This article investigates practices of militancy amongst young men who became political mercenaries during the (1984–2002) Karachi conflict involving Pakistan’s ethno-nationalist Mohajir party, the MQM. It explores the affective domain which emerges out of ethnicized positions on identity, and its role in structuring political subjectivity and violent action. Political killings were not solely driven through class, deprivation or ethnic politics, but also by idealized images of manhood and desires for creating and restoring selfhood in meaningful ties with other militants. While the violence led MQM into government, for militants it produced an incommensurable relationship between generativeness and violence in which deep disappointments and fractured masculinities were powerfully inscribed.
Bibliographical note© 2010 SAGE
- Political violence