The relations between the ANP and the MQM worsened in the mid 1980s when ethnic violence claimed dozens of lives of both Pashtun and Urdu-speaking communities, recalls Pakhtun Thinkers Forum chairperson Qasim Jan.
At the time, MQM chief Altaf Hussain was in jail and he wrote to Wali Khan that the two communities should sit together. Hussain believed that a ‘third hand’ was using them. He invited Khan to Karachi but the latter was unable to make the trip due to sanctions from the then government.
On Benazir Bhutto’s wedding, Khan was able to come to Karachi, where he met MQM leaders. After this meeting, Khan and Ghulam Ahmed Bilour took permission from the Pashtun community for a ceasefire between Pashtuns and Mohajirs during a rally at Bacha Khan Chowk.
“The relations between the two parties and the ethnic groups remained strong in the following years, until 2007, when they worsened once more and hundreds of people died as a result,” said Qasim Jan, who was the president of ANP’s Karachi chapter and an active member of the Pakhtun Student Federation. He quit the party later.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2013.