Pakistan Table of Contents
The Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz (MQM), a party formed to represent the interests of the muhajir community in Pakistan, had a meteoric rise in the political life of the country. Founded by Altaf Hussain in 1984, the MQM won thirteen (out of 207) seats in the National Assembly in the 1988 elections, making it the third largest party in the assembly after the PPP and the IJI. MQM support of the PPP made it possible for Benazir to form a government and become prime minister. Shortly after the election, however, the coalition between the PPP and the MQM broke down, and the two parties' subsequently troubled relations contributed greatly to the instability of Benazir's first government. In the 1990 general elections, the MQM won fifteen seats in the National Assembly, remaining the third largest party. The MQM boycotted the 1993 National Assembly elections but won twenty-seven seats in the provincial assembly of Sindh.
The MQM had its origin in the All-Pakistan Muhajir Students Organization at Karachi University. At a large public meeting in Karachi in 1986, the MQM expressed the political and economic demands of the muhajir community. The MQM's political strength came primarily from the urban areas of Sindh, and its main emphasis was on securing better job opportunities for muhajirs. The MQM played an active role in the ethnic riots in Karachi in the winter of 1986-87. These disturbances brought prominence and notoriety to the MQM and its leader, Altaf Hussain. It was after these riots that the MQM leadership converted the movement into a political party. The MQM's full political weight was first felt in the 1988 elections.
Data as of April 1994