ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) opted to support Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), enabling it to form the federal government, Express News reported on Wednesday night.
During an interview with the news channel, MQM-P Convenor Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that the party had decided to join hands with the PTI to help it form the government at the Centre.
“We have decided to sit on treasury benches instead of the opposition,” he said. “There is nothing wrong in sitting on the government benches.”
Dr Siddiqui went on to say, “Sitting with the opposition would have created doubts about our stance and because of this, the MQM-P had arrived at a consensus on this move.”
He said that keeping in view past experiences, the party had decided to be part of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly.
“The PPP does not need us there (in the Sindh Assembly),” the MQM-P leader maintained. “Now that the PTI has a (political) presence in Karachi, I’m sure they want to resolve this matter as soon as possible. Jahangir Tareen himself conveyed this message to me.”
PTI not to invite foreign dignitaries
After consulting with the Foreign Office, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is learnt to have decided not to invite foreign dignitaries to the oath-taking ceremony of prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan.
Instead of holding a public event, as had previously been announced, a simple yet dignified event would be held at President House.
The decision was taken during the party’s core committee meeting held at Khan’s Bani Gala residence on Wednesday.
Earlier, local media reports suggested that heads of states of all SAARC countries including Indian PM Narendra Modi, along with China, Turkey, and other friendly counties would be invited for the ceremony.
According to a senior PTI leader, who did not wish to be named, said the PTI chief wanted to keep this ceremony simple.
No heads of states would be invited, he said.
However, Imran Khan might still invite personal friends living in foreign countries, he added.
The meeting also held an in-depth discussion on the party’s numerical strength at the Centre and in Punjab.
The core committee was informed that PTI had managed to secure a simple majority in Punjab with the help of one of its coalition partners, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
The meeting was informed that so far, PTI had garnered the support of 19 of 30 independently-elected MPAs.
Later, the party released the list of the 19 MPAs who had joined PTI — Syed Rafaqat Gilani, Hanif Khan Patafi, Basharat Randhawa, Hussain Jahanian Gardaizi, Syed Sairul Hassan Shah, Raja Sagheer, Ajmal Cheema, Salman Naeem, Saeed Akbar Nawai, Amir Ahmad Khan, Fida Hussain Watto, Abdul Hai Dasti, Nawab Faisal Hayat, Malik Umar Farooq, Khawar Ali Shah, Taimur Khan, Taimur Lali, Sardar Khurram Khan Laghari and Muhammad Aslam Bharwan.
With the inclusion of these MPAs, PTI’s total strength has now touched 142 seats in the Punjab Assembly.
If PML-Q’s support is included, the tally touches 150, one seat above 149 the number of lawmakers needed for a simple majority in the province.
However, a senior PTI leader said the party was still trying to win over other independently-elected lawmakers to be able to form the provincial government on its own and without the support of any allied parties.
“PML-Q is an ally, but we are trying to reach the grand total of 149 without anyone’s support,” he said.
Later, Khan’s spokesperson Naeemul Haque held a press conference, saying that several world leaders have called Imran Khan and congratulated him on his party’s victory in the July 25 general election.
Commenting on news reports about inviting foreign dignitaries, Haque said that this had never occurred in Pakistan.
Earlier, talking to media outside the Supreme Court, PTI’s information secretary Fawad Chaudhry said that PTI had invited former Indian cricketers, including Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu in addition to Bollywood actor Amir Khan to participate in Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony.