Ishratul Ibad announces return

Ibad concluded that the country is currently going through extraordinary circumstances

By Our Correspondent
May 25, 2024
Former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader and Sindh governor Ishratul Ebad in the image uploaded on his social media account on March 23, 2024. —Facebook/ Dr Ishrat ul Ebad Khan

KARACHI: Former Sindh governor, Dr Ishratul ibad, has announced his intention to return to Pakistan on Friday. ibad expressed these thoughts via a video link meeting with journalists at a local hotel in Karachi.


He said, “I have two options: to act or to be a spectator, but I have decided to act. I will soon announce my strategy regarding when and what I will do. My new strategy will not depend solely on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. MQM friends are scared, which previously deterred me from returning. There are no restrictions on my return to Pakistan, and I will be returning soon.”

He said, “I now feel that I should be active in politics again. I have had the opportunity to serve the public for many years. I have been consulting with my friends and have been praying for the country since leaving. The timing of my return is crucial; whatever I do, I must do in Pakistan, and I will provide details at the appropriate time. I have never worked for the Establishment but with the Establishment. Now, I want to share my experience. I do not need the Establishment’s support. In 2015, I was disowned and faced immense pressure to leave the country. I have always stood with the state and paid the price. No one objected to what I was planning to do. Those in government have a weak moral justification and their legal status is challenged.”

Ibad said that the creation of the Pak Sarzameen Party was a foolish act. “I had advised my colleagues to stay within MQM, but some of those did not listen, and those from PSP later rejoined MQM.” He blamed the responsibility for the poor state of development works in Karachi on the Pakistan Peoples Party. He said that during his tenure several development projects in Karachi were completed in close coordination with Asif Ali Zardari. “Without the cooperation of federal, provincial, and municipal leadership, work in Karachi is not possible,” he said, adding that former Jamaat-e-Islami Mayor Naimatullah Khan was a very good person.

Ibad opined that Pakistan’s political instability is affecting its international reputation, which is why foreign investors are hesitant to come. He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has emotional support, but their government performance has not been good.

Referring to rigging allegations in the General Election 2024, he commented that whenever MQM-Pakistan’s history is written, the number ‘47’ will repeatedly appear. He advised that MQM-P should work for the city. “The businessmen I meet recount terrifying stories about Karachi. Political stability is my forte, and I will work on it. During the 2015 by-elections, there was a lot of tensions; PTI had announced a rally at Jinnah Ground, which became a dangerous situation. I called Imran Khan, and he agreed to what I said.”

The former governor recalled, “In 2016, I declined Zardari’s invitation to join the PPP. I tried my best to prevent the events of May 12 but could not. Subsequently, a strike call was issued for May 25 to 27. I learned that JUIF chief Fazlur Rahman and the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami were coming, so I went to ANP’s Asfandyar Wali, and with my efforts, the strike was postponed.” He said that those from MQM who went to Pakistan faced troubles. “Babar Ghauri was arrested because someone feared he would jeopardize their project, but he had gone there due to his mother’s illness.”

Ibad added that the merger of MQM-P and PSP was forced and not organic, leading many in MQM-P to become inactive. At the time of the merger, everyone should have been brought together, he added. “I did not want to return to Pakistan at that time to create problems. I gave MQM-P every chance to work for the city, but they could not.”

He said that he has held meetings with former PMLN leaders Shahid Khaqan and Miftah Ismail and such meetings happen often. He added that however, no discussions regarding joining a new political party have taken place. “I do not intend to challenge anyone, including MQM-P, upon my return. I want to gather intelligent, capable, and influential people in Pakistan.” He said that Kamran Tessori is doing good work and they both are in contact. “Political parties have a big field to play in. The Establishment has its disposition. It can also make mistakes but it can never be anti-state.”

Ibad concluded that the country is currently going through extraordinary circumstances, urging” patriotic” politicians to step forward. He said that senior politicians should come forward and play their role in the current situation and contribute to the resolution of the country’s political tensions.