PPP-MQM negotiations: Still no progress on coalition talks

President calls Altaf Hussain; Wassan predicts MQM rejoining govt in a week.

Hafeez Tunio September 06, 2011

KARACHI: A two-and-a-half hour session of negotiations between the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement yielded no tangible results on Monday, though both parties stated their resolve to continue the dialogue.

Federal Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah, a PPP MNA from Sukkur, along with Sindh Local Governments Minister Agha Siraj Durrani and Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan, met with Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan of the MQM to try to bridge the political divide between the two parties.

The meeting, however, was marked by the conspicuous absence of senior MQM leaders, including the party’s deputy convenor Farooq Sattar.

Wassan, while speaking to the media after the meeting, said that the MQM had demanded some specific cabinet positions in the federal and Sindh governments, a matter which he said will be resolved soon. He also predicted that the MQM would rejoin the coalition within a week.

Earlier in the day, President Zardari had a 45-minute telephone conversation with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. The president had called Hussain to inquire after his health after the MQM chief’s recent hospitalisation. A press release issued by the MQM stated that the conversation was friendly and that the two leaders agreed that their parties needed to cooperate, but stopped short of saying whether the MQM would rejoin the ruling coalition.

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