Tackling challenges: Zardari agrees to hold roundtable meeting

MQM demands re-introduction of Musharraf era-local govt system.

Hafeez Tunio July 24, 2012


The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has advised President Asif Ali Zardari to convene a roundtable of all political parties in an effort to steer the country out of a myriad of challenges. 

The suggestion was put forward by an MQM delegation which met with President Zardari at Bilawal House in Karachi on Monday.

MQM deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar led the delegation which comprised Nasreen Jalil, Babar Ghauri, Adil Siddiqui and Raza Haroon.

“After the meeting, the president directed the prime minister to convene the roundtable conference,” Raza Haroon told journalists.

He added that the MQM would urge all political parties – including the Awami National Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – to attend the conference.

“We will meet with Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hassan today (Tuesday) while a meeting with ANP leader Asfandyar Wali has been scheduled for July 25 in Islamabad.”

The general secretary of the Sindh chapter of ANP said that the MQM has asked for a meeting with Asfandyar Wali to discuss the security situation in Karachi.

The timing for the roundtable has not been decided yet – but the MQM leaders said the date would be announced after consultation with leaders of all the parties.

Local government

The MQM also demanded the government introduce a local government system akin to the one put in place by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

“We have asked the president to re-introduce the local government system which was in place from 2001 to 2005,” said Haroon about the issue, which has been the bone of contention between MQM and the PPP.

The two parties are now negotiating to come up with a ‘hybrid’ system that will include some of the old clauses with minor changes, said Haroon.

Provincial Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said members of the PPP core committee were meeting daily on the directives of the president to finalise a new, consensus system.

“I would like to clarify once again that we will not just re-introduce Musharraf’s system. We will put in place a new system in the province.”

Soomro added that the draft would be finalised and a bill moved in the Sindh Assembly by November.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2012.