PPP-MQM: The deal has been done

Published: August 6, 2011
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Local government system 2001 to be restored in Karachi, Hyderabad in first phase; ordinance expected in 48 hours. PHOTO: FILE

Local government system 2001 to be restored in Karachi, Hyderabad in first phase; ordinance expected in 48 hours. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

Following days of mutual recrimination, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and its estranged coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), have finally agreed to a formula which will pave the way for the latter’s eventual return to the government.

According to the formula, in the first phase, the PPP has conceded to the MQM’s demand for the restoration of the local government system – but only in Karachi and Hyderabad. However, in the remaining 21 districts of Sindh, the commissionerate system will remain in place, highly-placed sources told Daily Express.

(Read: Let’s do it commissionery style)

Following days of political friction and bloodletting in Karachi, there has been a gradual softening of stances in both the PPP and MQM.

On Friday, leaders of both parties met at an Iftar hosted by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah in Karachi in what was meant to be an ice-breaking congregation. However, what most of those fraternising at the Karachi iftar did not know was that meetings of real consequence were already being held elsewhere – particularly in Islamabad.

Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad of the MQM held a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, followed by an Iftar dinner at the Presidency on Friday.

Sources said that PPP’s senior leaders in Sindh are not aware of the new agreement as President Asif Ali Zardari is handling the situation.

“The law and order situation in Karachi was discussed during the meeting. The president later hosted a dinner for the governor,” said a two-line statement issued by the Presidency.

When contacted, Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar refused to divulge details of the meeting. However, sources disclosed that the meeting was a follow up of a decision taken at the Presidency two days earlier, where the allied parties in the Sindh government had authorised Zardari to intervene and take all necessary steps to bring normalcy in the violence-hit financial hub of the country and to bring the MQM back into the government’s fold.

According to sources, the government’s legal wizards have started drafting an ordinance whereby municipal corporations and district municipal corporations will be abolished in Karachi and Hyderabad.

Sources added that the MQM is likely to rejoin the provincial and federal cabinets following the restoration of the local bodies system in the two major urban centres of the province.

In the second phase, sources said, the commissionerate system would either be abolished or amended to make the office of commissioner subservient to the city mayor (nazim).

Following a consensus among top PPP leaders, the draft agreement has been sent to the MQM for final approval. If the MQM accepts to the draft, sources said, the government is likely to issue the ordinance within the next 48 hours.

The MQM is insisting that three ordinances should be promulgated simultaneously to do away with the Local Government Ordinance 1979, Police Act 1861 and the commissioner system.

However, sources said that the party has apparently relented in backchannel talks with the PPP which says the three ordinances should be abolished in phases.

Sources said that the government is also giving serious thought to the MQM demand for holding local bodies’ elections in Sindh or to appoint political administrators instead of bureaucrats. But the sources clarified that no decision has been taken yet. The two parties have also agreed that their leaders would not make provocative statements against each other’s parties. And in future, differences would be resolved in closed-door meetings.

‘Eid together’

Meanwhile, over at the Iftar in Karachi, Sindh Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani said that MQM would rejoin the government before the end of Ramazan and the two parties would celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr together.

Talking to media men on the occasion, he said there had been negotiations between MQM and PPP on various issues and the president had directed them to take MQM on board. “The commissionerate and local government system has been the bone of contention between MQM and PPP. We cannot reverse the decision, but we can bring amendments to it,” he said, adding that leaders of MQM were expressing concern over the commissionerate system, but they had failed to propose their desired amendments.

Durrani added that the government had not yet decided over the issue of MQM ministers’ resignations. “We are still waiting for MQM to rejoin the cabinet, I hope the ministers will resume their jobs before Eid,” he said.

Referring to the Sindh cabinet meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad, he said: “All our powers have been given to the president to decide the fate of the coalition.”

MQM leader Raza Haroon said that MQM could rejoin government in the best interest of the country. “We should not waste our time discussing the old local government system of 1979, but there is a dire need to bring the internationally acclaimed modern local government system of 2001,” he said.

Haroon added: “We do not have personal gain in politics, we are advocating for the rights of people and we will continue to do so whether we are in the government or the opposition,” Haroon added. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM CORRESPONDENTS IN KARACHI AND ISLAMABAD)

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Aamer
    Aug 6, 2011 - 4:09AM

    All the bloodshed, violence, business disruption just for that? These ‘adults’ (as some people like to call them) are the worst adults ever, i hope Pakistan doesn’t get these sort of ‘adults’ ever again.

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  • Ghulam Mustafa Chaniho
    Aug 6, 2011 - 4:29AM

    Mission Black Karachi mail successful.

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  • Tahir
    Aug 6, 2011 - 5:05AM

    Thia is a disgrace, do these political parties have no sense of shame?

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  • Jack
    Aug 6, 2011 - 5:19AM

    After killing so many innocent people ….return to the politics ……… shame on both of the parties ……….. still if people vote them than shame on us Recommend

  • Khalid
    Aug 6, 2011 - 5:39AM

    MQM has no choice but to rejoin the government or you will see more intense violence in Karachi. This is what essentially the game is – PPP is using violence to blackmail MQM to rejoin or they would unleash different proxy forces on Karachi on one hand and on the other rangers and police will get into the motivated ‘operation’ mode targeted at the MQM. This strategy of the PPP is successful because the army establishment also supports PPP on this – this is how rangers (essentially under the command of army) are playing the same partisan role as the police in Karachi. To know in more detail as to how PPP is using violence to pressurize the MQM to stay or rejoin the government for the last three and a half years, read this post: http://karachitargetkilling.wordpress.com/b

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  • Secrecy
    Aug 6, 2011 - 5:52AM

    I cannot believe that this “lota party”, which i am confident is responsible for all the massacre in Karachi, just did to compel government to kneel down so that they agree to their terms. This is not done – From what I have been reading over the months I conclude that MQM is mere a curse for the people of Karachi. They have been the cause of massive devastation and bloodshed which resulted in 800 lives this year.

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  • Meekal
    Aug 6, 2011 - 6:00AM

    It is lovely out there . . . lets go for a walk . . . oh look, it is raining bullets . . . and afterwards, there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow . . . what a paradise Karachi is . . . and they all lived happily ever after!

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  • Realist.
    Aug 6, 2011 - 6:15AM

    People Of karachi should not vote any of these parties.
    Even Jamat-e-islami is better than these (PPP ANP & MQM) blood thirsty parties.

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  • Aug 6, 2011 - 6:24AM

    Much of the normalcy to return to Karachi soon hopefully. Afterall it is just a turf war out there!

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  • Zamir
    Aug 6, 2011 - 6:36AM

    MashAllah, Pakistan indeed is a model for democracy & democratic principles!

    Recommend

  • Zain Kamran
    Aug 6, 2011 - 7:12AM

    Please don’t insult by calling them ‘ Political Parties ‘.
    They are a gang, and they love making films.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Aug 6, 2011 - 7:35AM

    @Aamer:
    I fully understand and respect your point of view. Any dialogue or compromise is far better than hate speech, confrontation and nonstop bloodletting. Thank God the senseless bloodshed appears to have stopped. The ongoing civil war is not a solution it is a problem in itself. I wish to see peace in my land no matter what the means or the cost.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • Dr Ali Huesien
    Aug 6, 2011 - 7:50AM

    When time comes to vote, just remember these developments.
    It is all about money, turf,power and more money.

    Recommend

  • AK
    Aug 6, 2011 - 8:39AM

    Let see how another province is formed in the geography of Sindh….

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  • Junaid
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:08AM

    @Khalid:
    How innocent you are?

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  • Jawed Khoso
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:12AM

    @Jack: Please don’t blame people. Its not they who bring them with their votes but their support comes from ‘THE ANGELS’ using the term of Pir Pagara. For Pakistani people i would use a quote of Shakespare with an apology if there is a mistake from me quoting him. ” As flies are to the wanton boys, so are we to gods, they kill us for their sport.” Pakistani people are for killing for national and international power players.

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  • Junaid
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:13AM

    Main Features of PK politics specially of Karachi:

    No rule No regulations
    Political black mailing
    Blame gaming,
    No responsibilities
    No Go Areas
    Hatred Wall chalking
    Politics of So called public but personal Interests

    Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:38AM

    Let’s see who am I voting for? No one again. Blank (or invalid) votes, FTW.

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  • Maher
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:56AM

    Ur deal has burned Karachi. U politicians are so so selfish that you guys don’t care. U want money, money & money.

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  • Ex-Pakistani
    Aug 6, 2011 - 10:56AM

    @Junaid:
    Enlighten me what is wrong in getting your political manifesto agreed? This is how it happens everywhere in the world. You are part of government to get your terms agreed. I think they did a damn good job.

    Recommend

  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 6, 2011 - 11:01AM

    @Zamir:
    What are democratic principle and why do you come to power? To be all emotional.Recommend

  • Aug 6, 2011 - 12:45PM

    @Secrecy:

    That is your hatred towards creators of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Aug 6, 2011 - 12:48PM

    @Realist.:
    Hello PML(N). You won’t get a single vote.

    Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Aug 6, 2011 - 1:25PM

    There are only three political parties in our country which are “Forward Looking” PPP, MQM and ANP. Alas if these parties put aside their personal interests and gains I am sure they can pull out our country from the mess we are now witnessing. There is a dire need for them to jell together both on internal and foreign policies. They should cooperate with other for the sake of our country and its people.

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  • Aug 6, 2011 - 2:05PM

    Same old drama.

    Reconciliation and peace in Karachi

    yawns

    Recommend

  • Asad Jahandad
    Aug 6, 2011 - 3:30PM

    @Khalid:
    Fantastic analysis! PPP is using violence to get MQM in! Good! PPP is pressurising MQM and also agreeing to their baseless demands! My, my, my…

    I am neither a supporter of MQM nor the PPP but what your political following is more than crystal clear.

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  • Asad Jahandad
    Aug 6, 2011 - 3:56PM

    I think the picture with this news clearly tells how the deal was achieved and by which “party”. Doesn’t it? Good one!

    Recommend

  • Secrecy
    Aug 6, 2011 - 5:18PM

    Anwar [email protected]
    And how does it relate to my reply above.

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  • Hassan
    Aug 6, 2011 - 5:45PM

    Peace above all else in Karachi. Who cares about principles when people are dying?

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  • xyz
    Aug 6, 2011 - 6:40PM

    Everyone whose calling these parties bad and without principles would be hypocrites if they vote for these same parties in the next elections… We people tend to just not take the blame on ourselves. Vote for the same parties again and again and then when they do what they are destined to do, we call them bad… Shame on the people too :S

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  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 6, 2011 - 9:20PM

    @xyz:
    So what is your concern here? You are upset that Karachi will have a system that is actually much better than the one others are proposing or that why did MQM make peace with PPP.
    What would you like MQM to do? Stand in opposition and confront?Recommend

  • Tanoli
    Aug 7, 2011 - 12:36AM

    Its like mariege after devorce.

    Recommend

  • dr Abid
    Aug 7, 2011 - 4:02AM

    @Saad Durrani:
    pakistan tehreek e insaf would b my next option. Giv imran a chance.

    Recommend

  • p****
    Aug 7, 2011 - 4:02AM

    “” salute politicians ….

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  • xyz
    Aug 7, 2011 - 5:48AM

    @ExPakistani.

    I want MQM to stop all this drama of leaving the govt and joining again every month and stop crying on Wadera system and being Allies with Waderas for the entire political life (sheer hypocrisy). I am totally in support of the LG system, but i don’t understand why the MQM are playing this musical chair. Although I have not singled out any party in my comment, and I consider all the three stake holders in Karachi to be the culprits for law and order situation. MQM always cries about the police not listening to it, but everybody knows that they too are part of politicizing the police just like the other two. What role have they played to cleanse the police force in the 5 years govt. during Musharraf rule. I give credit to MQM where they deserve (for eg. the work in karachi) but they need to get out of this violence, change must start from ones self. I say this because I have no hope from the jahil PPP and ANP and I hope they lose their hold in politics, but I have no doubt that MQM is here to stay, and I believe they can change their violent traditions.

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  • Muhammad
    Aug 7, 2011 - 1:06PM

    Its good for Karachi. Infact for Pakistan..
    this is all about Politics.. well played PPP.. poor MQM had no other option. Really PPP forced them to join again..

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  • Aug 7, 2011 - 11:53PM

    Every task has challenge and opportunity buts needs sacrifices to achieve such goal. PPP ignited Karachities by approving Commssionarete System in a just few hours. This issue was disputed and naturally angered Karachi people that instead of authorizing and delegating powers to people, PPP had reveresed the wheel and handed over authority to Naukar Shahi to their dismay.

    On the other hand, PPP was directly indulged in putting fuel on fire and was responsible to ignite Target killing whose ugly plan was made and implemented in the President House by Zardari —-> http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/jul2011-daily/12-07-2011/col3.htm. Sin and the blame for all those killed in this process in Karachi shall be on the head of Zardari and PPP.

    After great struggle, MQM succeeded in getting this anti-Karachities decision reversed. Congratulations to MQM for this Political achievement which will be seen for a long peace initiative in Karachi. Karachi will inshAllah see more development as we had seen in the past coutesy MQM leadership.

    Good work MQM – keep it up for the betterment of Karachi and Hyderabad. Let there be peace and let the wheel of industry be moving back to normal. Let there be normal business.

    One more Challenge for MQM to redress Electric Power load shedding in Karachi. They must put their pressure on Federal Government for improvement of power supply to Karachi.

    Regards

    Dr. Saleem Siddiqi
    Johannesburg – South Africa

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  • Ehsan Ali
    Aug 8, 2011 - 9:15PM

    When the commissionerate system was imposed, MQM criticised the PPP’s decision and demanded to reverse without realising that for a long lasting peace and tranquality of city commissionerate system is the only panacea. It is being observed that for strengthening democracy MQM goes one step forward and two steps back. It is like a minuet where MQM keeps going round and round in circles instead of moving forward. The people of Pakistan and Karachi need a break from all such political perambulations. MQM is lucky that there is a civilian government and working on the policy of reconciliation and extended its support to all the smaller political parties to grow within a democratic culture. The MQM Government needs to take stock of its blunders and start taking rational and well thought through decisions. Democracy may well be nascent in Pakistan but that does not mean that our politicians are permitted to make fools of themselves. We already have enough problems on our hands as it is without dealing with political naïveté.

    Recommend

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