Continuing its quest for options, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has once again emerged satisfied – at least for the time being – after a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, who assured the MQM team that he will look into their grievances.
The MQM delegation, which was led by its parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Dr Farooq Sattar, met President Zardari and discussed with him the political situation in the wake of provocative statements by one of his close associates, Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza.
After the meeting, Dr Sattar, who is also the minister for overseas Pakistanis, told reporters that President Zardari had described Mirza’s statement as personal remarks which had nothing to do with the policy of the Pakistan Peoples Party.
Sources privy to the meeting told The Express Tribune that MQM has extended its ‘deadline’ till January 15, asking the President to take “some action” against Mirza. They did not specify what action they wanted the president to take.
When an MQM leader, who was part of the delegation, was asked to deliberate upon the assurance given by the president, he said: “The president said that he will take appropriate action and he expressed the desire to take along his allies.”
When asked if their party demanded an action like removal of Dr Mirza he said: “We asked him (the president) to take cognizance of the situation and ensure that such incidents did not recur.”
Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman for President Zardari, said coalition matters in Sindh and issues of concern to the MQM were also discussed during the meeting.
The MQM delegation is said to have left the matter on the president’s discretion, adding that they had full confidence in him.
The president took cognizance of the reservations expressed by the MQM delegation and said that appropriate measures will be taken to address them, the presidential spokesman said. He added that the PPP believes in reconciliation and had great respect for all coalition partners and that these principles will guide the party and the government in addressing all issues of concern.
Meanwhile, MQM continued contacting other political parties.
In an unusual move, MQM chief Altaf Hussain contacted Munawwar Hassan, the chief of Jamaat-i-Islami, viewed to be an arch political rival.
The MQM chief also spoke with PML-Q’s Waseem Sajjad, who is also leader of the opposition in the Senate.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2010.