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Muhajir people

Muhajir people

Total population
12-13 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
Urdu, Punjabi language in Punjab region

Muhajir (Urdu: مہاجر‎,Arabic: مهاجر‎,Punjabi: مهاجر) is an urdu term used in South Asia to sometimes describe the immigrants from other parts of the South Asia and their descendants, who chose to settle in Pakistan and shifted their domicile after independence of Pakistan from British rule. Some had participated in the movement for a state of Pakistan in 1947. Most migrants migrated from the Muslim minority provinces to Muslim majority provinces within the British Raj.

Muhajir identity no longer exists in Punjab, because people who migrated from Indian Punjab do not call themselves as muhajirs and as most of the people who adopted Punjab as their home adopted the Punjabi identity and have been assimilated into local culture and are identified geographically as Punjabis like other residents. Also the migrants remained active in local politics of the Punjab. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq was born in the Indian Punjab and later migrated. Similarly famous politician of PMLN Khawaja Saad Rafique is the son of Khwaja Muhammad Rafique who migrated from Indian Punjab to Pakistani Punjab after the independence of Pakistan in 1947. Similarly people who migrated from Gujrat such as Gujrati, Parsi, Memon, people from Rajistan and Delhi do not call themselves as Muhajir and maintained their own heritage.


  • Etymology 1
  • Reasons for immigration 2
  • Origin and ancestral roots 3
  • Decline of the Muslim rule in South Asia 4
  • British Raj in South Asia 5
  • Pakistan Movement 6
  • Independence and migration to Pakistan 7
    • Karachi 7.1
  • Demographics and distribution within Pakistan 8
  • Muhajir diaspora 9
  • Culture and lifestyle 10
    • Cuisine 10.1
    • Clothing 10.2
    • Heritage 10.3
  • Politics 11
    • 1947-1958 11.1
    • 1958-1970 11.2
    • 1970-1977 11.3
    • 1977-1988 11.4
    • 1988-1993 11.5
    • 2013-Present 11.6
  • Quota system and ethnic clashes in Karachi 12
  • Language 13
    • Dialects and languages 13.1
  • Contribution in literature 14
    • Poetry 14.1
    • Prose 14.2
  • Contribution in science and technology 15
  • Contribution in art and music 16
  • Contribution in business and industry 17
  • Contribution in sports 18
  • Cuisine 19
  • Intermarriages 20
  • See also 21
  • Notes 22
  • References 23
  • External links 24


The Urdu term muhājir (Urdu: مہاجر‎) comes from the Arabic muhājir (Arabic: مهاجر‎), meaning a "migrant", and the term is associated in early Islamic history to the migration of Muslims from Makkah to Madinah. After the independence of Pakistan, a significant number of Muslims emigrated or were out-migrated from territory that became India.[2] A large portion of these migrants came from East Punjab, and settled in Pakistani Punjab. Sharing a common culture and with tribal linkages, many assimilated within a generation. Another significant percentage are of Gujarati ethnicity.

However, the majority of the non-Punjabi Muslim refugees who moved to Pakistan migrated from what then were the British Indian provinces of Bombay, Bihar, Central Provinces, Berar, Delhi, and the United Provinces, as well as the princely states of Hyderabad, Baroda, Kutch and the Rajputana Agency. Most of these refugees 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, Khari boli, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Mewati, Sadri and Marwari and Haryanvi. 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.[3]

Reasons for immigration

The reasons for immigration of Urdu-speaking people to Pakistan needs to be put in context with the context of the time. For many Muhajirs, particularly the noble and aristocratic class, settling in Pakistan was strongly associated with the independence movement.

The Pakistan movement, to constitute a separate state comprising the Muslim-majority provinces of South Asia, 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 of South Asia 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) and up to August 1947. The participation in the movement on ideological grounds and supporting its Muslim cause with approximately half of the entire mandate in 1945–46 elections.[4]

The independence of Pakistan in 1947 saw the settlement of Muslim refugees fleeing from anti-Muslim pograms from India. In Karachi, the Urdu speaking Muhajirs form the majority of the population and gives the city its northern Indian atmosphere.[5] 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, Marathi, Rajasthani, Punjabi 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.[6] The non-Urdu speaking Muslim refugees from India now speak the Urdu language and have assimilated and are considered as Muhajirs.

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.[7]

Origin and ancestral roots

The Urdu speaking people of Pakistan and India has diverse roots. Many Sufi missionaries from Middle East and Central Asia migrated and settled in South Asia. Many natives converted to Islam due to the missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of South Asia. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the northern India region. During the Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire attracted Muslim refugees, nobles, technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, artisans, teachers, poets, artists, theologians and Sufis from the rest of the Muslim world and they migrated and settled in the South Asia. During the reign of Sultan Ghyasuddin Balban (1266-1286) thousands of Central Asian Muslims sought asylum including more than of 15 sovereigns and their nobles due to the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran. At the court of Sultan Iltemish in Delhi the first wave of these Muslim refugees escaping from the Central Asian genocide perpetrated by the barbaric hordes of Genghis Khan, brought administrators from Iran, painters from China, theologians from Samarkand, Nishapur and Bukhara, nobles from Khwarezm, divines and saints from all Muslim lands, craftsmen and men and maidens from every region, doctors adept in Greek medicine, philosophers from everywhere. The Muslims from various provinces such as Hyderabad Deccan, Kerala, Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab, Gujarat, Kashmir and other parts of South Asia also moved to capitals of Muslim empire in Delhi and Agra. Millions of natives converted to Islam during the Muslim rule. After the Battle of Panipat (1526) Mughal Emperor Babur defeated the Lodi dynasty with Tajik, Chagatai and Uzbek soldiers and nobility. Theses Central Asian Turk soldiers and nobles were awarded estates and they settled with their families in the northern India. Safavi Emperor Shah Tahmasp provided financial aid, 12,000 choice of cavalry and thousands of infantry soldiers to Mughal Emperor Humayun to regain his Empire. Persians nobles, technocrats and bureaucrats, also joined Mughal Emperor Humayun. Theses soldiers were awarded estates and they settled with their families in the northern India. These diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups merged over the centuries to the form the Urdu speaking Muslims of South Asia.

The Rohilla leader Daud Khan was awarded the Katehar (later called Rohilkhand) region in the then northern India by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (ruled 1658-1707) to suppress the Rajput uprisings, which had afflicted this region. Originally, some 20,000 soldiers from various Pashtun tribes (Yusafzai, Ghori, Ghilzai, Barech, Marwat, Durrani, Tareen, Kakar, Naghar, Afridi and Khattak) 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 modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan and were given respected positions in Mughal Army. Nearly all of Pashtuns settled in the Katehar region and also brought their families from modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan. During Nadir Shah's invasion of northern India in 1739, the new wave of Pashtuns settled increasing their population to over 100,0000. Due to the large settlement of Rohilla Afghans, the Katehar region gained fame as Rohilkhand. Bareilly was made the capital of the Rohilkhand state and it became Pashtun majority city with Gali Nawaban as the main royal street. Other important cities were Moradabad, Rampur, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, and others.[8][9] After the Third Battle of Panipat fought in 1761 between the Ahmad Shah Durrani and Maratha Empire thousands of Pashtun and Baloch soldiers settled in the northern India. These diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups merged over the centuries to the form the Urdu speaking Muslims of South Asia.

Sub-groups also includes the Hyderabadi Muslims, Memon Muslims, Bihari Muslims etc. who keep many of their unique cultural traditions.[10] Muslims from what are now the states of Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were themselves of heterogeneous origin.

The Kayastha community that has historically been involved in the occupations of land record keeping and accounting. Many Hindu Kayasth found favour with Muslim rulers for whom the acted as Qanungos. This close association, led to the conversion of many members of the Kayastha community to Islam. The Muslim Kayasths speak Urdu[11] while they also speak Sindhi and Punjabi in Pakistan. The Kayasth sometime use Siddiqui, Quraishi, Khan, Shaikh, Usmani and Farooqi as their surnames, and consider themselves belonging to the Shaikh community.[12]

The independence of Pakistan in 1947 saw the migration of Urdu speaking refugees from India fleeing from the anti-Muslim pogroms. The majority of the Urdu-speaking and other non-Punjabi Muslim refugees that fled from various Indian states settled in Karachi, which is why the culture of the city is a blend of South Asia.

What defines a Muhajir now is education, urbanism and the Urdu language. Gujratis, Burmese, Memons, Bohras, Ismailis, Bengalis, Rajasthani Muslims, Marathi Muslims, Marwari Muslims, Konkani Muslims, people from Goa, people from Bombay State, Malwaris who were in India were counted as Muhajirs in Pakistan as they migrated to Pakistan after or during independence.

Decline of the Muslim rule in South Asia

The Mughal Empire failed to improve its weapons and tactics and did not adopt the European military advances in technology. The reimposition of Jizya by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb on the non-Muslims subjects which constituted over 80% of the population of the Mughal Empire caused revolts. Another cause was the absence of the law of primogeniture in the matter of succession to the throne. The Mughals practiced open succession or survival of the fittest, and the eldest son did not have the immediate right to throne. Upon the death of their father, the princes would fight among themselves until one emerged triumphant and these civil wars weakened the empire. After Aurangzeb, the Mughal had weak rulers who were more interested in luxuries and poetry than tackling the serious issues facing the Mughal empire. There was also the degeneration of the Mughal nobility. When the Mughals came to South Asia, they had a hardy character. Too much of wealth, luxury and leisure softened their character. Another cause of Mughal downfall was the deterioration and demoralisation in the Mughal army. The abundance of riches of South Asia, the use of wine and comforts had their evil effects on the Mughal army and nothing was done to stop the deterioration. Another cause of Mughal downfall was the stoppage of adventurers from Persia, Afghanistan and Turkistan (Central Asia). It is the adventurers, particularly from Persia, a who had given able administrators and generals and when that source stopped, the Mughal Administrative machinery declined due to absence of fresh blood and ideas.[13] The Mughal Empire slowly lost its provinces as the local governors and rebels seized reign of government. Muslim nobility lost its wealth and land holdings as the new rulers expropriated their lands and distributed it among their supporters. The European colonial powers took advantage of the chaos in South Asia and started to seize land and tax revenue to build their colonial empires.

British Raj in South Asia

During the rule of Mughal Empire, Muslims identified themselves with Turk (Turanis) and Persians (Iranis) and also Sunni and Shia factions. The Muslim aristocracy remained above the common Muslim.

Pakistan Movement

Independence and migration to Pakistan


In 1947, Karachi was chosen as the capital of newly independent state of Pakistan. Before the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the population of Karachi was 450,000 and had a small majority of 51% Sindhi and Balochi Muslims. Nearly all Hindu and Sikh population of Karachi migrated to India after the independence of Pakistan. By 1951, Karachi’s population had increased to 1.137 million because of the influx of nearly 1 million Muslim refugees from India and the population of Karachi was over 96% Muslim.

Demographics and distribution within Pakistan

Census History of Urdu Speakers in Pakistan
Year Population of Pakistan Percentage Urdu Speakers
1951 33,740,167 7.05% 2,378,681
1961 42,880,378 7.56% 3,246,044
1972 65,309,340 7.60% 4,963,509
1981 84,253,644 7.51% 6,369,575
1998 132,352,279 7.57% 9,939,656
2011 173,593,439 7.69% 13,349,335
Provinces of Pakistan by Urdu speakers (1998)
Rank Division Urdu speakers Percentage
Pakistan 9,939,656 7.57%
1 Sindh 6,407,596 21.05%
2 Punjab ( Definition of Muhajir is vague in Punjab) 3,320,320 4.51%
3 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 138,400 0.78%
4 Islamabad Capital Territory 81,409 10.11%
5 Balochistan 63,032 0.96%
6 Federally Administered Tribal Areas 5,717 0.18%

Muhajir diaspora

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:

Culture and lifestyle


The Muslims refugees brought with them the different cuisine from the different region of the South Asia. The Nihari, Haleem, Pulao, etc. dishes and their regional variations were introduced in Karachi.


Before the independence of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah frequently wore the Karakul hat and Sherwani and made it the national dress of Pakistan.[15]


The rich heritage brought by migrants from the urban centres of India, such as Lucknow, Delhi and Hyderabad Deccan, which had been seats of Islamic culture and learning for centuries, were to have a major influence on the cities of Pakistan, especially Karachi. The notable 20th-century Islamic scholar/author Muhammad Hamidullah, was involved in formulating the first Constitution of Pakistan.

The use of the term "Muhajir" is no longer an acceptable colloquialism in Pakistan as it once was amongst the early immigrants. They came with particular traditions and customs from the various regions. People in their 20s and 30s today prefer to be considered "just-Pakistani" and rarely are aware of their British Indian origins. There have been numerous mixed marriages and growing assimilation within Karachi's neighborhoods over the last four generations.



Upon arrival in Pakistan, the Muhajirs did not assert themselves as a separate ethnic identity but were at the forefront of trying to a construct an Islamic Pakistani identity. Muhajirs dominated the bureaucracy of the early Pakistani state, largely due to their higher levels of educational attainment. Gradually as education became more widespread, Punjabis, Sindhis and Pashtuns, as well as other ethnic groups, have started to take their fair share of the pool. However, the critical early years was facilitated by the experience that many Muhajir had both in politics and in higher education.

Many Urdu speaking people had higher education, Aligarh Muslim University, and civil service experience working for British Raj and Muslim princely states. During 1947 to 1958 Urdu speaking Muhajirs held many more jobs in the Government of Pakistan than their ratio of only 3.3 percent of the country's population. In 1951, of the 95 senior civil services jobs, 33 were held by the Urdu speaking people and 40 by the Punjabis.


On 27 October 1958, General Ayub Khan had a coup and imposed Martial law in Pakistan.[16] The percentage of the Urdu speaking people declined in the civil service as the percentage of Pashtuns increased. In the Pakistani presidential election, 1965, the Muslim League split in two factions. The Muslim League (Fatmia Jinnah) supported Fatima Jinnah, the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. While the Convention Muslim League supported General Ayub Khan. The Urdu speaking people had supported the Muslim League since before the independence of Pakistan in 1947 and now supported the Muslim League (Fatmia Jinnah). The Electoral fraud of Pakistani presidential election, 1965 and the triumphant march by Gohar Ayub Khan, son of General Ayub Khan, started ethnic clash between Pashtuns and Urdu speaking people in Karachi on January 4, 1965.[17][18]

On March 24, 1969, President Ayub Khan directed a letter to General Yahya Khan, inviting him to deal with the tense political situation in Pakistan. On 26 March 1969, General Yahya appeared in national television and announced to enforce a martial law in all over the country. The 1962 Constitution was abrogated, dissolved the parliament, and dismissed the President Ayub's civilian officials.[19]


The Pakistani general election, 1970 on 7 December 1970, Pakistan Peoples Party won the elections. The Urdu speaking people voted for the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan. The Pakistan Peoples Party government nationalization the financial industry, educational institutions and industry. The nationalization of Pakistan's educational institutions, financial institutions and industry in 1972 by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan Peoples Party impacted the Muhajirs hardest as their educational institutions, commerce and industries were nationalized without any compensation.[20] Then the quota system was introduced that limited their access to education and employment. Karachi is the largest commercial city of Pakistan and the Muhajirs are the main stakeholder in this city. The 1972 language riots were caused by the passage of "Teaching, Promotion and use of Sindhi Language" bill on 7 July 1972 by the Sindh Assembly declaring Sindhi to be the only official language of Sindh.[21] Due to the clashes, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto compromised and announced that Urdu and Sindhi will both be official languages of Sindh. The making of Sindhi as an equal language to Urdu for official purposes frustrated the Urdu speaking people as they did not speak the Sindhi language.[22]


In the Pakistani general election, 1977, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan joined in a coalition named Pakistan National Alliance. The Urdu speaking people voted mostly for the Pakistan National Alliance. The Electoral fraud by Pakistan Peoples Party caused protests around the country. On July 5, 1977, Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq imposed Martial Law.



President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain is a Urdu speaking textile businessman and politician[23] who has been President of Pakistan since 9 September 2013.

Quota system and ethnic clashes in Karachi

In 1973, the Government of Sindh imposed quota system in Sindh where the employment and admissions to the elite colleges and universities was not based on merit but to the ethnic origin and residency.[24] The quota system in the province of Sindh was imposed in 1973 for 40 years but in 2013 it was extended for another 20 years.[25] The Government of Sindh even after making huge investment in the interior Sindh for the last 40 years could not raise the educational standards and create employment in the rural areas.[26] In 2013 Sindh budget, Rs 675 billion were spent on the interior Sindh development and only Rs 30 billion in Karachi.[27] The huge investments in the interior Sindh's infrastructure and educational institutions was mostly wasted due to the poor planning, political corruption, feudalism and apathy of the rural population. The nationalization of Pakistan's financial institutions, industry and educational institutions in 1972 by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan Peoples Party impacted the Muhajirs hardest as their commerce and industries were nationalized without any compensation.[20] Then the quota system was introduced that limited their access to education and employment.


The phrase Zaban-e Urdu-e Mualla ("The language of the exalted") written in Nastaʿlīq script.

The original language of the Mughals had been Turkish. After their migration to South Asia, they came to adopt Persian and later Urdu. Urdu is an Indo-European language, and in the Indo-Aryan subdivision. The word Urdu is believed to be derived from the Turkish word 'Ordu', which means army (Hence Urdu is sometimes called "Lashkarī zabān", Persian for "the language of the army"). It was initially called Zaban-e-Ordu or language of the army and later just Urdu. The word 'Ordu' was later Anglicised as 'Horde'. Urdu, though of South Asian origin, came to be heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic and somewhat by Turkish; however, its grammatical structure is based on old Parakrit or Sanskrit. Urdu speakers have adopted this language as their mother tongue for several centuries.

Autograph and a couplet of Last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah II, dated 29 April 1844

Urdu has been the medium of the literature, history and journalism of South Asian Muslims during the last 400 years. Most of the work was complemented by ancestors of native Urdu speakers in South Asia. The Persian language, which was the official language during and after the reign of the Mughals, was slowly starting to lose ground to Urdu during the reign of Aali Gohar Shah Alam II. Subsequently, Urdu developed rapidly as the medium of literature, history and journalism of South Asian Muslims. Most of the literary and poetic work was complemented by various historic poets of mughal and subsequent era, among which Mir Taqi Mir, Khwaja Mir Dard, Mir Amman Dehalvi, Mirza Ghalib, Bahadur Shah II Sir Syed Khan and Maulana Hali are the most notable ones. The Persian language, which had its roots during the time of Moguls, was then replaced later by Urdu. Mogul kings like Shah Jahan rendered patronage as well as support. Many poets in Pakistan such as Zafar Iqbal, Sir Mohammed Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faraz, Munir Niazi and Saifuddin Saif contributed their efforts for the Urdu language.

Dialects and languages

After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, when the Muslims refugees arrived in Pakistan, the values the migrants brought with them varied from region to region, depending on their origin. The Muslims refugees arrived from different provinces of South Asia often speaking different dialects of the Urdu language such as Awadhi, Khariboli, Braj, Bhojpuri,[28] Bundeli, Rekhta, Hyderabadi or Dakhni, etc. These Urdu dialects were distinguished by their vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation (phonology, including prosody), humor and slangs. Many Muslims refugees spoke regional languages such as Gujarati, Kutchi, Marathi, Konkani, Telugu, etc. The Urdu syllabus taught in the Karachi schools with its strong emphasis on poetry and literature helped to standardise Urdu in Karachi. These dialects and languages slowly merged to form a standard dialect closer to the Awadhi dialect of the Urdu language over the decades. Even the Urdu dialect of Karachi is very diverse, and some neighborhoods such as Nazimabad has its own accent that is different from the Orangi speech; family background, educational level and everything else has an influence.

The Urdu language spoken in Karachi has became gradually more divergent from the Indian dialects and structure of Urdu, since it has engrossed many words, proverbs and phonetics from the regional languages like Sindhi, Pashto, Punjabi and Balochi. The pronunciation pattern of Urdu language also differs in Pakistan and the cadence and lilt are informal compared with corresponding Indian dialects.[29] The people of Karachi speak Urdu quiet faster than the Urdu speakers in India.[30] The Urdu speakers in Karachi consider their accent as the standard dialect of the Urdu language.[31]

Contribution in literature

Ghalib poem in Nastaliq


Muhajirs brought their rich poetic culture along with them which they held in their original states centuries ago prior to independence. Some of the most notable ones historic poets are Mir Taqi Mir, Mir Aman Dehalwi, Khawaja Mir Dard,Jigar Muradabad etc. Subsequent to independence, many notable Urdu poets migrated to Pakistan, besides a large number of less famous poets, authors, linguists and amateurs. Consequently, Mushaira and Bait Bazi became a part of the national culture in Pakistan. Josh Malihabadi, Jigar Moradabadi, Akhtar Sheerani, Tabish Dehlvi, Nayyer Madani and Nasir Kazmi are a few of the noteworthy poets. Later, Jon Elia, Parveen Shakir, Dilawar Figar, Iftikhar Arif, Rafi Uddin Raaz and Raees Warsi became noted for their distinction.


With the emergence of Muhajirs in urban areas of Pakistan, Urdu virtually became the lingua franca. The country's first Urdu Conference took place in Karachi in April 1951, under the auspices of the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu. The Anjuman, headed by Maulvi Abdul Haq not only published the scattered works of classical and modern writers, but also provided a platform for linguists, researchers and authors. Among them Shan-ul-Haq Haqqee, Shahid Ahmed Dehlvi, Josh Malihabadi, Qudrat Naqvi, Mahir-ul-Qadri, Hasan Askari, Jameel Jalibi and Intizar Hussain are significant names. Whereas Akhtar Hussain Raipuri, Sibte Hassan and Sajjad Zaheer were more inclined to produce left-winged literature. Among women writers, Qurratulain Hyder, Khadija Mastoor, Altaf Fatima and Fatima Surayya Bajia became the pioneer female writers on feminist issues.

Contribution in science and technology

Muhajirs have played an extremely important and influential role in science and technology in Pakistan. Scientists such as Ziauddin Ahmed, Raziuddin Siddiqui and Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, gave birth to Pakistan Science and later built the integrated weapons program, on request of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Muhajir later forwarded to developed the Pakistan's space program and other scientific and strategic programs of Pakistan. Many prominent scientists come from the Muhajir class including Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, Ghulam Murtaza, Raziuddin Siddiqui, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, and Atta ur Rahman to name a few.

Contribution in art and music

The Muhajir community brings a rich culture with it. Muhajirs have and continue to play an essential role in defining and enriching Pakistani culture and more significantly, music. Some famous Muhajir Pakistani musicians include: Nazia Hassan, Mehdi Hassan, Munni Begum, and Ahmed Jahanzeb. Muhajirs contribution has not been limited to pop but has spanned various music genres, from traditional Ghazal singing to rock. Muhajirs in Pakistan are also famous for their contribution towards the art of painting. Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi, one of the most famous painter of the world, was a Pakistani painter who was born in Amroha, India.

Contribution in business and industry

After the division of South Asia in 1947 by the then British Government through

  • Quotas and Karachi
  • Gene Diversity among Some Muslim Populations of Western Uttar Pradesh
  • Gene Diversity Analysis and Microdifferentiation Process in North Indian Muslim Populations

External links

  • Pakistan (Archived 2009-11-01) at Encarta
  • Pakistan: The Sindhi-Muhajir confliict
  • Muhajir diaspora
  1. ^ Taken from The World Factbook figures based upon the 1998 census of Pakistan.
  2. ^ Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the making of modern South Asia: refugees, boundaries, histories, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.
  3. ^ Oskar Verkaaik, A people of migrants: ethnicity, state, and religion in Karachi, Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1994
  4. ^ Prof. M. Azam Chaudhary, The History of the Pakistan Movement, p. 368. Abdullah Brothers, Urdu Bazar Lahore.
  5. ^ "Karachi violence stokes renewed ethnic tension". IRIN Asia. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
  6. ^ Where Malayalees once held sway, DNA India
  7. ^ Population increase in Karachi - Ref. from Port Qasim Official website
  8. ^ An Eighteenth Century History of North India: An Account Of The Rise And Fall Of The Rohilla Chiefs In Janbhasha by Rustam Ali Bijnori by Iqtidar Husain Siddiqui Manohar Publications
  9. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India by W M Hunter
  10. ^ Karen Isaksen Leonard, Locating home: India's Hyderabadis abroad
  11. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh page 1047
  12. ^ Endogamy and Status Mobility among Siddiqui Shaikh in Social Stratication edited by Dipankar Gupta
  13. ^ 20 Causes behind the Downfall of the Mughals in India
  14. ^ 1998 census report of Pakistan. Islamabad: Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan, 2001.
  15. ^ Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin - Akbar S. Ahmed - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  16. ^ Aqil Shah (2014). Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan. Harvard University Press.  
  17. ^ Who did the Massacre of January 4 1965 in Karachi
  18. ^ The Great Muhajir Massacre of 1965
  19. ^ Omar, Imtiaz (2002). Emergency powers and the courts in India and Pakistan. England: KLUWER LAW INTERNATIONAL.  
  20. ^ a b Riazuddin, Riaz. "Pakistan: Financial Sector Assessment (1990-2000)". Economic Research Department of State Bank of Pakistan. State Bank of Pakistan. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  21. ^ LAW Department Government of Sindh
  22. ^ A leaf from history: Language frenzy in Sindh
  23. ^ Profile of presidential candidate Mamnoon Hussain, Presidential elections: PML-N picks Mamnoon Hussain for top job. The Express Tribune (Pakistan)
  24. ^ Divide and Malign Sind: Controversial Quota System
  25. ^ Provincial quota in jobs to remain intact for 20 more years
  26. ^ No escape: Quota system extended
  27. ^ What Quota System gave us in last 40 years?
  28. ^ Accent and history
  29. ^ Dialects of Urdu Language
  30. ^ Urdu: The Karachite dialect
  31. ^ Karachi, the Sleepless City
  32. ^
  33. ^



See also

Since Pakistan's independence in 1947, there has been a steady rise in intermarriages that have taken place between Punjabis, Kashmiris, Sindhis, Balochs, Pashtuns, Brahuis and Muhajirs.


Muhajirs clung to their old established habits and tastes, including a numerous desserts, savoury dishes and beverages. The Mughal and Indo-Iranian heritage played an influential role in the making of their cuisine. In comparison to other native Pakistani dishes, Muhajir cuisine tends to use traditional royal cuisine specific to the old royal dynasties of now defunct states of ancient India. Most of a dastarkhawan dining table include chapatti, rice, dal, vegetable and meat curry. Special dishes include biryani, qorma, kofta, seekh kabab, Nihari and Haleem, Nargisi Koftay, Roghani Naan, Naan, sheer-qurma (sweet), qourma, chai (sweet, milky tea), paan and Hyderabadi cuisine, and other delicacies associated with Muhajir culture.


Muhajir are active in many sports in Pakistan. Muhajir are playing in the Pakistani cricket team with well-known players such as Javed Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Mohsin Khan, Sikhander Bakht and Moin Khan. There are now younger players like Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Khurram Manzoor playing for the international side. Muhajirs are notably involved hockey, tennis, squash and badminton. Bodybuilding and weightlifting are increasing in popularity among younger members of the Muhajir community.

Contribution in sports

The initial business elites of Pakistan were Muhajirs. Prominents example of businesses started by them include Habib Bank Limited, Hyesons, M. M. Ispahani Limited, Schon group etc. Nationalization proved to be catastrphpic for Muhajir-owned businesses, and the final blow was delivered as a result of discriminatory policies during the dictatorship of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq. In recent years, many Muhajirs have established their businesses in Pakistan, with a focus on textile, garment, leather, food prodcts, cosmetics and personal goods industries. Many of Pakistan's largest financial institutions were founded or headed by Muhajirs, including the State Bank of Pakistan, EOBI, Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation, United Bank Limited Pakistan, First Women Bank et cetera.


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