Ethnic Conflict & Politics in Karachi – A Case Study

12 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2018 Last revised: 28 Feb 2018

Date Written: February 18, 2018


Ethnic conflict in Karachi is not new; it is evident since country's inception. Karachi is one of the biggest megacities of the world and commercial hub of the country; it has been observed that this conflict has also seriously affected the economic activities of the city. Law and order situation of the city has also been severely worsened owing to the clashes between different ethnic communities of Karachi.

Karachi experienced a lot of bloodshed and violence in the decades of 1970's and 1980's due to this conflict. A large number of population of Karachi consists of ethnic communities who have migrated from different other parts of the county i.e. Pakhtoons, Punjabis etc. or from India which is one of the major root cause of this conflict.

Rise of an ethno-political entity i.e. Mahajir Qaumi Movement in 1980's was also a major factor of this conflict. This political entity proclaimed itself as the savior of the Mahajir community of the city which was a constant target of alleged exploitation especially after the adoption of Quota System in Sindh. Regardless of this fact, this group was involved as a party in most of the cases of ethnic violence during late 1980's and 1990's mostly as the affected party. One couldn't undermine the importance of this ethno-political faction as it has remained one of the major stakeholders of the country's biggest metropolitan especially after its transformation from Mahajir Qaumi Movement to Mutahhida Qaumi Movement.

After these eras of severe ethnic clashes, the dynamics of the ethnic violence has been to some extent transformed from ethnic violence to communal or religious violence targeting communal and religious minorities in the metropolitan.

Keywords: Ethnicity, Mahajir, Violence

Suggested Citation

Shamim, Syed Jazib and Hameed, Irfan, Ethnic Conflict & Politics in Karachi – A Case Study (February 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Syed Jazib Shamim (Contact Author)

University of Karachi ( email )

University of Karachi, Karachi 75220
Karachi, Pakistan

Irfan Hameed

Iqra University ( email )

Defence View, Phase-2
Karachi, Sindh

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