KARACHI: Before taking over reins of the federal government, the would-be coalition of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) suffered a blow on Monday when local leadership of both the parties criticised each other, terming their alliance a bitter pill to swallow.
The controversy erupted when PTI Karachi President Firdous Shamim Naqvi, who has also been nominated by his party as the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, came down hard on the MQM-P and said, “The alliance with MQM is not our choice, but we have made the alliance because of the compulsion to acquire simple majority in National Assembly to form the government.”
Speaking to the media, Naqvi said that the PTI’s stance on the MQM had not changed. “We have not backtracked from our earlier position. MQM has ruined Karachi and it has faced defeat in the general elections because of the poor performance of its mayor in Karachi,” he had said, adding that the PTI had hesitantly compromised with the MQM as it needed required numbers in the NA.
Earlier, the MQM-P, which has won six general seats in the NA, announced to support the PTI in forming its federal government and signed a nine-point agreement with the PTI, in which it demanded a development package for Karachi, along with reviewing ongoing targeted operation and reforms in police and local government system.
Soon after the remarks made by the PTI Karachi president went viral, MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and other leaders, including Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar and Faisal Subzwari, asked the PTI leadership to clarify its position over Naqvi’s remarks.
“Imran Khan should take notice of the remarks passed by the PTI leader in Karachi,” said Subzwari, who is also one of the signatories to the PTI-MQMP agreement. “PTI leaders must know that their supremo Imran Khan would not be in line to be the country’s next premiership without MQM support,” he said while talking to media personnel.
“We [MQM] lent our support to the PTI because the PPP has always disappointed the people of Sindh,” Subzwari said, adding that if such statements from the side of the PTI continued, it would not be possible for the MQM to be a part of the coalition.
Reacting to Naqvi’s remarks against him, the Karachi mayor said the politicians who were targeting him for their political gains must understand how vital MQM’s support was for their party. Such remarks are only made for cheap political publicity, Akhtar retorted.
Former opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hasan asked Khan and Jahangir Tareen to take action against Naqvi.
PTI pacifies MQM-P
Talking notice of the issue, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi termed Naqvi’s statement as his personal remarks, saying “PTI has nothing to do with his statement”. He added that the PTI had decided to include the MQM-P in the federal government in the best interests of the country.
To further pacify the MQM-P, Qureshi declared that its leaders were patriotic Pakistanis who had expelled back sheep from their ranks.
It was also revealed that the PTI chief, who was once the MQM’s arch-rival, was also displeased with Naqvi’s remarks, calling them unfounded. He assured the MQM-P that he would seek explanation from Naqvi on his statement.