Why we don’t need a Mohajir province
A dormant phenomenon has recently become active; the movement for a separate province for the Mohajir people. This movement was pioneered by the Mohajir Rabita Council – a political movement which started in Hyderabad, Sindh.
It should be noted that it is not just the Mohajir community that is asking for their rights; Pakistan’s history is loaded with separatist tendency right from 1947.
An excellent research paper is presented by Mohammed Waseem, titled “The Political Ethnicity and the State of Pakistan”. Mohammed Waseem talks about the separatist tendencies which grew in the Baloch, Sindhi, Mohajir, Bengali, and Pashtoon people of Pakistan. He also outlines their aims and highlights what was achieved.
It is against this background that the Mohajir province movement evolved. The Mohajir Rabita Council has been holding large rallies for the disintegration of Sindh and has also published a new map.
This map includes all the important districts of lower Sindh, including Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, and Mirpurkhas, in the Mohajir province that is being demanded. These districts are the economic engine of Sindh.
This brings me to the question, is the Mohajir province even feasible in the present conditions?
I don’t think so.
The centralist attitude by the rulers of Punjab is not a major problem any more. The country is not like the old federation it used to be, where the centre had all the power to decide what’s best for the country.
The 18th amendment has changed the political balance of power; the concurrent list has been abolished, National Finance Commission (NFC) awards have been announced, and the federation is compensating provinces through the federal divisible pool.
It is only the economy of a country which keeps a nation together – not religion, love or language. The Mohajirs won’t gain new taxes by carving out a land for themselves; the feudals will still control the assemblies and agricultural heartlands of Pakistan and the economy will remain in their hands.
The Pakistani middle-class and lower middle-class (99% of our population) doesn’t have a voice in this economic system. The need of the hour is to change the economy rather than the geography of Sindh.
The call for a separate province might lead to ethnic killings in interior Sindh – a region where a large Mohajir community is living happily with the Sindhi speaking community. I, myself, am a testimony to this good relationship. Most people have been living here after migrating from India in 1947. A second migration inside Pakistan would only lead to excessive bloodshed.
It should also be noted that the major representatives of the Mohajir community, the MQM, is against the idea of any territorial redistribution of Sindh.
A province can only be made if the provincial assembly of Sindh accepts a resolution on the creation of a new province. The MQM has never filed in a resolution, signalling it will never support territorial redistribution.
Moreover, a unanimous resolution was passed against the disintegration of Sindh. If the third largest political party of Pakistan and the largest party of Karachi, is speaking against the idea of a new province, it can easily be deduced that the idea has no political support.
I think the idea of provincialism might face the same end as Napoleon in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Most great revolutions end the same ways as that one ended; Hitler spoke for the Deutsches Lebensraum (German’s living space) and conquered Poland, Hungary, Austria, France, and Denmark.
However, in the end, he was killing the common Berliners and ended up breaking Germany into West and East Germany. Lebensraum for Mohajirs will only end up discriminating among themselves.
Summing up, the call for a separate province is more of a divergence tactic rather than an answer to the real problems facing the Pakistani society.
After the 18th amendment, innovative ways should be sought to tilt the balance of power towards Sindh – this will help all the communities, including the Mohajir people.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.