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January 14, 2018

‘Over 1,200’ MQM-P, other activists join PSP


January 14, 2018

At a time when it is losing workers to the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) has claimed of inducting more than 1,200 workers belonging to different political parties.

Addressing a news conference at the party headquarters, Pakistan House, on Saturday, PSP President Anis Qaimkhani said 26 of the workers who joined his party had served in central cabinets of different wings of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), while majority of the remaining also belonged to the same party.

The development seems to have dealt a major blow to the MQM-P, which is arguably leading the competition among Karachi-based political parties – in terms of public support. Meanwhile, the PSP appears to have been compensated to a considerable extent for the workers that have jumped ship to the APML.

APML Information Secretary Muhammad Ali Sherwani told The News that around 1,700 workers from the PSP and nearly the same number from the MQM-P, among others, had joined his party in the past three to four months.

Despite demonstrating its strength in a public rally at the Liaquatabad flyover on November 5 last year, the MQM-P still seems prone to suffering more such losses because of the suspected attempts to re-engineer the political landscape by certain quarters of the establishment and alleged infighting at the top level.

With the induction of 1,248 workers, the PSP is hopeful of steering to triumph in the next general elections, which are due this year and would be the party’s first.

Qaimkhani said the PSP had formally started its electoral campaign, adding that the forms for those wanting to join the party and participate in the polls were available on its website.

MQM-P, PSP and APML are vying for the turf that for decades had remained under the control of a unified MQM. And none of them appears in a position to fully claim it on their own. They face a bigger challenge of tackling the Pakistan Peoples Party, which is relatively more resourceful than them all and has been in power in Sindh for the past two decades.

There are chances that these parties may form an alliance in the elections and, according to some reports, negotiations may begin again after former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, the APML chief, extended an olive branch on January 7 for a joint struggle.

Qaimkhani’s presser

The PSP president was flanked by other leaders of the party, including Arshad Vohra, who still enjoys the office of the Karachi deputy mayor despite leaving the MQM-P, on whose ticket he was elected.

During the news conference, Qaimkhani touched upon the current happenings in the country and welcomed the swearing in of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Abdul Qadir Bizenjo as the new Balochistan chief minister. He criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) federal government and insisted that the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should happen because the locals wanted it. He said the merger was inevitable for establishing the state’s writ and developing the education and health care sectors in the tribal belt.

Taking a jibe at the PML-N’s rhetoric of developing a communication network across the country, he said real development would not happen until the facilities of education and health care are accessible to everyone. “Where more than 25 million children don’t go to school, a progressive society cannot be nurtured there.”

On the subject of the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur, Qaimkhani demanded that the culprit behind this heinous crime be punished. Expressing concerns over the rise in such incidents, he urged the authorities to take measures to prevent them.

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