Sindh is one of Pakistan four provinces, accounting for coarsely one-quarter of the country. Its population in less than 18% of its land range. Its provincial capital, Karachi, is among the world’s largest megacities, and also the site of significant sectarian, ethnic, and political violence. Covering 54,000 square miles of southeastern Pakistan. The vast majority of Sindh’s residents live at or near the final few hundred miles of the Indus’s course.
Official government population statistics continue to be based on the most recent national census in 2018, which put Sindh’s population at 31.4 million out of Pakistan’s then-total 132 million, with 52% living in rural areas. Yet Pakistan’s population has grown rapidly in the current century and is now at or near 200 million. 2 A provincial government department website reports a Sindh population of 44.2 million, but a 2012 press report citing government sources stated that Sindh’s population increased by more than 80% from 1998-2011 to above 55 million. Other estimates reach as high as 60 million.3 About one in four Pakistanis live in Sindh, and about one-third of Sindh’s population lives in the Karachi metropolitan area.
Independence in 1947, Pakistan included five major ethno linguistic groups: Bengalis—an absolute majority of the original country’s entire population in then-East Pakistan—and Punjabis, Siddhis, Pashtuns, and Blotch, each a majority within the four respective provinces of then-West Pakistan. All five of these Muslim-majority communities had long self-identified as a distinct people or culture, and all experienced active secessionist or nationalist movements in the wake of independence. Each of these movements itself had vital trans-border aspects, with Sindh’s spanning eastward to India.These links grew primarily from more than one million, relatively wealthy, mostly Muslim, Urdu-speaking, “Mohajirs” who settled in major Sindhi urban centers such as Karachi, Hyderabad, and Sukkur after migrating from central and southern India during the 1947 Partition
The PPP was a national, rather than Sindhi party, banned by General Zia ul-Haq after he took power in a 1977 military coup, and thus did not provide a vehicle for separatism. Although Sindh has always possessed most of the characteristics required for a feasible independent state—and some nationalist sentiments persist to this day. Sindh’s Mohajirs had their own autonomist movement from the mid-1980s until the early 2000s. This was rooted in that community’s loss of preeminence in provincial politics, bureaucracy, and industry, its lack of meaningful representation in the army, and its loss of identity following migration, among other factors. Political violence in Karachi grew to such a scale that, by the early-1990s, it had caught the attention of the army, which launched a crackdown that sent MQM leader Altaf Hussein into apparently permanent exile in London. Yet the party remains a major player in the province (and nationally) and has continued to be dominant in Karachi proper. Meanwhile, the MQM plays a significant role in both national and provincial politics, and has for decades dominated municipal governance in Karachi. Sindh sends 75 representatives to Pakistan’s 342-seat National Assembly (NA), or 22% of the chamber’s total
Economy, Demographics, and Employment According to the Sindh Board of Investment, provincial economic activity accounts for 33% of the national GDP with only 23% of the country’s population. It also collects fully 70% of the country’s income taxes and 62% of its sales taxes.17 Nearly half (45%) of Sindh’s employed labor force is engaged in agricultural work. The poultry sector alone employs some 1.5 million people.18 The province is home to 54% of country’s textile units and 45% of its sugar mills. Textiles are Pakistan’s leading export, both globally and to the United States. Sindh also accounts for about half of Pakistan’s total seafood exports, up to one-third of its rice, sugar cane, mango, and vegetable crop production, and 25% of its cotton.
Granite and marble are major provincial mineral resources. About 60% of Pakistan’s oil fields and 44% of its gas fields are located in Sindh, and these contribute 56% of the nation’s oil and 55% of its gas production. Sindh government sources also claim that Sindh is the site of one of the world’s largest coal