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Haqiqi Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM-H), Terrorist Group of Pakistan

The Haqiqi Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM-H) is a splinter outfit of the erstwhile Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM), which is now known as the Muttahida Quami Mahaz (MQM-A) of Altaf Hussain. Disagreements between Altaf Hussain and the then MQM’s two prominent militant leaders, Afaq Ahmed and Aamir Khan had first surfaced towards the end of 1991. The formal split and formation of the MQM (H) came about in June 1992 after Operation Cleanup launched by Pakistani security forces in Karachi. The dissidents attached Haqiqi meaning real or authentic in Urdu as a suffix to the MQM acronym as an assertion of the outfit's legitimacy. Many former MQM members who were expelled from the Altaf faction due to alleged criminal links joined the Haqiqi faction.

Ever since the formation of the MQM (H), Karachi and other urban regions of Sindh have been rocked by internecine clashes within the majority Mohajir community. There were several incidents of targeted killings whereby terrorists of one faction would attack members or sympathisers of the other. These had peaked in 1997 and several bystanders too were killed in these attacks. In June, the headquarters of the MQM (H) was attacked by suspected MQM (A) terrorists which sparked off a series of attacks by each faction targeted at the other and over sixty people were killed in the month.

Prior to this, the violent clashes in these areas were between Mohajir militants and extremists of other ethnic communities such as the Sindhis, Pathans and Punjabis. The MQM (A) has consistently accused Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies of creating and fostering the MQM (H) in order to weaken the Mohajir movement. Several Pakistani analysts have endorsed this accusation.

The level of violence in Karachi and other urban regions of Sindh have declined. Several strong-arm measures taken by the Pakistan government, including repeated crackdowns initiated by police and army units since 1992 has considerably weakened both factions of the MQM. In 1998, several crackdowns were initiated and scores of activists of both factions were either arrested or killed in encounters. Since then, there have been only isolated reports of clashes between the two factions such as the February 2000 killing of an MQM (A) activist and the killing of an MQM (H) activist in December 2001. Either faction has claimed several victims of criminal violence, and the other faction would be blamed. Police sources largely reject these claims.

On the ideological front, the MQM (H) claims that continuing socio-economic and political injustices have alienated the Mohajirs and compelled them to seek a separate province within the geographical boundary of Pakistan. The outfit also asserts that if the rights of the Mohajirs are not accepted, demands for a separate province would get accentuated. The MQM (H) also asserts that any decision regarding the division of Sindh would have to be taken by the Federal government in consultation with the provincial leadership. It has also pointed out that demanding a separate province within the limits of Pakistan should not be construed as being against the integrity of the country.

The MQM (A), however, accuses the Haqiqi faction of involvement in extortion in Karachi and that the latter merely ‘serves the interests’ of the Pakistani government. The Rangers, a security force of the Federal government is often accused by the MQM (A) of having close links with the MQM (H). According to the MQM (A) chief, Altaf Hussain the MQM (H) is bereft of any agenda of its own.

The MQM (H) has survived without the sort of political mandate enjoyed by the Altaf Hussain group and controls certain neighbourhoods in Karachi by force. In 1997-98, the MQM (A), which as a coalition partner of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief’s, Pakistan Muslim League, had repeatedly accused the MQM (H) of creating ‘no-go areas’ in Karachi, localities where MQM (H) activists were preventing MQM (A) activists from entering. But MQM (H) leader Afaq Ahmed while denying the existence of "no-go areas" maintains that it is a "baseless term". According to the Haqiqi faction, these are the areas where the MQM-A and his cadres have unleashed a reign of terror. News reports also mention that Malir, Landhi, Shah Faisal Colony and Korangi areas which were the strong holds of MQM (A) till a short while ago are now under the control of the Haqiqi faction.

According to recent news reports, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) is backing the Haqiqi faction. These sources indicate that sectarian killings leading up to the Masjid-e-Hur massacre in Karachi, on October 10, 1999 in which nine persons were killed, had targeted non-Mohajirs, and even in this incident, the victims were primarily Punjabis who comprise the majority of the residents in that area. At the other end, the MQM (A) is reported to be aligned with the Shia sectarian parties, a factor corroborated by the fact that there has largely been no sectarian strife in the areas of Karachi under the MQM (A) influence, which includes the portion of district Central where the large Shia community of Rizvia Colony is located.

* The Mohajir community comprises of refugees who moved to the newly created Pakistan after the August 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent. Most of these refugees were natives of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which became part of the Indian republic after the Partition.






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