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It was the MQM’s constant electoral strength that kept the organisation intact in the face of the violence it faced (and indulged in) from and against the state and the Sindh-based Afghans and Pakhtuns and political parties like the PPP and the Jamat-i-Islami (JI). The MQM’s activism remained inherently secular mainly due to the fact that it had wiped out the political support religious parties like the JI and Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) had enjoyed in the city before the rise of the MQM. When state action against the party came to a halt at the start of the Musharraf regime in 1999, the MQM rapidly evolved into a publicly confessed secular party with a penchant to undertake widespread developmental work in Karachi and a taste for popular local politics. Though throughout the last decade the perception of it being a militant ethnic outfit remained engrained among political groups operating outside Sindh, in the province’s urban centres however, the MQM successfully devised itself as a hands-on, liberal-bourgeoisie outfit. -- Nadeem F. Paracha