United National Movement

Published 18th April, 2013

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was founded in 1984 by Altaf Hussain, having grown out of the All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization which started in 1978. The party was originally known as the Muhajir Qaumi Movement after the Urdu speaking Muslims, the Muhajirs, who migrated to Pakistan at independence. However, in 1997 the party was re-named the Mutahida (United) Quami Movement and developed a broader support.

In the election of 1988 the MQM went into coalition with the Pakistan People’s Party in Sindh province (PPP) won the highest number of seats in the general election of 1988 and formed a coalition government in Sindh province. Despite the fact a 59-point agreement protecting the democratic system, the Karachi Accord, was drawn up, it was not implemented and the alliance broke up in 1989.

In the 1990 elections, the MQM won 15 seats and emerged as the third strongest party in the country. At that time it went into alliance with Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and formed the Sindh provincial government in Sindh whilst the PML formed the federal government.

The MQM suffered during Operation Clean-Up which started in 1992. It was a move by the government to eliminate terrorists irrespective of their political affiliation and there was a crack-down on the party. Altaf Hussain had already left Pakistan after facing imprisonment and an assassination attempt and he continued to lead the MQM from London.

The MQM boycotted the 1993 general elections, claiming intimidation, but participated in the provincial elections. In 1997 it won 18 National Assembly seats and on 10 October 2002, the party won 17 out of 272 seats.

In 2007, elections which were to have taken place in November were delayed once more, due to Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. On 18 February 2008 MQM emerged from the election in fourth place with 19 elected seats and 25 overall in the National Assembly.

On 2 March 2012, the MQM won 4 of the 54 seats up for election in the Senate.

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