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May 20, 2019

As opposition parties’ central leaders meet in capital, Sindh chiefs follow suit


May 20, 2019

Sunday was a busy day for leaders of various political parties – both in the government and in the opposition – who had to attend Iftar parties for political discussions and decisions. Three major political parties – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) – organised separate Iftar dinners on Sunday in which they invited leaders of various political and religious parties, media persons, notables and businessmen.

Meanwhile, an Iftar dinner was also held by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail in which he invited leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allies, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).

An interesting situation was witnessed as some of the political leaders arrived at one of the parties only to leave shortly as they had to mark their attendance at other events as well.

PML-N’s show

However, of all the four Iftar dinners, the event of the PML-N turned out to be a grand show as local leaders of key opposition parties in the Centre such as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Awami National Party (ANP), the National Party, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and some Sindhi nationalist parties gathered there to discuss the political scenario as at the same time, their central leaders were present at the Zardari House in Islamabad to forge a grand opposition alliance against the PTI-led federal government.

The Iftar dinner on Sunday was the PML-N’s first mega political activity in Karachi after its reorganisation at the central, provincial and city levels. The party’s newly appointed central secretary general, Ahsan Iqbal, especially arrived in the city to attend the party’s events and discuss the PML-N’s organisational crisis in the province. He was the chief guest at the Iftar gathering.

In the recent major restructuring of the party, the PML-N’s central leadership announced a few new office-bearers for Sindh and its capital Karachi where the party had been suffering badly due to factionalism. The PML-N chose former finance minister Miftah Ismail for the post of the provincial secretary general; whereas, veteran party leader Ali Akbar Gujjar was appointed as the provincial senior vice-president. For running the party’s affairs in Karachi, the PML-N appointed Muhammad Salman Khan and Nasiruddin Mehmood for the posts of the president and secretary general respectively.

The party’s newly appointed Sindh leadership, including provincial president Shah Muhammad Shah and secretary general Ismail, managed to gather key provincial leaders of various political parties at the Iftar-cum-dinner. However, there were no representatives of the PTI, the MQM-P and the component parties of the GDA as their leaders attended the governor’s Iftar dinner hosted at the Governor House.

Almost all the key leaders of the PML-N from Sindh and Balochistan were present at the gathering. They included former president Mamnoon Hussain, former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair, PML-N’s Balochistan president and former federal minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, former Balochistan chief minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, and PML-N Sindh’s stalwarts Nihal Hashmi, MNA Kheeal Das Kohistani and Gujjar.

Abdul Malik Baloch, the NP’s central president and former Balochistan chief minister, was also present at the event along with several key leaders of the PPP, including former Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, PPP Sindh President Nisar Khuhro, Secretary General Waqar Mehdi, Rashid Rabbani and Habibuddin Junaidi.

Shahi Syed and Younas Bunairee from the ANP, Qari Muhammad Usman from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Asadullah Bhutto from the JI, Syed Ghulam Shah of the Sindh United Party (SUP) and Sajjad Ahmed Chandio from the Awami Tehreek were among other prominent participants.

Some of the political leaders were also asked to speak to the gathering. They stressed the need for forming an alliance to start a campaign against the PTI-led federal government. The speakers expressed severe concerns over the prevailing economic situation in the country in the wake of an increase in oil prices and the unprecedented devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar. They said they would follow the direction and strategy that was likely to be formed at the Zardari House in Islamabad.

Governor’s Iftar party

The governor convened an Iftar dinner in honour of parliamentarians of the PTI and its allied parties, the MQM-P and the GDA. Those who attended the event included GDA’s Sadruddin Shah Rashdi, Federal Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro, PTI MPAs Firdous Shamim Naqvi and Haleem Adil Shaikh, MQM-P’s Faisal Subzwari and Khawaja Izharul Hasan, and GDA MPAs Nusrat Sahar Abbasi, Sheharyar Mahar, and Arif Mustafa Jatoi.

PSP event

The PSP invited leaders of almost all the political parties except the MQM-P in its Iftar dinner held at a local banquet. Provincial minister Nasir Hussain Shah, former chief minister Ghous Ali Shah, SUP chief and former deputy speaker Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, PTI Karachi president and MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek chief Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, ANP Sindh chief Shahi Syed, and GDA leaders Irfanullah Marwat, Safdar Abbasi and Naheed Khan were prominent among those who attended the event.

JI function

JI central chief Sirajul Haq attended the Iftar dinner organised by the party’s District South chapter at a local ground in Lyari. JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, MPA Syed Abdul Rasheed, Secretary Information Zahid Askari and other local office-bearers were also present at the event.