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August 6, 2018

MQM-PTI agreement oversteps provincial domain: Taj Haider

Karachi

August 6, 2018

Taj Haider, who headed Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Election Cell for the recently-concluded general elections on July 25, expressed concerns over Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) joining hands with the political forces that “deprived the people of Karachi of their right to vote.”

Haider said this in a statement issued on Saturday in reaction to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and MQM-P in Islamabad on Friday that seeks the latter’s support to form a PTI-led coalition, federal government.

The MoU consists of several points addressing long-standing issues in urban centres of Sindh that the MQM-P has struggled for in the past. The agreement calls on both political parties to actively seek solution to these problems and take definitive steps to resolve them.

He further lamented that under the memorandum it was agreed that a university would be established in Hyderabad, while PTI has failed to fulfill a similar promise during their five-year tenure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The agreement was signed by people who, for the last 30 years, kept youngsters away from pens and books and instead handed them Kalashnikovs, he added.

“It cannot be denied that it was during the PPP government that the University of Sindh was established, which has the capacity to enroll 30,000 students in Hyderabad,” Haider claimed. He mentioned that PPP also built engineering, medical and agriculture universities and even elevated Government College, Hyderabad to a university status.

He said that the agreement was signed in haste, forgetting the fact that several points mentioned in the MoU come under the domain of the provincial government; therefore, only Sindh Assembly could introduce such legislations.

“MQM should have negotiated with PPP. It seems that the agreement has been signed at the behest of forces that do not give any importance to the provincial powers,” he added.

Haider clarified that injustice as a result of the census was not done with Karachi alone but throughout Sindh. “To undo this injustice, a meeting chaired by the former prime minister that was attended by all parliamentary party leaders was held in the Senate that culminated in an agreement,” he said, adding that it was signed by all parliamentary parties, including the leaders of MQM and PTI.

He stated that the controversial issue of results for the census had been brought up in the last meeting of the Council of Common Interests but the council failed to reach a verdict.

However, he complained that the MoU signed between the two parties only referred to the census issue in Karachi that too in negation of the national level agreement signed by the parliamentary party heads.

Haider also mentioned that the MoU sought audit of polls in certain constituencies on MQM’s demand, thereby bypassing the Election Commission of Pakistan. He warned that such a move would be a great injustice with the respective voters and candidates.

He said that the PPP Election Cell itself was conducting a country-wide scientific study regarding the polling process. He added that such an investigation has pointed out some questionable aspects of the general elections on July 25.

Haider alleged that the agreement has given due preference to the vested interests of its signatories instead of taking care of the interests of the people of Karachi. “Those who have schemed against the movement for free and fair elections in the country will eventually fall into their own trap,” he warned.