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Friday Aug 10 2018

The MQM-PTI affair: One week, two controversies

PTI and MQM-P leadership meeting at the Bani Gala residence of Imran Khan 

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) decided to join hands in the centre after general elections, sweeping their past disagreements under the carpet. It formally began with PTI leader Jahangir Tareen's arrival at the MQM-P's Karachi headquarters, which was reciprocated with a visit by MQM-P to Bani Gala. MQM-P decided to bolster PTI numbers on treasury benches against their demands mentioned in a memorandum of understanding—the first of its kind signed by the two parties on August 3.

However, merely two days later, PTI Karachi President Firdous Shamim Naqvi termed the alliance with MQM-P as a 'compulsion'.

"Alliance with MQM-P is not our choice, but we have made the alliance because of the compulsion to acquire a simple majority in the National Assembly to form the government," he said while addressing a press conference. Naqvi held the poor performance of Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhter as the reason for the disappointing show by the MQM-P in the July 25 general elections.

The MQM-P hit back, with party leader Faisal Sabzwari—one of the two signatories of the MoU—complaining that such statements would affect the working relationship between the two parties.

"We will put forward the statements before PTI leadership and will ask them about the compulsions," he said.

The PTI leadership took notice and distanced itself from Naqvi's statement. Naqvi confirmed on Thursday in a media talk in Bani Gala that PTI chief Imran Khan has warned him against levelling allegations against MQM-P.

MQM-P leader Faisal Sabzwari and PTI leader Imran Ismail leaving the residence of Jahangir Tareen following a meeting on August 3. Photo: Online 

Do you think the dust has finally settled? Not yet.

If the PTI leader was concerned about the MQM-P's allegedly unfaithful past then an MQM-P leader is now raising eyebrows over PTI’s next move in Sindh.

Following the PTI leadership's directives to Naqvi, MQM-P leader Khawaja Izhar also put forward his concerns. The former Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly raised doubts on the probable appointment of Naqvi as opposition leader in the province.

"If Firdous Naqvi's name is put up for the opposition leader, we will have our reservations," Izhar tweeted, going a step even further by saying: "Our coalition with PTI is conditional and conditions are beyond persons and party."

The affair between the MQM-P and PTI is merely seven days old, but both parties have already emerged with controversies ignited by two party position holders.

Sources have told Geo News that not all the members of MQM-P Rabita Committee are happy at shaking hands with the PTI. Differences have further grown over the party possibly taking a federal ministry as a benefit of joining the government. Many, including prominent names, are not in favour of taking a ministry, while some top leaders deem this gain as essential.