Zardari seeks time to consult PPP leadership on MQM-P's demands

Kamran Razi
Kiran Khan
Former president Asif Ali Zardari. — AFP/File
Former president Asif Ali Zardari. — AFP/File
  • Talks between MQM-P, coalition partners remain inconclusive. 
  • Zardari assures MQM-P that issues will be resolved in 2-3 days.
  • Rana Sanaullah and Ayaz Sadiq represented PML-N in meeting.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) is an ally and will remain so, however, he sought time from the party over their demands in connection with local bodies elections and delimitation of constituencies.

The PPP co-chairperson assured MQM-P that the matter will be resolved in two to three days.

The PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have failed to allay the reservations of the MQM mainly on the issues of delimitation of constituencies and upcoming local government elections in Karachi.

On Monday night, former president Asif Ali Zardari presided over a round of talks at Bilawal House. Media reports said that negotiations remained inconclusive. 

The meeting was attended by PML-N's representatives — Rana Sanaullah and Ayaz Sadiq — while MQM-P was represented by Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, Faisal Sabzwari, Wasim Akhtar, Jawed Hanif and Khawaja Izharul Haq.

The PPP was represented by Sindh CM and his cabinet members.

Both PPP and PML-N made it clear that the reservations of the MQM-P would be allayed in accordance with the law as deliberations would be held to find a way out. More talks among the political parties, which are part of the ruling coalition in the Centre could be held in near future to settle the reservations of the MQM-P.

The MQM-P leadership said that they would come up with a decision on this issue only after duly consulting the workers of their party. The MQM-P leaders demanded that both the PML-N and the PPP follow through on the agreements they had signed with the party.

They said that they had serious reservations about the existing delimitation of the constituencies in Karachi, which should be rectified. They made it clear that the MQM-P was ready for the local government polls but its demands regarding the delimitation of constituencies were in accordance with the law.

Meanwhile, the legal team of the Sindh government reportedly briefed the meeting that any changes in the delimitation of the constituencies could not be carried out instantly. They explained that the process could take up to four months due to the involvement of a lengthy exercise to redraw the constituencies.

The legal team said that the Sindh government was under an obligation to conduct the local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad as per the directives of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). 

The ECP could initiate punitive action against the provincial government authorities for disobeying its orders to conduct the polls. The Sindh government officials said that the final decision to hold the polls or defer it rests with the ECP as the provincial government could not take any decision in this regard on its own. The ECP officials themselves have been supervising arrangements to timely hold the polls in Karachi and Hyderabad on the scheduled date of January 15.

After the inconclusive talks with PDM leaders, the MQM-P delegates called on Governor Kamran Tessori and decided to stick to their position on the need for new delimitations before the conduct of the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad on January 15.

According to sources, MQM-P accused the PPP of not honouring the agreements the two parties had signed before and after joining PDM. The party said it had become part of the federal ruling coalition not to do politics but to solve the problems of urban Sindh. The party was also said to have decided to hold a general workers’ meeting, while another meeting with the PPP was likely to be held today.