Muhajir (Pakistan)

Muhajir (Pakistan)

:"See Muhajir page for all Muhajir groups in the world"

Muhajir or Panahgir ( _ur. مہاجر) is a diverse term used to describe the Muslim refugees who migrated to Pakistan after the independence in 1947. Traditionally meaning the Muslim refugees who migrated from India at the time of Pakistan's independence, in recent years, the term has come to include refugees who've arrived from Burma, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia and Iran but for all intents, when the term Muhajir is used, it generally refers to the Muslim refugees from British India.

The term Muhajir itself is now gradually being replaced by the more politically acceptable term "Urdu Speaker" or "Urdu" because of its connotations. Even though 'Urdu speaking' term is still not the correct term to identify a group of people since many of these people claim Middle Eastern, Turkish, Afghan and Indian decent. Many can trace their family roots to the Middle East and Central Asia prior to migration to North and Central South Asia. Many of these claims cannot be verified. The one uniting factor for the people regardless of their origin/race is that their mother tongue is Urdu.


"Muhajir" or "Mohajir" (Arabic: مهاجر) is an Arabic word meaning refugee or immigrant or emigrant. The Islamic calendar Hejira starts when Muhammad and his companions left Mecca for Medina in what is known as Hijra. They were called Muhajirun. The Arabic root word for immigration and emigration is Hijrat.

In Pakistan

The majority of people who migrated after the independence were settled in the port city of Karachi in southern Sindh and in the cities of Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Mirpurkhas.

As well the above many Urdu-speakers settled in the cities of Punjab mainly in Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur and Rawalpindi

Today, in Pakistan, 7.6% of the population, or around 12 million citizens identify themselves as 'Urdu-Speaking'. Of this number around 8 Million reside in Sindh and around 4 million reside in Punjab and Islamabad. Note that of the many Urdu Speakers who settled in the Punjab after partition, many of their generation identify themselves as Punjabi at home although they speak both Punjabi and Urdu. Very few 'Urdu-Speaking Muhajirs live in the remaining parts of Pakistan.


Muhajirs are inheritors of the Muslim cultural heritage of South Asia.

Political ideology

Muhajirs hold political opinions ranging from conservative to liberal. Most tend to be secular and support ideals of Western democracy. Muhajirs held comfortable vocations in British India.


Since the independence in 1947, there have been many intermarriages that took place between Punjabi, Kahmiri, Paskhtuns, Bengali and Persian/Urdu speaking communities, which is the reason that its hard to identify native Urdu-speaking communities in Pakistan, except for the province of Sindh, where many Urdu speaking people still maintain their distinct identity and heritage. However, with the passage of time, local traditions and essences have greatly seeped in, which is why many Urdu speakers in Punjab are so much merged with the Punjabi community that they do not identify them as Urdu speaking at all.


The original language of the Mughals had been Turkish, but after their arrival in South Asia, they came to adopt Persian and later Urdu. The word "Urdu" is believed to be derived from the Turkish, word 'Ordu', which means "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. Urdu speakers have been speaking this language as their Mother tongue for several centuries. Urdu has been the medium of the literature, history and journalism of South Asian Muslims during the last 200 years. Most of the work was complemented by ancestors of native Urdu speakers in South Asia. Persian language which was the official language during the Mughals was then slowly starting to loose ground to Urdu during the reign of Shah Jahan. It was after the devastating invasion by Nadir Shah of Persia in 1738 that gave death blow to Mughal empire in South Asia, that the Mughals adopted Urdu instead of Persian as the official language of the empire. Then Urdu with official patronage developed high literature


After the independence when the Muslims migrated to Pakistan they brought different values with them that varied from region to region they migrated from. The urban lifestyle was mostly coloured by the people who migrated to Pakistan after the independence in the major cities of Pakistan, especially Karachi, as they originally immigrated from mostly urban centres of India before the independence of Pakistan. Some of these urban centres, such as Lucknow and Delhi had been seats of culture, learning and rich heritage since centuries, and rivaled those of the world.

1972 Language Riots

In 1972, ethnic riots broke out between Muhajirs and native Sindhi in urban areas of Sindh who felt the Urdu speakers were dominating the province while at the same time, not learning the provinical language. Most Muhajirs cannot speak Sindhi despite living in Sindh for over 60 years. The Muhajirs considered Sindhi as a regional language and preferred to learn and speak Urdu, the national language, and English, the international language.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement

The Muhajir Qaumi Movement party was formed by Altaf Hussain, now living in exile in the UK, in 1985 to pursue Muhajir interests in Sindh. The name of the party was changed in 1992 to the "Muttahida Qaumi Movement" in an attempt to broaden its appeal, but remains a predominantly Muhajir party. The party is accused by its critics for violence, extortion and murder often killing its own members who object to the party's violent methodsFact|date=April 2008.

In the General Election of 2008 the MQM won 19 out of a possible 274 National Assembly Seats (17 in Karachi and 2 in Hyderabad) along with 39 out of a possible 130 Seats in the Sindh Provincial Assembly (34 in Karachi, 4 in Hyderabad and 1 in Mirpurkhas)

Well-known Muhajirs


* Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui (Former Chief Justice of Pakistan)
* Hamoodur Rahman (Former Chief Justice of Pakistan)
* Nasir Aslam Zahid (Former Pakistan Supreme Court Judge)
* Ajmal Mian (Former Chief Justice of Pakistan)
* Mohammad Haleem (Former Chief Justice of Pakistan)
* Nazim Hussain Siddiqui (Former Chief Justice of Pakistan)
* Majida Rizvi (First woman judge in Pakistani superior judiciary)
* Wajihuddin Ahmed (Chief Justice Sind High Court and Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan)


* Sahabzada Yaqub Khan
* Shahryar Khan
* Zahid Hussain


* Gen Pervez Musharaf
* Gen Mirza Aslam Beg
* Gen K.M. Arif
* Gen Sahabzada Yaqub Khan


* Agha Hasan Abedi (Founder, BCCI)
* Ishrat Husain (Former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan)
* Zahid Hussain (Founder Governor, State Bank of Pakistan)
* Imtiaz Alam Hanfi (Former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan)
* Saeeda Khalid
* Muhammad Abdullah


*Nasir Schon (Owner of Schon Group)
*Mir Khalil ur Rehman (Founder of Jang Group)
*Mir Shakil ur Rehman (Owner of Jang Group and Geo TV)

Religious Scholars

*Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadri
*Syed Sulaiman Nadvi
*Allama Ibn-e-Hassan Jarchavi
*Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani
*Allama Rasheed Turabi
*Allama Irfan Haider Abidi
*Allama Talib Jauhri
*Eqbal Ahmed
*Aamir Liaquat Hussain
*Syed Khurram Zaki


* Ata ur Rahman (chairmen, Higher Education Commission) a Scientists
* Pirzada Qasim (vice chancellor, Karachi University)
* Hakim Saeed (Shaheed) (vice chancellor, Hamdard University)
* Adib ul Hasan Rizvi (surgeon)
* Khalida Ghous
* Talat A. Wizarat
* Syed Sikander Mehdi
* Moonis Ahmar
* Ghulam Mustafa Khan
* Abul Lais Siddiqui
* Abul Khair Kashfi
* Jameel Jalibi
* Aslam Farrukhi
* Yunus Hasni
* Ali Mohsin Siddiqui
* Z. A. Nizami (Chancellor Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology)
* Zia Ullah Khan (Founder Operation Badar Educational Movement)


* Salimuzzaman Siddiqui
* Akhtar Hameed Khan
* Abdul Qadeer Khan

Sports Celebrities

* Jalaluddin
* Nadim Khan
* Jawaid Miadad


* Nadeem Baig
* Izar Qazi
* Ghulam Mohiuddin
* Khalida Riyasat (Actress)
* Musa Raza (a.k.a Santosh Kumar)
* Naeem Bhkhari (Television personality)
* Rahat Kazmi
* Saira Kazmi
* Bahrooz Sabzwari
* Talat Hussain
* Afzal Khan
* Saud
* Yawar Hilali
* Qazi Wajid
* Shakeel
* Zaheen Tahira
* Rizvan Wasti
* Tahira Wasti
* Munawar Saeed
* Shehzad Raza
* Kokab Mehdi
* Farrukh Sami
* Sajda Syed (role played of Zaib un nisa's mother)
* Nida Kazmi
* Ali Kazmi
* Badar Khalil

Art and literature

* Maulvi Abdul Haq (father of modern Urdu)
* Shanul Haq Haqqee (poet, linguist, lexicographer, researcher, writer)
* Syed Qudrat Naqvi (Scholar, Critic)
* Josh Malihabadi (poet, linguist)
* Nasir Kazmi (poet)
* Dilawer Figar (humorous poet)
* Mahir-ul-Qadri (critic, linguist)
* Sadequain (painter, calligraphist)
* Nayyar Ali Dada (Architecht)
* Rais Amrohvi (journalist, psychoanalyst)
* Jon Elia (Poet)
* Jamiluddin Aali (Poet)
* Arif Hasan (World renowned Architect)
* Ahmed Hamdani (Poet)

Performing art and media

* Tabish Dehlvi (poet)
* Roshan Ara Begum (Classical music maestro)
* Shanul Haq Haqqee (writer, journalist)
* Shaukat Hussain Rizvi (producer)
* Rahat Kazmi (Actor and Teacher)
* Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi (writer)
* Umer Sharif (comedian)
* Hasan Askari (writer)
* Ibn-e-Safi (writer)
* Kamal Ahmed Rizvi (drama writer)
* Haseena Moin (drama writer)
* Mehdi Hassan (ghazal singer)
* Ali Haider (pop singer)
* Nayarra Noor (semi classical singer)
* Nazia Hasan and Zohaib Hasan (singers)
* Ahmed Rushdi (First pop singer of Asia)
* Sania Saeed (Activist)
* Fatima Surrayya Bajjiya (drama writer)
* Mohammad Ali (film actor)
* Moeen Akhtar (actor)
* Anwar Maqsood (playwright, actor)
* Nusrat Hussain (musician)
* Humayun Saeed
* Bilal Maqsood
* Faisal Kapadia
* Sohail Rana
* Syed Kamal (Movie actor)
* Santosh Kumar (Movie actor)
* Darpan (Movie actor)
* Aziz Mian (Qawwal)
* Sadia Imam(Television actress)
* Ahmed Jahanzaib (singer)
* Syed Atif Ali (Drama writer)
* Kokab Farshori (famous journalist/anchor person)
* Ali Abbas (famous journalist/Artist)
* Munawar Saeed (Actor)
* Shehzad Raza (Comedian, Actor)
* Kokab Mehdi (Actor)
* Syed Asim Ali (Drama Director)
* Sahir Lodhi (A.K.A Pakistani Shahrukh Khan)

Random High Achievers

* Ali Haider Abbasi Ex Political Minister
* Javed Jabbar Ex Minister Information & Communication Minister
* Arif Abassi Ex PCB, Ex MD PIA, CEO Arabian Sea Country Club, Ex Minister
* Shehryar Khan Ex CEO PCB

Regions with significant populations

*flagcountry|Pakistan 12,500,000
*flagcountry|United States 150,000
*flagcountry|Saudi Arabia 120,000
*flagcountry|Canada 80,000
*flagcountry|United Kingdom 25,000

See also

* Quotas in Pakistan


* [ Muhajirs in Pakistan]
* []
* []


External links

* [ Muhajir-Sindhi Conflict,Research study]
* [ Pakistan Needs to be Re-Structured]
* [ Silver Jubilee Convention California]
* [ Quotas and Karachi]

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