Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) ministers resigned from the federal and provincial cabinets on Tuesday.
Federal ministers Dr Farooq Sattar, Babar Khan Ghouri and minister of state Dr Nadeem Ihsan sent in their resignations to President Asif Ali Zardari.
MQM ministers of the Sindh cabinet also resigned from their posts. MQM leader Raza Haroon said all ministers had stopped working after yesterday’s announcement and they were formally resigning from the cabinet.
Earlier, Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad had also resigned from his post.
Offices of the MQM provincial ministers were also found abandoned today. Fourteen ministers of the MQM were serving in the Sindh cabinet. Their portfolios included health, youth affairs, rural development, industry and trade, environment and sports.
Updated from print version (below)
AJK election fallout: MQM quits coalition – again
A day after declaring the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government ‘autocratic’ and its actions ‘dictatorial’, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) pulled out of the coalition governments at the centre as well as in Sindh while Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan, who belongs to the MQM, also resigned in line with his party’s decision.
MQM deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar made the announcement at a press conference in Karachi on Monday.
“The dictatorial and unconstitutional steps by the PPP government have compelled the MQM to part ways and sit on the opposition benches in the centre and Sindh,” he said.
It is “impossible to continue with a government that has no qualms about taking oppressive and dictatorial actions against its own allied party,” he said, adding that despite the PPP repeatedly breaking promises, the MQM “kept working with them for the sake of democracy.”
Relinquishing a seat
Differences between the PPP and the MQM emerged after the postponement of Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections for three seats representing the Kashmiri Diaspora in Karachi and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Sattar said the PPP had repeatedly pressured the MQM to give up one seat from Karachi in PPP’s favour. “We were told in unequivocal terms that if the MQM did not withdraw its candidate, elections in Karachi would be postponed,” he added.
He also alleged that Interior Minister Rehman Malik was constantly in touch with the MQM leadership, and kept pressuring them to relinquish the seat.
The MQM had earlier boycotted the elections, blaming the Sindh government for the postponement, even though the announcement came from the AJK Election Commission, which said that the law and order situation in Karachi was not conducive to holding an election.
The MQM leader also blamed the government for not protecting its workers and leaders, stating that more than 300 MQM workers had been killed under the present government.
Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan has tendered his resignation to President Asif Ali Zardari, confirmed presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar.
Ebad has been the youngest and longest-serving governor of the province and while the MQM has already quit the government once earlier this year, this is the first time that the governor has also stepped down.
Babar, in a statement from the presidency, said that the president was in the UK and was informed about Ebad’s resignation. He added that Ebad should review his decision.
Talking to the media at the airport, Ebad said that he was going to London on a private visit and could not say when he would return. “I became governor on the orders of my leadership and have decided to resign on their directives,” he said.
Official sources, however, said that the governor has left for London to meet with his party leadership.
Petition filed in court
The MQM, meanwhile, filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday against the alleged government interference in and the postponement of elections for the AJK Legislative Assembly seats in Karachi.
The petition will be heard by a division bench of SHC on Tuesday. It was filed by Muhammad Saleem Butt and Muhammad Tahir Khokhar, incumbent members of the AJK Legislative Assembly belonging to the MQM. Butt and Khokhar are also ticket holders of the party for two general seats LA30 and LA36 from Karachi.
The federal and Sindh government, along with the IG Sindh, have been made parties in the petition and the MQM has requested an urgent hearing of the case.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2011.