Friday, January 13, 2023
KARACHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday assured Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) that the party's grievances would be redressed by tonight, according to well-placed sources.
The development came during a telephonic conversation between PM Shehbaz and MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui after the party threatened to quit the alliance if its concerns were not addressed.
The MQM-P, an ally of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had two days back called on the prime minister to take a clear stand if he had any respect for the people of Urban Sindh or the party would decide about its future in the ruling alliance.
The demand came on the heels of the local body polls — scheduled on January 15 — with the MQM-P also "rebranding" itself after the merger of Mustafa Kamal and Farooq Sattar.
In a bid to address the MQM-P's concerns, the Sindh government early Friday sought the postponement of elections, but the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to hold local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad as per schedule.
Meanwhile, the sources privy to the matter said that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari also made a telephone call to Siddiqui.
The former president extended a dialogue offer and assured the party that the PPP would resolve its issues, the sources added.
Meanwhile, PDM head and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also urged Siddiqui not to lose patience during a telephone call.
In the phone call, both leaders discussed matters of mutual interest, local body elections and other issues, the sources said.
Later, during an informal interaction with journalists at the MQM-P's Bahadurabad office, Siddiqui confirmed that he held a “positive discussion" with PPP's Zardari.
In a bid to build pressure on the incumbent government, the MQM-P leader said that they would hold another meeting after two hours if their demands are not met, but noted that “Asif Zardari fulfils his promises”.
The MQM-P leader, without elaborating, said that the government has “two options” to postpone the LG polls.
As uncertainty looms over MQM-P staying in the alliance, two MQM-P federal ministers — Aminul Haque and Faisal Subzwari — and one special assistant to PM, Sadiq Iftikhar, submitted their resignation to the party’s Rabita Committee, the sources added.
Moreover, in view of the "security concerns", the MQM-P has also postponed its general workers' meeting scheduled to be held tomorrow, confirmed party leader Haque.
The party leadership deliberated the option of "resignations", he said but in the same breath, the MQM-P leader noted: "Matters are moving forward in a positive manner."
A spokesperson for the party said that a new date for the general workers meeting would be announced later.
Citing severe “security threats”, intelligence agencies had also earlier recommended the ECP to postpone the second phase of local body elections, according to well-placed sources.