In the early 1970s, Pakistan’s Military dictator General Yahya Khan colluded with Pakistani Military’s blue-eyed, Sindhi-speaking politician Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and imposed a quota system in Sindh Province for government jobs and admissions in state-run professional educational institutions. Mr. Bhutto was also the chairman of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP). Under this highly discriminatory Quota System, Sindh’s rural population was granted 60 percent quota in all government jobs and professional educational institutions, whereas a mere 40 percent was reserved for the province’s majority urban population.
The justification for this unjust Quota System: Sindh’s rural population was far behind in education and other job skills in comparison with its urban counterpart, so it was ‘necessary’ to give it preferential treatment to bring at par with urban population. It was a terrible excuse for such urban and rural disparity was very much consistent with every other country in the world including Pakistan where rural population in Punjab, Khayber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan fared no differently.
The real reason, which was not mentioned, was different: majority population in Sindh’s urban areas comprised of Urdu-speaking Mohajirs who had migrated to Pakistan from India whereas rural population was native Sindhi-speaking. Both General Yahya Khan and Mr. Bhutto wanted to systematically purge Mohajirs from government as well as educational institutions. Since no such urban and rural ethnic division had existed in any other province, no preferential quota was introduced for the so-called ‘deprived rural population’ in any other province.
Military Dictator General Yahya Khan first imposed this unjust Quota System through an official notification. When Mr. Bhutto took control of West Pakistan’s government after the Eastern part became Bangladesh, the highly biased Sindhi-dominated PPP government had the National Parliament pass a law that officially imposed Quota System in Sindh Province for ten years. To pacify an angry urban population in Sindh, Mr. Bhutto announced that this law will not be extended after ten years. However, when Military Dictator General Zia-ul-Haq seized power after a military coup in July 1977, he extended the Quota System for another ten years.
A highly biased and inhuman law that had been passed for ten years only still remains intact in Sindh and generation after generation of Mohajirs have been brutally penalized under the garb of this system.
The tale of this unfair treatment of Mohajirs doesn’t just end here: the meager 40% that had been reserved for majority urban population was never ever honored. Sindhi-dominated governments have generously issued fake urban domiciles to rural candidates and have employed them on urban quota. As a result, there is absolutely NO REPRESENTATION of Urdu-speaking Mohajirs in any official institutions in Pakistan, including Pakistan’s security forces. It is impossible to find any Urdu-speaking Mohajir, the majority ethnic group in Sindh’s urban areas, in Karachi Police or Paramilitary Rangers. The non-local law enforcement agencies treat people of Karachi just as money-making machine, extorting billions of rupees in bribe from them.
Because of this decades-old denial of rights, Mohajir youths have been left with no other option but to indulge in petty crimes to meet ends.
This is a living human tragedy that continues to unfold in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi every single day. Please play your part and save ethnic Urdu-speaking Mohajirs from blatant discrimination and injustices in Pakistan
– By Nadeem Nusrat