Cover Story

Merit is Murdered

The quota system in Sindh reflects ethnic and lingual contradictions.
The MQM fully exploited the frustration of Sindh’s urban youth
but failed to bridge the divide.

By Dr. Moonis Ahmar | August 2020

The Quota System was introduced in Pakistan and in the Sindh province in urban and rural categories to help the backward strata of society. In the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, the quota system was given an institutional shape and became a source of conflict, particularly in Sindh.
Sindh is the only province in Pakistan where the quota system reflects ethnic and lingual contradictions. 40% quota is reserved for the urban and 60% for therural areas. Urban areas comprise Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur and have a predominantly non-Sindhi speaking population whereas the rural areas are primarily Sindhi-speaking.

Why was quota system introduced in Sindh on a rural/urban basis and to what extent has it been able to bridge the gap in the development of the province? The All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organization (APMSO) was formed in 1978 and the Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM) in 1984. These partis were said to be the result of injustices against the Urdu speaking community of Sindh. The MQM developed a huge vote bank from 1988 to 2013 but it failed to dismantle the quota system.

The logic behind maintaining a quota system in Sindh and not disbanding It is not clear. For this reason, the quota system is tegarded as a killer of merit. As long as jobs and admissions in universities and medical colleges are not based on merit, Sindh will continue to face nepotism and falling standards in education and government jobs.

The system of quota in jobs is not only prevalent in Pakistan but in other countries as well. The United States, in order to compensate for discrimination against the Afro-Americans, introduced an affirmative action program to accommodate those segments of society that did not get job opportunities because of the low competition level.

Read More