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November 9, 2017

MQM-P, PSP form election alliance; Musharraf ready to lead

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November 9, 2017

KARACHI: In a landmark development, two rival political parties, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Pak Sarzameen Party, vying against each other over public mandate claim in Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh, announced to build a working relationship and contest the next general election from a single platform on Wednesday.

MQM-P Convener Farooq Sattar and PSP Chairperson Mustafa Kamal said in a press conference at Karachi Press Club that their alliance, which is yet to be named, was primarily based on three points: to consolidate the Sindh urban centres' vote bank and avoid division, to employ the policy of non-confrontation and to sustain peace in Karachi.

According to Sattar, the new alliance will have particular name, an electoral symbol and a manifesto. However, these things will be decided later as the consultation between the two parties will continue, he said. Meanwhile, Kamal said that his party will not agree to anything associated with MQM, whether it is its name or its symbol, a kite.

The presser which was announced in the morning by the MQM-P caught many of its own leaders by surprise. According to sources, Sattar faced criticism in the coordination committee meeting held earlier in the evening and some prominent leaders of the party decided not to be part of the alliance and left. Later, the MQM-P MNA Ali Raza Abidi in a tweet announced to quit the party and resign from his seat, NA-251.

The development came a day after the PSP chairperson held a press conference in which he leveled allegations on Sattar and said that his party will create a bloc against the MQM-P in the assemblies with elected representatives who defected to it. Kamal also said that he will bury the MQM come what may because the party was an enemy of the country and of the Muhajirs it claims to represent.

Sattar said that the alliance was the need of the hour and through this, both the parties will work for the people of Karachi and other urban centres in Sindh and for Pakistan. “We hope to implement the policy of reconciliation and continue with it so that there should be no violent situation like the 90s,” he commented. "MQM-P will stay," he said.

The MQM-P head hoped that after the formation of alliance, the incarcerated workers held in “political” cases will get relief, those missing or allegedly picked up by law enforcement agencies will be recovered and sealed offices of the party will be handed back. “We have taken this [alliance] decision after we were assured that our concerns will be addressed. We should be given due political space.”

The PSP chief seconded Sattar on the above-mentioned points and added that they willcollectively take up the case of “controversial” results of the Sixth Population Census in which, according to them the population of Karachi, Hyderabad and other urban centres in the province, was “manipulatively” shown less in a bid to rip them of their due rights. 

Kamal, however, differed with Sattar on the Muhajir cause during his press conference. “This Muhajir card in politics has proved destructive to the community itself. It has only begotten hate as other communities and ethnicities living in the city feel themselves isolated and rejected,” he said, saying that since he and Anis Kaimkhani made the PSP, they had maintained that ethnic politics should be buried. However, he said they won't struggle under the name of MQM.

He criticized MQM founder Altaf Hussain and said that because of him, the community was forced to be at odds with others living in the city. “Intoxicated Altaf would make a hateful speech against other communities one night and the next morning communal riots will pop up in different areas of the province. We have to get rid of his style of politics as well.”

Kamal asked the government to announce a special package for the people of Karachi who were misled by Altaf and his MQM like the one introduced for the people in Balochistan fighting against the state. “If they did something wrong, then there was somebody who forced them to do so. State should grant them amnesty. So they should return to their homes and to their jobs.” In a related development, ex-military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has offered to lead the new political alliance.

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