Has PTI managed to pacify MQM-P?

MQM-P was threatening to say goodbye to the government if there were no projects to be started in Karachi. PTI now seems to be serious and committed to please its allies. However, the question is whether this policy of appeasement will work or not.

MQM-P

To pacify the MQM-P, Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar has announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Karachi to inaugurate flyover projects constructed in Karachi, local media reported on Sunday.

Asad Umar made the media statement while visiting three flyover projects in Karachi. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar, Ali Zaidi, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Ameenul Haq, Usama Qadri and other officials have visited the under-construction flyovers in Karachi on Sunday.

During the visit, Asad Umar was briefed over the construction and development progress of the flyovers being constructed at KDA, Five Star and Sakhi Hassan areas with the cost of Rs2.3 billion.

Governor Ismail, Asad Umar and Mayor Karachi have also inspected the ongoing construction work of the flyovers.

The planning minister announced that PM Imran Khan will soon visit Karachi to inaugurate the projects and the flyovers will be opened for public transport at earliest. He added that the repair work of service roads adjacent to the flyovers is also underway.

Read more: MQM-P, a difficult ally, decides to back the PTI-led government in the Center

Umar said that the federal government is working efficiently to provide relief to the nationals besides creating opportunities, especially for the youth. He added that Kamyab Jawan programme will generate job opportunities for the nationals while 500,000 people will get training for different skills under Hunarmand Pakistan project. The minister continued that the federal government will also dispatch Rs20 billion worth loans among women to give them chances to play an active role for the development of the society.

Recently, in a bid to save its alliance with MQM-P, the PTI-led government has reportedly shared its working on 44 development projects with an estimated cost of Rs119 billion for Karachi to its coalition partner.

Sources at the PM Secretariat said that there were delays in the execution as some of the projects taken up by the Center were problematic in nature. The projects included the Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) with a total revised cost of Rs 25.5 billion on a cost-sharing basis of 50:50 by the Center and Sindh government. The planning commission identified major flaws in the project’s design and asked the province to accomplish the project within a stipulated time frame and cost.

Read more: Future of PTI’s government: Will the Opposition be able to bring in-house change?

The federal government had earmarked Rs 9.3 billion for this project a few years ago as part of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) but the allocated amount could not be utilized.

Now there are fears that the project cost has increased as the Sindh government is planning to revise the cost to Rs75 billion. The decision was taken after the inclusion of newly developed areas of the city and installation office megawatt electricity plant to ensure a smooth water supply.

Notably, PTI’s chairman and Prime Minister Imran Khan recently directed a government committee to meet the MQM-P leadership to resolve their grievances after the Karachi-based party received an offer from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to join Sindh Government. Sources inside the government believe that MQM-P is building up pressure on the government to get maximum benefits. It is worth noting that besides other important offices, the Law Ministry is held by Farogh Naseem, a prominent leader of MQM-P.

Read more: Govt is willing to share progress on 44 development projects with MQM-P

The MQM-P has six seats in the national assembly and one of its members is in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet. In the 2018 election, PTI emerged as the largest party in the urban Sindh with 14 national assembly seats in Karachi. The MQM-P showed reservations over the election results but became the part of the government after PTI leader Jahangir Tareen paid a visit to the MQM-P headquarters in Karachi’s Bahadurabad.

Speaking to media, MQM-P leader Khawaja Izhar said his party was ready to accept Bilawal’s offer and join forces with the PPP if it improved the local government system in Sindh. “Our hopes from the federal government are dying as they did not honor their promises,” he said.

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