BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Date of Submission



Yumna Fatima, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) ruled Karachi for almost three decades and had absolute hegemony over the city's political landscape. Since its inception in the 1980s, MQM has won elections in the city with massive margins. However, although the MQM won 17 out of 20 National Assembly seats in Karachi in the 2013 general elections, it saw a steep decline in support when the 2018 general elections were conducted, as the party only managed to win four seats from the city. But why was the MQM not as successful in the 2018 elections as in 2013?

This study seeks to answer this question by exploring the five-year term between 2013 and 2018 and investigating the causes of the party's decline with the help of archival research, and a series of interviews with voters residing in different areas of Karachi and experts who have worked on and analyzed MQM's politics in great detail.

This study finds that a change in leadership, where the local MQM leaders disassociated themselves from London-based party founder Altaf Hussain, MQM's involvement in violence and corrupt practices, failure to deliver their promises for the city's development, and the entry of new political players in Karachi's electoral space were the main reasons that led to MQM's decline.

A party that once had absolute control of Karachi now struggles to maintain its leftover control in the city.



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