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Monday April 22, 2024

MQM-P sees 'division' after getting assurances for 'Sindh governorship, 3 ministries'

PML-N decides to keep number of cabinet ministers low with MQM-P likely to get two ministries

By Raees Ansari
March 02, 2024
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (right) addresses the media after a meeting with MQM-P leaders ahead of the upcoming 2024 general elections in Karachi, on December 29, 2023. — Online
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (right) addresses the media after a meeting with MQM-P leaders ahead of the upcoming 2024 general elections in Karachi, on December 29, 2023. — Online

LAHORE: After getting assurances of the Sindh governor’s post and 3 ministries, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has faced “division" among party leaders as some of them insist on continuing Kamran Tessori for the governorship role while others have proposed Khushbakht Shujaat's name, sources told Geo News.

The MQM-P — an ally of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party preparing to rule the country after the 2024 nationwide polls — is likely to get the Sindh governor post along with two to three ministries as the party continues to negotiate to secure its interests in exchange for its support to the latter.

According to the sources, the PML-N has decided to keep the number of cabinet ministers low with the MQM-P likely to get two ministries if the cabinet is to comprise 20 members.

The party might end up with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, however, it is unlikely to get the Ministry of IT and Technology, the sources added.

However, negotiations with the PML-N are not the only challenge faced by the MQM-P, as the Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui-led party is also facing internal division over the issue of the Sindh governor post, wherein one party faction is backing Kamran Tessori, whereas another wishes to see Khushbakht Shujaat securing the coveted provincial post.

The development comes as the party has been engaged in weeks-long negotiations with the PML-N over its share in the government in exchange for their support in the Centre.

Earlier this week, Geo News reported that MQM-P's dream of easily bargaining "four ministries" has been shattered by the PML-N which "offered only one ministry" after multiple rounds of talks between top leaderships of both sides.

The sources closer to the Nawaz-led party revealed that the MQM-P has demanded retaining the Sindh governor post.

The Khalid-led party is ready to take part in the voting for the prime minister, and the National Assembly (NA) speaker slots, however, it signalled to abstain from voting in the upcoming elections for the president and the Senate chairman’s posts, the sources revealed.

The development came to the limelight after the MQM-P’s top leaders — Tessori and Mustafa Kamal — faced an untoward situation of their purported audio conversations leaked on social media platforms in which they were complaining about “paying the cost of becoming part of the Shahbaz Sharif-led coalition”, and accusing the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of attempting to corner them.

Both MQM-P leaders confirmed the veracity of the audios, however, they termed them to be taken "out-of-context."

It is pertinent to mention here that the MQM-P stood fourth as per party positioning in the National Assembly after the preliminary results of the February 8 nationwide polls.