ISI supports terrorism in Afghanistan: Muhajir Congress Jun 14, 2017

Lalit K Jha–Alleging that ISI has been using Pakistani soil to plan terror attacks in Afghanistan, the newly formed World Muhajir Congress (WMC) in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani has extended its full support in his fight against terrorism.

“It is now a well-established fact that Pakistani soil is being used for terrorist attacks not only in Afghanistan but also in other countries,” the World Muhajir Congress said in a letter to Ghani.

“Reports from all major news organizations and think tanks suggest that Haqqani network, factions of Taliban, ISIS and Al Qaeda are all operating from save havens in Pakistan under the protection of Pakistani Army and its notorious intelligence agency, ISI,” it alleged.

Representing the Muhajir cause at international level, the Congress in its letter dated June 11 strongly condemns the recent suicide attacks in Kabul which have killed and injured hundreds of innocent Afghan civilians.

“We can feel the pain of our Afghan brothers as thousands of Muhajirs have also lost their lives in the war against terrorism. We stand against ruthless terrorism being inflicted on our Afghan brothers and sisters in the name of religion by killers operating from Pakistani soil,” it said.

“It is evident that Pakistani military establishment and ISI do not see Afghanistan as a respectable neighboring country. Instead, they see it in the context of regional security and use their sponsored terrorist outfits as ‘proxies’ to increase their ‘strategic depth’ against India. World Muhajir Congress strongly condemns such policies,” the letter said.

Noting that the Afghan government has been bravely fighting the menace of Taliban for more than two decades, the letter said with the emergence of murderous outfit ISIS, the region is now faced with another serious security threat.

“The footprint of ISIS in recent times has extended from the Middle East and Afghanistan to the port city of Pakistan, Karachi, where secular and liberal Muhajirs are in majority who support liberal MQM political party,” it said.

The letter alleged that under the blatant and unashamed patronage of Pakistan Army and ISI, religious and sectarian terrorist outfits are making Karachi as their operational hub.

“This is an alarming trend and World Muhajir Congress will continue to highlight this serious issue at every appropriate international forum. Muhajir Nation and their sole political representative party have been the major obstacle in ISI’s plans to handover port city of Karachi to religious terrorist outfits and this is the reason for Army’s continued crackdown in Karachi against Muhajirs and their elected political party,” wrote the World Muhajir Congress.


Muhajir people

Total population
Reported: 9,939,656 (1998)[1]
Estimated: 20 million[2][3][4][5][6]
Regions with significant populations
Karachi, Hyderabad
Islam (mostly Sunni, minority Shia)

Muhajir (also spelled Mahajir and Mohajir) (Urdu: مہاجر‎, Arabic: مهاجر‎‎) is an Arabic-origin term used in Pakistan to describe Muslim immigrants, of multi-ethnic origin, and their descendants, who migrated from various regions of India after the Partition of India to settle in the newly independent state of Pakistan.[7][8][9][10][11] Although some of them speak different languages at the native level, they are primarily identified as native Urdu speakers and hence are called Urdu-speaking people.


The Urdu term muhājir (Urdu: مہاجر‎) comes from the Arabic muhājir (Arabic: مهاجر‎‎), meaning an “immigrant”,[12][13][14] and the term is associated in early Islamic history to the migration of Muslims. After the independence of Pakistan, a significant number of Muslims emigrated or were out-migrated from territory that remained India. In the aftermath of partition, a huge population exchange occurred between the two newly formed states. In the riots which preceded the partition in the Punjab region, between 200,000 and 2 000,000 people were killed in the retributive genocide.[15][16] UNHCR estimates 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were displaced during the partition; it was the largest mass migration in human history.[17][18][19]

Most of those migrants who settled in the Punjab province of Pakistan came from the neighbouring Indian regions of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi while others were from Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and the United Provinces.

Migrants who moved to the Sindh province of Pakistan came from what then were the British Indian provinces of Bombay, Central Provinces, Berar, and the United Provinces, as well as the princely states of Hyderabad, Baroda, Kutch and the Rajputana Agency. Most of these migrants settled in the towns and cities of Sindh, such as Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Mirpurkhas.

Many spoke Urdu, or dialects of the language such as Dakhani, Khariboli, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Mewati, Sadri and Marwari and Haryanvi and became commonly known as Muhajirs. Over a period of a few decades, these disparate groups sharing the common experience of migration, and political opposition to the military regime of Ayub Khan and his civilian successor Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto evolved or assimilated into a distinct ethnic grouping.[20]

Origin and conversion theories

Considerable controversy exists both in scholarly and public opinion as to how conversion to Islam came about in the Indian subcontinent, typically represented by the following schools of thought:[21]

  1. Conversion came from Buddhists and the masses of conversions of lower caste Hindus as they were the vulnerable and enticed by uniformity under Islam. (See Indian caste structures).[22]

  2. Conversion was a combination, initially by violence, threat or other pressure against the person followed by a genuine change of heart.[21]

  3. As a socio-cultural process of diffusion and integration over an extended period of time into the sphere of the dominant Muslim civilization and global polity at large.[22]

  4. That conversions occurred for non-religious reasons of pragmatism and patronage such as social mobility among the Muslim ruling elite.

Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire

The Hindustani-speaking Muslim people of Pakistan and India have diverse roots.[citation needed]During the era of Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire, large parts of the Indian Subcontinent came under the direct or indirect rule of Muslim dynasties of the foreign Turkic origin from Central Asia. This era saw conversion of part of native lower caste Hindu population(See Indian caste structures) to Islam.[21] Conversion was a combination of various factors such as violence, threat or other pressure by the foreign, Muslim ruling class on the natives, followed by a genuine change of heart.[21] Conversions also happened as a socio-cultural process of diffusion and integration over an extended period of time into the sphere of then dominant Muslim civilization and global polity at large.[22] and for non-religious reasons of pragmatism and patronage such as social mobility among the Muslim ruling elite.[21][22]

In addition to conversions, a population of Muslim refugees, nobles, technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, artisans, teachers, poets, artists, theologians and Sufis from the rest of the Muslim world migrated and settled in the area. At the court of Sultan Iltemish in Delhi, the first wave of these Muslim refugees, escaping from the Mongol invasion of Central Asia by the hordes of Genghis Khan, brought individuals to the subcontinent from the aforementioned region.[citation needed] Mughal Emperor Babur defeated the Lodi dynasty with Tajik, Turkic and Uzbek soldiers and nobility. These diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic Muslim groups of foreign and native origin, merged over the centuries to the form the Urdu-speaking Muslim population.[citation needed]

Mughal Empire at its peak in 1699.

The Rohilla leader Daud Khan was awarded the Katehar (later called Rohilkhand) region in the then northern India by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (ruled 1658–1707) to suppress the Hindu Rajputs, who were earlier allied with the Mughals. Originally, some 20,000 soldiers from various Afghan Pashtun tribes were hired by Mughals to provide soldiers to the Mughal armies. Their performance was appreciated by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir, and an additional force of 25,000 Pashtuns were recruited from Afghanistan, Many of these Afghan Pashtuns settled in northern India and also brought their families from Afghanistan.[citation needed] Due to the large settlement of Rohilla Afghans, the Katehar region gained fame as Rohilkhand.[citation needed] Bareilly was made the capital of the Rohilkhand state and it became Afghan majority city with Gali Nawaban as the main royal street. Other important cities were Moradabad, Rampur, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, and others.[23][24] These diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic Muslim groups of foreign and native origin, merged over the centuries to the form the Urdu-speaking Muslim population.[citation needed]

Muslims from what are now the states of Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were themselves of heterogeneous origin.

The Kayastha community had historically been involved in the occupations of land record keeping and accounting. Many Hindu Kayasthas found favour with the Mughal elite for whom they acted as Qanungos. This close association led to the conversion of some members of the Kayastha community to Islam. The Muslim Kayasths speak local dialects, in addition to the Urdu language[25] while they also speak Sindhi in Pakistan. The Kayastha converts, incidentally uses Siddiqui, Shaikh, Usmani and Farooqi as their surnames, and claim themselves as belonging to the Shaikh community.[26]

Decline of Mughal rule

Maratha Empire at its zenith in 1760 (orange area) stretching from the Deccan into present Pakistan. The discussed abolishing the Mughal Empire and placing Vishwasrao on the Mughalimperial throne in Delhi.

The Maratha Empire (1674–1818) ruled large parts of India following the decline of the Mughals. Mountstart Elphinstone termed this a demoralizing period for the Muslims, as many of them lost the will to fight against the Maratha Empire.[27][28][29] The Maratha empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south to the Afghan border in the north.[30][31][32] In early 1771, Mahadji, a notable Maratha general, recaptured Delhi and installed Shah Alam II as the puppet ruler on the Mughal throne. In north India, the Marathas thus regained the territory and the prestige lost as result of the defeat at the Panipat in 1761.[33] Mahadji ruled the Punjab, as it used to be a Mughal territory, and Sikh sardars and other rajas of the cis-Sutlej region paid tributes to him.[34] A considerable portion of the Indian subcontinent came under the sway of the British Empire after the Third Anglo-Maratha War, which ended the Maratha Empire in 1818.

Sikh Empire, established by Ranjit Singh in North-west India.

In northwest India, in the Punjab, Sikhs developed themselves into a powerful force under the authority of twelve Misls. By 1801, Ranjit Singh captured Lahoreand ended Afghan rule in North West India.[35] In Afghanistan, Zaman Shah Durrani was defeated by powerful Barakzai chief Fateh Khan, who appointed Mahmud Shah Durrani as the new ruler of Afghanistan and appointed himself as Wazir of Afghanistan.[36] The Sikhs, however, were now stronger than the Afghans and started to annex Afghan provinces. The biggest victory of the Sikh Empireover the Durrani Empire came in the Battle of Attock, fought in 1813 between the Sikhs and the Wazir of Afghanistan Fateh Khan and his younger brother Dost Mohammad Khan. The Afghans were routed by the Sikh army and the Afghans lost over 9,000 soldiers in this battle. Dost Mohammad was seriously injured, whereas his brother Wazir Fateh Khan fled back to Kabul fearing that his brother was dead.[37] In 1818 they[who?] slaughtered Afghans and Muslims in the trading city of Multan, killing Afghan governor Nawab Muzzafar Khan and five of his sons in the Siege of Multan.[38] In 1819 the last Indian Province of Kashmir was conquered by Sikhs who registered another victory over weak Afghan General Jabbar Khan.[39] The Koh-i-Noor diamond was also taken by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1814. In 1823, a Sikh Army routed Dost Mohammad Khan, the Sultan of Afghanistan, and his brother Azim Khan at Naushera (near Peshawar). By 1834, the Sikh Empire extended up to the Khyber Pass. Hari Singh Nalwa, a Sikh general, remained the governor of Khyber Agency till his death in 1837. He consolidated Sikh control in tribal provinces. The northernmost Indian territories of Gilgit, Baltistan and Ladakh was annexed between 1831–1840.[40]

British Raj

During British Raj, the Muslim aristocracy remained above the common Muslims.[citation needed] The Pakistan movement, to constitute a separate state comprising the Muslim-majority provinces, was pioneered by the Muslim elite of the region and many notables of the Aligarh Movement. It was initiated in the 19th century when Sir Syed Ahmed Khan expounded the Muslim autonomy in Aligarh. Many Muslim nobles, Nawabs (aristocrats and landed gentry) supported the idea. As the idea spread, it gained great support amongst the Muslim population and in particular the rising middle and upper classes.

The Muslims had launched the movement under the banner of the All India Muslim League and Delhi was its main centre. The headquarters of All India Muslim League (the founding party of Pakistan) was based here since its creation in 1906 in Dhaka (present day Bangladesh). The Muslim League won 90 percent of reserved Muslim seats in the 1946 elections and its demand for the creation of Pakistan received overwhelming popular support among Indian Muslims.[41]


The independence of Pakistan in 1947 saw the settlement of Muslim refugees fleeing from anti-Muslim pogroms from India. Most of the Muhajirs now live in Karachi which was the first capital of Pakistan. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in Karachi.[42] In Karachi, the Urdu-speaking Muhajirs form the majority of the population and give the city its northern Indian atmosphere.[43] The Muslim refugees lost all their land and properties in India when they fled and some were partly compensated by properties left by Hindus that migrated to India. The Muslim Gujaratis, Konkani, Hyderabadis, Marathis, Rajasthanis, Punjabis fled India and settled in Karachi. There is also a sizable community of Malayali Muslims in Karachi (the Mappila), originally from Kerala in South India.[44]

Many Muslim families from India continued migrating to Pakistan throughout the 1950s and even early 1960s. Research has found that there were three predominant stages of Muslim migration from India to West Pakistan. The first stage lasted from August–November 1947. In this stage of migration the Musim immigrants originated from East Punjab, Delhi, the four adjacent districts of U.P. and the princely states of Alwar and Bharatpur which are now part of the present state of Rajasthan.[45] The violence affecting these areas during partition precipitated an exodus of Muslims from these areas to Pakistan.

The second stage (December 1947-December 1971) of the migration was from what is U.P., Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.[45]

The third stage which lasted between 1973 and the 1990s was when migration levels of Indian Muslims to Pakistan was reduced to its lowest levels since 1947.

In 1959 the International Labour Organisation (ILO) published a report stating that between the period of 1951-1956, a number of 650,000 Muslims from India relocated to West Pakistan.[45] However, Visaria (1969) raised doubts about the authenticity of the claims about Indian Muslim migration to Pakistan, since the 1961 Census of Pakistan did not corroborate these figures. However, the 1961 Census of Pakistan did incorporate a statement suggesting that there had been a migration of 800,000 people from India to Pakistan throughout the previous decade.[46] Of those who had left for Pakistan, most never came back. The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru conveyed distress about the continued migration of Indian Muslims to West Pakistan:[45]

There has…since 1950 been a movement of some Muslims from India to Western Pakistan through the Jodhpur-Sindh via Khokhropar. Normallly, traffic between India and West Pakistan was controlled by the permit system. But these Muslims going via Khokhropar went without permits to West Pakistan. From January 1952 to the end of September, 53,209 Muslim emigrants went via Khokhropar….Most of these probably came from the U.P. In October 1952, up to the 14th, 6,808 went by this route. After that Pakistan became much stricter on allowing entry on the introduction of the passport system. From the 15th of October to the end of October, 1,247 went by this route. From the 1st November, 1,203 went via Khokhropar.[45]

Indian Muslim migration to West Pakistan continued unabated despite the cessation of the permit system between the two countries and the introduction of the passport system between the two countries. The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru once again expressed concern at the continued migration of Indian Muslims to West Pakistan in a communication to one of his chief ministers (dated 1, December 1953):

A fair number of Muslims cross over to Pakistan from India, via Rajasthan and Sindh daily. Why do these Muslims cross over to Pakistan at the rate of three to four thousand a month? This is worth enquiring into, because it is not to our credit that this should be so. Mostly they come from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan or Delhi. It is evident that they do not go there unless there is some fear or pressure on them. Some may go in the hope of employment there. But most of them appear to feel that there is no great future for them in India. I have already drawn your attention to difficulties in the way of Government service. Another reason, I think, is the fear of Evacuee Property Laws [EPL]. I have always considered these laws both in India and Pakistan as most iniquitous. In trying to punish a few guilty persons, we punish or injure large numbers of perfectly innocent people…the pressure of the Evacuee Property Laws applies to almost all Muslims in certain areas of India. They cannot easily dispose of their property or carry on trade for fear that the long arm of this law might hold them down in its grip. It is this continuing fear that comes in the way of normal functioning and normal business and exercises a powerful pressure on large numbers of Muslims in India, especially in the North and the West.[45]

In 1952 the passport system was introduced for travel purposes between the two countries. This made it possible for Indian Muslims to legally move to Pakistan. Pakistan still required educated and skill workers to absorb into its economy at the time, due to relatively low levels of education in the regions which became part of Pakistan. As late as December 1971, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi was authorized to issue documents to educationally qualified Indians to migrate to Pakistan.[45] The legal route was taken by unemployed but educated Indian Muslims seeking better fortunes, however poorer Muslims from India continued to go illegally via the Rajasthan-Sindh border until the 1965 India-Pakistan war when that route was shut. After the conclusion of the 1965 war, most Muslims who wanted to go to Pakistan had to go there via the India-East Pakistani border. Once reaching Dhaka, most made their way to the final destination-Karachi. However, not all managed to reach West Pakistan from East Pakistan.

Indian Muslim migration to Pakistan declined drastically in the 1970s, a trend noticed by the Pakistani authorities. On June 1995, Pakistan’s interior minister, Naseerullah Babar, informed the National Assembly that between the period of 1973-1994, as many as 800,000 visitors came from India on valid travel documents. Of these only 3,393 stayed back.[45] In a related trend, intermarriages between Indian and Pakistani Muslims have declined sharply. According to a November 1995 statement of Riaz Khokhar, the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, the number of cross-border marriages has declined from 40,000 a year in the 1950s and 1960s to barely 300 annually.

Demographics and distribution within Pakistan

Census History of Urdu Speakers in Pakistan


Population of Pakistan


Urdu Speakers





















Provinces of Pakistan by Urdu speakers (1998)



Urdu speakers














Khyber Pakhtunkhwa




Islamabad Capital Territory








Federally Administered Tribal Areas



Muhajir diaspora[edit source]

Many Muhajirs have emigrated from Pakistan and have settled permanently in Europe, North America and Australasia. There are also significant number of Muhajirs who are working in the Middle East, especially in the Persian Gulf countries:

Regions with significant populations of Urdu speakers


Collecting, translating, producing, and disseminating open source information that meets the needs of policymakers, the military, state and local law enforcement, operations officers, and analysts through-out Governments.
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