MQM-P assures PM of 'full support', says Qureshi

Foreign minister says PM held fruitful talks with key ally

Our Correspondent March 09, 2022


A day after the joint opposition submitted the no-confidence motion, Prime Minister Imran Khan flew in to Karachi on Wednesday for a daylong visit in an effort to woo the coalition parties from Sindh – the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).

This was Imran's first visit to MQM-P head office in Bahadurabad since becoming the prime minister. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Federal Minister Ali Zaidi and Sindh Governor Imran Ismail.

During the meeting, the prime minister was assured of MQM-P’s ‘full support’, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a statement issued in Karachi. The prime minister's meeting with the MQM-P leadership in Karachi was very fruitful,” he added.

“Both parties discussed political issues in detail and finalised a workable strategy for the future [against the backdrop of no-trust motion]. The MQM is our ally and both parties have been supporting each other. The MQM leadership expressed full confidence in the prime minister,” Qureshi added.

According to the foreign minister, the prime minister discussed the political situation with the MQM-P leadership, adding that both sides also exchanged views on the Urban Development Plan and the Karachi Development Package.

“They [MQM-P leadership] neither made any demand nor complained about anything,” Qureshi further said in the statement. “The MQM leadership assured us of their full support and PTI is thankful for the hospitality and support they granted to us,” he added.

Earlier, MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Aamir Khan, Nasreen Jalil, Kanwar Naveed Jamil, Aminul Haq, Wasim Akhtar and other leaders welcomed the prime minister. Their meeting lasted over 50 minutes. After the meeting, neither the prime minister nor any PTI leader spoke to the media.

Read No confidence motion: PML-N MPs barred from going abroad

However, Dr Siddiqui later said that the visit was pre-arranged and that their meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere. “During the meeting, the prime minister did not discuss the no-confidence nor did he ask us for assurance,” he said. “We did not put forward any complaints,” he added.

“We are allies of the government and if our demands are not taken seriously we have our options open,” Siddiqui said in response to a question. “Whatever decision we will take it will be in the best interest of the people, Sindh and Pakistan.”

When asked specifically by a reporter whether the MQM-P would support the prime minister, Siddiqui replied: “We are with him since he is the prime minister.” He added that nothing was to be decided in Wednesday’s meeting.

Dr Siddiqui said that some of the points agreed with the government had been implemented, including the census and the establishment of a university in Hyderabad, but added that still there were many points to be implemented.

Sources, however, said that during the meeting, the MQM-P discussed the opening of party offices. They added that one office – the Hyderabad zonal office – had been opened so far, but the party sought permission for opening of the Khurshid Begum Hall, and Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Liaquatabad Sector Offices.

When asked about the opening of the MQM-P offices, Dr Siddiqui said that the party did not need the offices. He added that Nine-Zero was not the party office anymore, so why would we ask for it, Dr Siddiqui responded to another question.

Senior party leader Aamir Khan said that the MQM-P was an ally of the government but its options were open. “There was no discussion on the no-confidence motion in the whole meeting. Neither we gave any assurances nor did they ask for help,” he said.

The sources revealed that for the time being, the MQM-P had decided to adopt a wait-and-watch policy. They added that if the government asked them for their help on the issue of no-confidence motion, the party would hold consultation with its Rabita Committee before taking its final decision

Meanwhile, Imran also met with a GDA delegation, comprising Arif Jatoi, Hasnain Mirza, Moazzam Abbasi, Muhammad Rafiq, Shahriar Mahar, Nand Kumar Goklani, Naseem Akhtar Rajpar and Nusrat Sehar Abbasi.

On the occasion, Imran said that he would come out of the no-confidence motion easily, assuring the ally that the opposition would fail miserably in its plan to dislodge the government. He also assured the GDA he would focus on Sindh after defeating the no-trust motion.

The prime minister commended Abbasi, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, Shehryar Mahar and others for supporting the PTI in the Sindh rights march. Goklani told the media after the meeting that the GDA had assured the prime minister of its support in the current situation.


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