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Why Hazara province movement has resumed from Karachi

February 03, 2020

Political leaders and lawmakers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hazara region arrived in Karachi a fortnight ago to revive the dormant campaign for the Hazara province, mainly eyeing the significant population of the community in the city.

On January 19, hundreds of people attended a public gathering in Baldia Town’s Rasheedabad neighbourhood, where the Hazara division’s key politicians, including former federal minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, former National Assembly deputy speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl Senator Talha Mehmood, MNA Mohammad Sajjad Awan, former federal minister Syed Qasim Shah, former MPA Mian Zia Ur Rehman, and influential politicians Nawabzada Farid Salahuddin and Abdul Razzaq Abbasi, also spoke on the occasion.

A number of Karachi-based leaders, including Karachi Transport Ittehad chief Irshad Hussain Bukhari, Sardar Nazeer Ahmed, Haji Khursheed Hazarvi, Haji Saleheen Tanoli and Munsif Jan Advocate, also addressed the meeting.

They decided that the movement for carving out the Hazara province has formally been re-launched from Karachi and the next power show will be exhibited in Islamabad on April 12, the 10th anniversary of the Abbottabad incident in which seven people were killed during a protest against the renaming of the then North-West Frontier Province to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the passage of the 18th amendment in 2010.

Leader of the Hazara province movement in Karachi said the city has been playing a key role in the campaign from the beginning. Karachi-based leader Haji Khurshid Hazarvi said that a significant population from KP living in the metropolitan city belongs to the Hazara division.

“In Karachi, you can find a resident of every village of Hazara who is now permanently living in the city since the 1960s,” Hazarvi told The News.

Hazarewal (people from the Hazara division) mainly live in Pashtun-populated neighbourhoods of Karachi, but in some parts of the city there are also some Hazarewal-majority areas, such as Kalapul, Hazara Colony, Qayyumabad, Keamari, Mansehra Colony, Rasheedabad, Patel Para and Sherpao Colony.

The Hazara division consists of six districts: Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Kohistan and, since January 2011, Torghar. The dominant language of the inhabitants of Haripur, Abbottabad and half of Mansehra is Hindko. The people of Battagram and Torghar speak Pashto. Kohistan’s people speak their own Kohistani language.

Hazarvi said that the campaign for the Hazara province needs media attention and this is why leaders from the Hazara division have arrived in Karachi, as it is the hub of media organisations’ headquarters.

Political analyst Sartaj Khan said that the leaders of the Hazara province movement have in fact been eyeing the emerging middle class of the Hazarewal community in the city.

“In Karachi, the campaign has been seeking the support of the urban middle class emerging in the city in the past several decades,” Khan told The News. “The community has influential representation in professional bodies, such as transport, and religious circles, as well as has a significant population.”

The analyst also said that the participation of Karachi leaders from the Hazarewal community in the movement also makes them relevant to the city’s politics, especially in the local government elections.

“Through organising huge gatherings, local leaders of the campaign have succeeded in getting the attention of the Karachi leaders of political parties, particularly the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, and gaining tickets for the local government polls.”

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