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‘May 5 gathering will show that MQM and Muhajirs are united’

May 03, 2018

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the convener of the Bahadurabad group of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, has said that the May 5 public gathering, being announced in response to Pakistan Peoples Party’s recent power show in Liaquatabad, will show that the party and the Muhajirs are united. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Siddiqui said he has established contact with Farooq Sattar, the leader of the party’s PIB Colony group, twice to hold a joint gathering. “We will take whatever decision is in the best interest of the community and the movement,” he said, primarily hinting at a reunion of the groups.

“Sattar should come in the May 5 gathering and we can sort out the rest later,” said Siddiqui. “We appeal to everyone to join us. It is the matter of Muhajirs’ honour.” Earlier on April 29, the PPP had held a massive rally in Tanki Ground, Liaquatabad, an MQM stronghold, after a gap of some 44 years. In his address, the PPP chief, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari lashed out at the MQM, terming it a “Mustaqil Qaumi Musibat [Permanent National Problem].” The PPP power show held significance because it was held at a time when the MQM has disintegrated into three more groups, including the Pak Sarzameen Party, a different political party.

“By making the [May 5th] gathering successful, let’s tell them that the Muhajirs are awake,” Siddiqui said, calling out for help from the groups and community. With the general elections due in three months, political temperature has risen across the country. Apart from the competition among themselves, each of the MQM splinter groups and the PSP will generally be facing the PPP across the province.

Siddiqui, who visited Tanki Ground on Wednesday, criticised the ruling party in Sindh saying it had used “bad language” in its gathering. “We are here to present the feelings of the Muhajirs or the urban populace in majority,” he said.

According to Siddiqui, the gathering is likely to become a milestone of change in the traditional politics of Sindh. “PPP always tried to create a divide between the urban and rural populace in the province,” he said. “We have paid for the hatred sown by the PPP in last 10 years.”

He accused the party of deliberately neglecting the urban centres in their development because the areas gave their mandate to the MQM. The time of PPP and its injustices is over, said the leader and claimed that if MQM-P was elected to power it would change the fate of both urban and rural centres.

Meanwhile, Farooq Sattar again offered the Bahadurabad group to hold a joint press conference before they go for a joint public gathering. Holding a news conference in Tanki Ground later in the day, Sattar said that he wanted that they could work together in letter and spirit and not just symbolically. He added that the public gathering should rather be of MQM-P and not of any its groups.

Sattar said he and Siddiqui will work out with the PSP as well because it was time for the Muhajir community to be united and take along other communities with them. “With just a single (united) gathering, 90 per cent of the PSP will be back in the MQM,” he claimed.

The PIB Colony group intends to hold the gathering on May 4, while the Bahadurabad group a day later. Both the factions are in talks to set aside their difference and hold a joint power show as apparently it benefits them both.

MQM-P’s parliamentary strength has reduced to 20 from 24 in the National Assembly, five from eight in the Senate, and 31 from 50 in the Sindh Assembly. Most of the dent is caused by the former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal’s PSP that asserts itself as the alternative of the MQM.

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