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January 19, 2020

MQM refuses to rejoin federal cabinet

Top Story

January 19, 2020

KARACHi: Some positive signs emerged on Saturday following PTI delegation's visit to the offices of its disgruntled ally, the MQM P, indicating a thaw, but the Muttahida Quami Movement once again flatly refused to rejoin the federal cabinet.

The mixed signals and the 'indications to the effect' were noted by media persons as the second huddle was held between the two political parties, who are coalition partners in the federal government. The talks were held at the headquarters of MQM Pakistan in Bahadurabad and the PTI’s side in the negotiations was represented by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, and senior party leader Jahangir Khan Tareen. They held the talks with the chief of MQM Pakistan Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and members of the party’s Rabtaa Committee.

The back to back talks are being held following Dr Siddiqui's sudden decision to quit the federal government and the party to move out of the cabinet. Following the intense negotiations, the MQM Pakistan pressed hard their viewpoint that their primary concern was addressing the problems of the people of Sindh while remaining in the government was not a major interest. However, the MQM leaders, said that they would continue to support the federal government. The next round of meeting will be soon be held in Islamabad, the allies agreed.

Talking to media persons after talks with the MQM, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak reported progress in the negotiations, saying there will be good news soon. He said despite some recent misunderstandings, the MQM would continue to be their ally in the future as well. Khattak said that all the issues in question had come under discussion and pledged to address the shortcomings. “No major issue has remained unresolved during the meeting and a few minor problems would also be resolved accordingly,” he said. “I want to tell the entire country that nobody is going to leave us as we stand united and we would remain so for five years,” Khattak said. The defence minister said that MQM had given them a warm reception and they would visit the place again. He said that meetings were being held with all the allies of the government on the PM's instructions.

Addressing the media, a cautious MQM leader Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said "there was a clear headway in the talks" and recalled that his party had announced unconditional support to the PTI when its government was being formed. He said that all the issues and problems were communicated to PTI in the previous session of talks as well. “There has been agreement on some of the points, while the language of some of the other points has been changed. We put up our demands and the PTI delegation has made new promises to address them,” he said. The MQM leader said that none of their demands carried any vested personal or party interest. These issues are related to Karachi and other urban parts of Sindh, the MQM convener said. “We are extremely worried over economic terrorism perpetrated against Urban Sindh during the last 11 years and the nation has suffered irreparable damage on the account of the 18th (Constitutional) Amendment,” said the MQM leader. He said that the urban parts of the province have been literally abandoned and only a swift remedial action was needed to solve their problems. The MQM-P leader said that the shopkeepers, industrialists, and businessmen of Karach are dutifully paying their tax, adding that the business-cum commercial hub accounts for over 65 pc revenue collection is helping to run the affairs of Pakistan. He said the people of Karachi do not require any donation or aid. “I believe every one of us here is accountable for putting the entire urban Sindh in limbo,” he said. Siddiqui hinted at some positivity, saying said clear progress will be seen by all of us in the coming few months, few weeks, or days.

The PTI’s delegation also comprised Leader of Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, MPAs of the party Haleem Adil Shaikh and Khurrum Sher Zaman. While Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was assisted in the talks by Syed Aminul Haq, Aamir Khan, Kanwar Naveed Jamil and Faisal Sabzwari.