The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and Minhajul Quran International (MQI) have decided to join forces and agreed on Thursday to hold the promised “million-man march” jointly to press for a neutral caretaker set-up and free, fair and transparent elections.
Although the MQM has agreed to Dr Tahirul Qadri’s stance of carrying out the long march, the final decision in this regard will be taken in their next meeting which is scheduled to be held on Saturday in Karachi.
MQM’s high-level delegation, led by Farooq Sattar met with MQI founder Qadri at his office and both leaders contemplated on the prospects of staging a long march on January 14.
Those who attended the meeting said that Qadri will visit MQM’s headquarters in Karachi on Saturday to deliberate over the execution of the long march plan, and discuss further options available if the government responds to their demands by January 10.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Farooq Sattar said that both the leaders have agreed that the upcoming general elections should be on time and should be free from corruption. In order to achieve this target, Sattar said, both parties want to see a neutral caretaker set-up which should be impartial and autonomous, one that the nation trusts.
Qadri endorsed Sattar’s point of view, and said the two parties will continue consulting each other regarding the January 14 march. The long march would be a joint venture between MQM and his party, Qadri said, and that it would bring in electoral reforms.
Sattar from Lahore Airport
Earlier, speaking to the media at the Allama Iqbal Airport, Sattar alleged that Secretary Election Commission was biased and wanted to destroy the peaceful atmosphere of Karachi.
He said that the election commission’s secretary was being partial and wanted to change MQM’s mandate in Karachi. Sattar demanded that the chief election commissioner (CEC) should investigate the attitude of the ECP secretary and remove him from his position.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2012.