World Muhajir Congress Press Conference
August 14, 2017
Dear Journalists, and other media representatives:
On behalf of World Muhajir Congress, I welcome you all at WMC’s first news conference and thank you all for your presence here today.
The name World Muhajir Congress, or WMC, may perhaps be relatively new, but I’m sure most of you, if not all, must have heard or read about it.
World Muhajir Congress is a Human Rights and Advocacy organization that strives to represent those secular ethnic Muhajirs and -or immigrants- whose ancestors had migrated to Pakistan following the partition of India in 1947 and the majority of whom had settled in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, mainly the port city of Karachi. These Muhajirs, whose main language is Urdu and whose population is now over 50 million in Pakistan, are the most educated as well as the most liberal and enlightened ethnic group in Pakistan. Even though successive military and civilian governments have deliberately tried to delay, engineer and manipulate census figures with a view to show Muhajir population way less than it actually is, we have documents that back up our position that Muhajirs constitute over one third of Pakistan’s population.
The Creation of Pakistan and the Role of Muhajirs: A Brief Overview
By the early twentieth century, it had become evident that the British rule in India would sooner or later come to an end and the people of India will eventually take control of their own affairs. Muslim leadership in India’s Muslim-minority provinces feared that Muslims living in Hindu-majority areas, such as UP, CP and Bihar, would be left in a highly disadvantageous position following the departure of the British, thus the creation of Muslim League a Political Party and to demand rights for Muslim. The center for Muslim politics was in the Muslim-minority provinces areas, not the areas where Muslims were in majority, or the areas where Pakistan was created.
Muslims living in Muslim-majority areas may have superiority in numbers but they were far behind their Hindu counterparts economically, socially, educationally, culturally and politically. Over 90% of their economy was under the control of Hindus. For instance, 82% land in West Punjab and 70% land in Sindh was owned by Hindus. Even the land Muslims in Sindh owned had been mortgaged. After Punjab, Sindhis are the biggest beneficiaries of Pakistan’s creation.
The founders of Pakistan had centered their demand for Muslim rights on the notion that ‘India was home to mainly two nations: Hindus and Muslims.’ They argued that stark religious differences between the two required a permanent constitutional and political solution. This idea of separation between Hindus and Muslims was termed as the “Two-Nation Theory.” This very theory turned out to be the basis for the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Muslims in the Hindu-majority areas of India were at the fore-front of the movement for Muslim rights and made huge sacrifices for their rights as well as for the creation of Pakistan. It was mainly their sacrifices that made the creation of Pakistan possible. History is witness to the fact that Muslims in the Muslim-majority Punjab and other provinces remained aloof from Pakistan Movement until 1946.
When the British eventually announced their decision to leave India and divide the Indian Sub-continent into two countries, India and Pakistan, it turned out that the founders of Pakistan had made no plans in place for the future of Muslims living in the Hindu-majority areas, those Muslims who were the main driving force in the Pakistan Movement. No plans had been made for the transfer of population of Hindu and Muslim population from India and Pakistan either. Similarly, no legal and constitutional safeguards had been put in place for the protection of Muslim minorities living in India and Hindu minorities living in Pakistan.
This resulted in total chaos following the announcement of the Partition of India and led to widespread communal riots, massacres, rape, looting and plunder. An estimated two million human lives were lost in the ensuing blood bath. A large number of Muslims from Muslim-minority provinces of India wanted to migrate to their new homeland, Pakistan, for which they had lost everything. But only less than half were allowed in Pakistan as the borders were soon closed to stop the influx of Muslims from India to Pakistan, leaving Muslims in India with a perpetual sense of betrayal.
This question still baffles our minds today: If Muslims in India had to live with a Hindu majority, then why was Pakistan created? And what to make of the so-called Two-Nation Theory? We would like to say that this was just the beginning of a long history of betrayal and fraud committed against Muhajirs that continues to this very day by Pakistan.
Muhajirs in Pakistan
The misery of those who were lucky enough to survive mindless communal violence and managed to migrate to Pakistan didn’t just end there: In Pakistan, they were never accepted as its true citizens. In a highly ethnized Pakistan, where people preferred to be identified as Punjabis, Pushtoons, Balochis, and Sindhis, Muhajirs were mocked when they identified themselves as Pakistanis. They were ridiculed with pejorative terms such as Makkar, Tiliar, Matarway, and Panahgeer (refugees).
Since August 2013 Muhajir Nation is facing a renewed crackdown: enforced disappearances, forced change of political loyalties, political victimization and torture at the hands of Pakistan’s Military Establishment, particularly the ISI, are a daily occurrence. In over 15,000 raids at the houses of Muhajirs, 0ver 10,000 Muhajirs have been arrested, of which 0ver 1,200 still remain prison without under fabricated charges. Hundreds have gone missing and scores have been killed extrajudicially. WGEID, the United Nations’ group dealing with enforced disappearances, has documented hundreds of cases of disappearances of Muhajir political workers in Pakistan in its last 11 quarterly reports.
Here is a precise bullet-points summary of some of the major acts injustices and prejudice that Muhajirs had to put up with in Pakistan right from its inception:
Pakistani borders were closed to stop the influx of Muhajirs from India.
Millions of Indians from both sides of the border migrated to their new homelands. They left behind their businesses and millions of acres of land behind. To compensate these immigrants, an evacuee trust treaty was signed in 1950 between Pakistan and India called Liaquat-Nehru Pact. The treaty stipulated that immigrants on both sides would be compensated by granting them the property left behind by their counterparts. India fully honored its commitment and justly compensated every immigrant. However, the same didn’t happen to Muhajirs who came to Pakistan and only a tiny fraction of their compensation claims were granted.
In 1948, Pakistan’s founder Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah died in mysterious circumstances.
In 1951, Pakistan’s first Muhajir Prime Minister and one of the founding leaders Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in Punjab’s city of Rawalpindi. His real assassins were never apprehended.
In 1958, Pakistan’s first army dictator General Ayub Khan dismissed hundreds of top Muhajir bureaucrats from government jobs soon after taking over the control without foundation.
In 1959, First capital of Pakistan was moved from Muhajir-majority city Karachi to Punjab, resulting in job losses to hundreds of thousands of Muhajirs.
Ms. Fatima Jinnah, sister of Pakistan’s founder Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was made to lose highly rigged presidential elections in 1965 by army dictator General Ayub Khan.
General Ayub Khan’s son Gohar Ayub led armed mob of men from KP province to attack Muhajir localities in Karachi following controversial victory of Mr Ayub Khan in 1965. Hundreds of homes were set on fire and scores of Muhajirs were killed. International media reported these attacks and wrote “Muhajirs were penalized/punished for siding with the sister of Pakistan’s founder”.
Ms. Fatima Jinnah was found dead in her house in mysterious circumstances.
Pakistan disintegrated in 1971 when the majority Bengali population in the former East Pakistan rose up against Punjabi-dominated West Pakistan’s refusal to accept Bengali leader Mujibur Rahman’s victory in the elections of 1971. Hundreds of thousands of Urdu-speaking Muhajirs sided with Pakistan and supported Pakistan Army in the former East Pakistan to save Pakistan. 93,000 soldiers of Pakistan Army eventually surrendered before the Indian Army and the Bengali insurgents and were brought back to Pakistan. A quarter of a million Muhajirs who had sided with Pakistan were never allowed to come back to Pakistan and the surviving still languish in Red Cross Camps in now Bangladesh in horrid conditions.
Throughout the 1970s, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Urdu-speaking Muhajirs were forced to flee from rural Sindh to Karachi when armed mobs of Sindhis attacked their homes and farms under the protection of the Sindhi-majority Pakistan People’s Party government of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Properties of Muhajirs were confiscated after being looted by armed Sindhi nationalists.
Urdu was replaced as official language of Sindh province by the Sindhi language.
In 1971, the army dictator General Yahya Khan in connivance with Sindhi Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto imposed a repressive and unjust quota system on a rural and urban basis in Sindh province only. Mr. Bhutto’s PPP later legislated this order to impose this repressive system for 10 years. The minority rural population was allocated 60 percent quota in educational institutions and government jobs. This highly unjust system had been imposed for 10 years but has always been extended since by successive governments whether civilian or military.
In the mid 1980s, dozens of Muhajir towns throughout Sindh, Karachi and Hyderabad in particular, were attacked by armed men under the patronage of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies. Thousands of unarmed, innocent Muhajirs were killed, injured and maimed for life in those attacks; women were raped and properties were either looted or set on fire. Ali-Garh, Qasbah Colony, Hyderabad, Pakka Qila, Jalalabad are just a few of many places that were attacked. Not a single attacker of those attacks has ever been arrested, let alone prosecuted.
In the early 1990s, Pakistani law enforcement agencies killed over 20,000 Muhajirs belonging to Muhajir party MQM in staged encounters. Two Pakistani elected governments were sacked on charges of these extrajudicial executions but no official was ever arrested or punished.
Muhajirs form majority population in Sindh but NO Muhajir has even been allowed to become Chief Minister of Sindh even when a Muhajir party was the major-partner in coalition government.
Karachi’s population is always deliberately reduced in census. It is on record that Interior Secretary of provincial government in Sindh in 1972 had reduced Karachi’s population by more than one half on the orders of PPP’s founder and former Prime Minister Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
Karachi generates nearly 70 percent revenue for the national exchequer and over 90 percent for the provincial, but is given less then 2 percent of that revenue for its own needs.
Muhajirs are not accepted in Pakistan Army, Sindh Police, intelligence agencies, diplomatic jobs and other important national institutions irrespective of their education, experience.
Barring an absolutely ceremonial president, NO Muhajir holds an important office in Pakistan.
What WMC Stands For
World Muhajir Congress believes in religious freedom and harmony. Its philosophy of a clear separation between state and religion is consistent with ideals enshrined in the Constitution of the United States of America. These are also the very ideals that the founder of Pakistan Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah had unequivocally stated in his address to the First Legislative/Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in 1948:
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation.”
“Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”.
Unfortunately, Mr Jinnah’s brilliant vision of a secular Pakistan could never see the daylight and Pakistan’s Punjabi-dominated Army took control of the country’s foreign, domestic and economic policy from the day one. In order to keep Pakistan’s other ethnic groups in check, Punjabi Military Establishment doctored a new, engineered, fake, interpretation of Pakistan’s ideology and started to turn Pakistan into a theocratic state. It has attempted to make Pakistan and religion Islam synonymous with each other so that any voice that attempts to challenge injustices in Pakistan could be silenced in the name of religion. This policy is now in place with more intensity than ever. Religious proxies established by Pakistan’s Punjabi Military Establishment are thriving in every part of the country and being unleashed against any dissenting voice. Freedom of expression is branded as blasphemy and the violators are hunted down by both the military agencies and religious extremists. The punishment is either disappearance at the hands of law enforcement agencies or lynching at the hands of jingoistic mobs or religious extremists. The result is that Osama-bin-Laden, Mullah Omar, Hafiz Saeed and the likes are national heroes in Pakistan whereas Nobel Laureate Malala Yusufzai is forced to live in exile.
Pakistan’s premier spy agency, ISI, is the biggest promoter and sponsor of religious extremism in Pakistan, in the region as well as globally. It is a state-within-state and its mindless policies have turned Pakistan into ‘epicenter of terrorism’ worldwide. Osama-bin-Laden, world’s most wanted man and the chief of murderous Al-Qaeda, was given refuge in Pakistan’s garrison city Abbotabad until American CIA traced his whereabouts and US marines killed him. The mastermind of 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was found in Pakistan. Mullah Omar was allowed to comfortably live in Pakistan until he died naturally at a big-name hospital in Karachi. Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh and hundreds of other terrorists were captured by the CIA from Pakistan.
There are credible reports that al-Qaeda’s current chief Aiman-uz-Zawahiri still lives in Pakistan and freely roams between Karachi and Quetta. Credible global publications have also published reports citing US Army and CIA sources that notorious Haqqani network and Taliban Quetta Shura are both operating from Pakistan under the protection and supervision of the ISI. The neighbors of Pakistan, Afghanistan in particular, have been blaming ISI for unrest in their countries. World’s most wanted terrorists from Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS are being given refuge in Pakistan today instead of facing charges for murder and war crimes.
Pakistan’s Military Establishment is also using religious extremist groups as proxies against secular Muhajirs and Balochs. These groups have established their terrorist bases in Karachi and its outskirts where law enforcement agencies never dare to step into those areas. Jihadist groups have even established their own Sharia courts dispensing their own form of justice. Flagging, beheading and imputations are a routine occurrence in those areas. The same law enforcement agencies who seem incapable of taking any action against these heavily armed terrorists, on the other hand, routinely pick up, torture, kill and dump bodies of Muhajirs and Balochis in Sindh and Balochistan on a daily basis.
We want to reiterate here that the US-led ‘war on terrorism’ could not be won without addressing the core issue of extremism and militancy in Pakistan. Every year, the USA pays hundreds of millions of dollars in Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan for its ‘actions against wanted terrorists.’ This policy doesn’t make any sense as this means the USA is rewarding Pakistan for its failure to stop the emergence of these terrorists on its soil on a regular basis. Arresting, prosecuting and sentencing these terrorists MUST BE Pakistan’s job anyways. It must be penalized, not rewarded, for its failure to prevent the use of its soil being used by terrorists on a regular basis.
Following growing pressure from the international community, Pakistan’s Military Establishment has shifted most of its proxies to Karachi and even highly credible publications and sources in the USA have confirmed this in their recent reports. We want to remind the world that Karachi is a not just the powerhouse of Pakistan’s economy; it is also a very important city strategically. All the NATO and US supply routes go through Karachi, magnifying the strategic geopolitical location of the city. According to a recent UN report, Islamic State outsources terror attacks to Pakistan based outfits and a large number of them are reportedly operating from Karachi. The 9/11 attacks were planned out in the caves of Afghanistan but their impact jolted the entire world. Now with the resources provided to these extremist religious groups by the ISI, imagine the magnitude of impact they can have, working out of a major economic city like Karachi. It is clear evident that Pakistan’s Military Establishment wants to handover this city to religious extremists and this is the main reason behind successive deadly military operations against secular Muhajirs and their representative political party.
In addition, With the recent investment by China in Pakistan via CPEC, we are concerned about the impact of growing Chinese influence in Karachi and Balochistan. Muhajirs and Balochs have grave reservations on the CPEC deal.
We urge US Congress and Trump Administration to cut off military aid to Pakistan until Pakistani Military Establishment complies with international human rights charters and covenants and agrees to allow Muhajirs and other ethnic and religious groups to live a life of dignity. World Muhajir Congress offers unconditional support to US administration in efforts to eradicate terrorism and terror sanctuaries.
WMC stands firmly against religious extremism and acts of mindless terrorism being committed in Pakistan, in South Asia and globally. WMC’s goal is to eradicate terrorism in all its manifestations and promote peace, security and stability in the region as well as globally.
WMC believes in justice and equality for all, regardless of race, religion, sect, ethnicity and gender. It wants equal opportunities for women and ethnic and religious minorities. It believes in merit, rule of law and supremacy of Judiciary and Constitution.
About WMC Leadership
We all once were part of Muhajirs’ mainstream political party, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM). We admit that MQM’s founder and leader Mr Altaf Hussain gave Muhajirs the voice that they desperately needed. He united them/us. He gave them a voice and turned into a formidable political and social force in Pakistan. We not only admit all of this, we also give him full credit for this. We have the utmost respect for what he has done for this oppressed and voiceless Muhajir Nation. We believe that he truly deserves to be called Father of the Muhajir Nation because he is the one who took them out of oblivion and turned into a united nation. But we believe he should not have converted Muhajir Quami Movement into Muttahida Quami Movement. We also believed that once he had united Muhajirs into a formidable political force, he should have demanded a piece of land for them with at least autonomy in domestic matters: he must have demanded redesigning of Pakistan instead of demanding the abolition of feudal system or the rights for all middle-class people.
We have now severed our association with MQM. We have officially resigned from MQM and have become part of WMC. We appeal to every Muhajir who are based overseas to join us and work for a permanent resolution of Muhajirs’ grievances. We also invite Mr Altaf Hussain to join us and take the command of WMC. We would be glad to work under his leadership at WMC.
We firmly believe that Pakistan’s current structure is absolutely flawed and unworkable. It is not even consistent with what Sir Mohammad Iqbal, the so-called visionary behind the idea of Pakistan’s creation, had actually proposed. Here I quote from the 1940 Lahore Resolution that was used as the basis for the demand of Pakistan:
“Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units’ are demarcated into regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute “independent States” in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.
That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultations with them and in other parts of (British) India where the Mussalmans (Muslims) are in a majority adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them.”
As you can see, the 1940 Resolution had clearly demanded creation of Muslim-majority ‘states’ and not an autocratic Federation that Pakistan has turned out to be. We now believe that only creation of multiple states of the current Pakistan is the ultimate solution to the ethnic as well as religious problems that Pakistan is facing. Muhajirs, of all, deserve autonomy in the region where they form majority as they are the ones who have made most sacrifices for Pakistan.
We believe that the current federal system in Pakistan has failed its ethnic minorities. It was also responsible for the breakup of Pakistan in 1971. The current system benefits only one province, i.e. Punjab, and its army. The rest of the country, Muhajirs and Balochs in particular, are the biggest victim of this unjust system. We, therefore, completely reject it. We believe that it is now time to break Pakistan into small autonomous constituent states, or administrative units, with a loose federation having minimal power and equal representation at federation as well as in the army.
We would like to make it clear that we hold absolutely no grudge against common Punjabis or any other law abiding Pakistani. We DO NOT hate anyone nor want to fight with anyone. We just want, and we fully deserve, a life of dignity for Muhajirs as well as for all ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan.
We, are currently fine tuning our final proposals and plans and will welcome any suggestion. Through today’s press conference, we request all ethnic minorities in Pakistan, philosophers, anthropologists, political experts and analysts to please send us what they believe could best serve and protect the interests and inspirations of ethnic Muhajirs, Balochs, Pashtuns, Saraikis, Sindhis, people of Gilgit, Hazarah and all other minorities.
It should also be noted that the 1940 Resolution had been drafted by Sir Zafarullah Khan, an Ahmadi, and had been presented by Molve Fazle Haq, a Bengali. Ahmadis have been declared as non-Muslims in Pakistan and Bengalis, who were majority ethnic group in Pakistan, have seceded in 1971 after being subjected to inhuman massacres and rapes by the Pakistani Military
World Muhajir Congress is holding meetings with US lawmakers, think-tanks, diplomats and human rights organizations to appraise them of the plight of Muhajirs in Pakistan. We are thankful to Congressman Judge Ted Poe for raising the plight of Muhajirs and its issue in US Congress.
We are determined to take the case of oppressed Muhajirs to the United Nation and US decision making bodies to seek their intervention to stop the genocide of Muhajirs in Pakistan as well as to get their support in finding a permanent solution of Muhajir issues and the issue of Pakistan Army-sponsored terrorism worldwide.
Main Objectives of WMC
The main objective of WMC is to appraise the world of racial discrimination, injustices, human rights violations and genocide that Muhajirs have been facing in Pakistan right from the inception of the country. More than 20,000 Muhajirs have been extra judicially killed in army led operations in Karachi since 1992. Thousands are displaced and missing.
In order to continue to take up the case of the Muhajir nation at all relevant international forums, WMC needs the help of every Muhajir. We would take this opportunity to appeal to all Muhajirs to come forward and donate generously to this noble cause. Are bank account information can be found here:
ABA Routing No. 055003298
7815 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda MD 20814
World Muhajir Congress
Acct. No. 200280402
We (WMC) wish to thank you all once again for attending this press conference. We are now open to questions. Thank you