiliated military and can now meet Sindhi demands to strengthen his position, as long as these do not harm Punjabi interests. His policy is thus at the expense of the mohajir.

Bhutto gives the country a democratic constitution, but above all he is giving (West) Pakistan back its provincial federalism, which was taken from it by Ayub Khan's "One Unit Scheme": According to this scheme, West and East Pakistan were each declared a "unit" , Both units - contrary to the majority of the population in the east - were each allocated half of the seats in the national parliament. This was intended to avert the danger of a political majority on the part of the Bengali. At the same time, however, the military apparatus and the Mohajir-Punjabielite were given the role of referee. The return to federalism and the re-establishment of the Sindh province, government and parliament must lead to a power confrontation between the Sindhi majority and the Mohajir minority. (Choudhury 1993)

Karachi is now the political capital of Sindh again, and Parliament is sitting in its old splendid building again. But the Mohajir now have to assert themselves politically against the almost three times stronger majority of the Sindhis. In 1996 the ratio is 8 million mohajir versus 22 million Sindhis. From now on, the Mohajir have to make agreements with one of the two large popular parties, the PPP consolidated in Sindh or the resurrected Muslim League, or, as before, get involved with the meaningless Jamiat-i-Islami. In any case, their inevitable political vulnerability and their new dependence - on provincial governments and politicians - force them to formulate their common interests and to increase their cultural, social or political cohesion in the future.

How vulnerable they are now in their own bastion and in their preferred occupational or economic sectors is shown by three far-reaching decisions by the Bhutto, i.e. the PPP, government. These measures are justified as contributions to the democratic, administrative or economic development of Pakistan, but they directly weaken the career opportunities and the position of the Mohajir: (1) After the re-establishment of the Sindh Province, the Sindh government can also decide which administrative and teaching language should apply. Sindhi is expected to be reintroduced as a provincial language. The measure gives Bhutto great popularity, exacerbates language antagonism in public life and increases the resentment of the Mohajir. (2) Bhutto wants to modernize the state apparatus and at the same time open it up to everyone, especially to the hitherto excluded groups. For this purpose, quotas are set for the parts of the country; Punjab receives 50.0%, the border province 11.5%, Baluchistan 3.5%, the north and the tribal areas (FATA) 4.0%, Azad Kashmir 2.0%. These quotas roughly correspond to the proportion of the respective population groups. In the case of Sindh, to which 19 percent would be due, a distinction is made between urban Sindh with 7.6 percent and rural Sindh with 11.4 percent.The aim of the measure is to ensure that the mohajir inflows can be reduced to below 8 percent and that the far more highly educated mohajir - as Sindh residents - do not benefit from a 19 percent Sindh quota.

The measure triggers massive protests on the part of the Mohajir. So far, they have shared control of the administrative apparatus with the Punjabis: Punjabis 49 percent, Mohajir 30 percent; in addition, 11 percent served Pashtuns in the state apparatus. In the elite squad, 97 percent of the civil servants come from these three groups. The Mohajir counter the demand for an appropriate participation of all groups with their ideal of fair performance (Jaffrelot 2002: p. 23). At the same time, they point out that as people without a land and without power they can only find advancement and work on the basis of their educational achievements and skills. (3) A third measure is aimed against the largest families of entrepreneurs and bankers who come from the Karachi trading communities, but also affects their clients, employees and followers, i.e. many mohajir. (Duncan 1989: pp. 77-97)

Already in the end times of Ayub Khan, Mahbub ul Haq, the "architect" of the Pakistani economic upswing, complained in a sensational speech that 22 families controlled almost all industrial companies, banks and trading houses in the country. This complaint about the alleged enrichment and privilege of a tiny class had contributed to Ayub Khan's decline in authority. But only Bhutto has the necessary mass support and constellation of interests to disempower these leading families. After the new constitution was passed, he nationalized the leading industrial companies and banks. The socialist and populist measure gives Bhutto popularity with the Sindhis and the poor, makes the leading entrepreneurial families submissive and secures new areas of influence for the PPP and the civil servants. Under the rule of an at least initially Sindhi nationalist party, the Mohaji elite once again lost political and economic influence. She sees her career prospects as limited, she has to subordinate herself to provincial politicians at the regional level and make political arrangements with the PPP. (Zaidi 1992: pp. 334-361)

She finds herself thrown back on her last refuge, the cities of Sindh, especially Karachi. But even here the Mohaji elite see their supremacy and dominance threatened by "insiders" who have immigrated as refugees within Pakistan and are increasingly organizing themselves politically. These are primarily the Pashtuns, whose weight and influence increased enormously after the onset of the Afghanistan conflict. In order to understand this confrontation between Mohajir and Pashtun refugees, it is necessary to first analyze the principle of movement in this metropolis, which has grown rapidly from the beginning.

Continuation: The Mohajir in Karachi, Pakistan - Flight and Politics (II)

This article is part of the focus: South Asia Experts Special: Jakob Rösel.