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Introduction

At seven-thirty on Thursday, 17 January 1946, eight or nine hundred men had gathered on the football field at Drigh Road, a large RAF maintenance unit near Karachi. It was dark. The sun had set more than an hour before, and no moon was visible. It was so dark that one could not recognise an immediate neighbour unless he struck a match to light a cigarette.

A few minutes later a voice called out from somewhere in the middle of the crowd, "You all know why we’re here..."

The men did indeed know. They were there because they had grievances. They were angry and they wanted action.

The decisions they took had consequences that reached far beyond Karachi.

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