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March 18, 2015

PPP not to leave MQM high and dry: Zardari

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March 18, 2015

KARACHI: Former president and Co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said his party will not leave the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) alone at this testing time. Meanwhile, PPP members endorsed his decision to invite the MQM back into the Sindh government.
Zardari hosted a luncheon in honour of PPP MPAs at Bilawal House where they endorsed his decision. The reception was held to acknowledge the party MPAs for participating in the Senate elections in an orderly and disciplined manner.
Negotiations between the PPP and MQM, as brokered by former interior minister Senator Rahman Malik, for possible reconciliation had started much before the Senate elections on March 5.
The PPP co-chairman said the MQM and PPP had been allies in times of trouble and in good times. He said the MQM at present was going through testing times, referring to the Rangers raid at 90, and said the PPP would not leave it high and dry. He said the MQM had fully supported the PPP in the recently-held Senate elections.
The former president said the PPP had formally extended an invitation to the MQM to join the provincial government and now the ball was in the MQM’s court. He said a committee had been constituted under the chairmanship of the Sindh chief minister to hold negotiations with the MQM regarding inclusion in the government.
He said now was the time for the PPP to back the MQM as the latter had backed the former in the Senate elections. He said all speculations and conspiracy theories regarding imposition of governor’s rule in the province had been put to rest completely as certain elements had been unduly scheming against the PPP’s Sindh government.
Zardari directed Sindh CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah to establish contact with the MQM leadership for sorting out matters related to re-inclusion of the Muttahida in the provincial government.
Sources privy to the reception said the former president in his address to the PPP MPAs

directly asked for their opinion on the inclusion of the MQM in the Sindh government as a coalition partner. They said the MPAs observed silence and said nothing in response on which the former president reportedly asked whether their silence be considered as their consent to the party’s decision in this regard.
The PPP’s co-chairman asked the outspoken MPA of the party, Mir Nadir Ali Khan Magsi, to share his opinion on the subject. Magsi reportedly said that although he had no personal inclination towards the MQM, the commitment made with the Muttahida at the time of Senate elections should be duly fulfilled.
MPA Kulsoom Chandio said that as the former president was the leader of the party, his decision would be fully owned by the party.
Zardari said the PPP would continue its policy of reconciliation and rapprochement with all the political parties, which had extended support to the PPP during the recent Senate elections as the PPP would continue its alliance with these allied parties.
He said Sindh didn’t witness any sort of horse-trading in the Senate elections and those hurling allegations of horse-trading were themselves involved in this undignified practice.
He said the PPP had been able to get its stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani elected unopposed as the new Senate chairman under the vision and policies of martyred PPP leader Benazir Bhutto. He said Rabbani’s election would help strengthen the democratic culture in the country.
Praising the MPAs, Zardari said there were reports of an uproar and furore in other assemblies on and before the polling day, but the Senate elections in Sindh went smoothly for which the house and its members deserved an applause.
The former president spoke in detail with the MPAs about the party strategy for the Senate elections and cooperation by the allies. Zardari also directed the MPAs to prepare themselves and the party cadres for the next local government elections.
He said the local bodies were nurseries of democracy and the PPP wanted party-based local bodies polls throughout the country. He asked the party cadre to start head hunting for the local bodies elections now and also work out a strategy for this purpose. The former president said activists, leaders, and lawmakers of the party should fully get themselves prepared for the local government elections in the province as the LG polls were considered more important than the general elections.
He said the PPP was going to field its candidates in every constituency in the upcoming local government polls while the party would also continue its policy of reconciliation at the local level.
The former president asked the Sindh CM to speed up the ongoing development projects in the province for their completion at the earliest as the PPP’s provincial government should resolve people’s problems on priority.
Those who attended the meeting included Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, MNA and PPP Women Wing President Faryal Talpur, Sherry Rehman, Senior Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and others.

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