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Thursday, May 23, 2024

MQM threatens again: Will Imran Khan bow down for keeping power?

MQM-P has only six seats and holds important positions in the federal cabinet, but continues to blackmail the PTI’s government of withdrawing its support. Will Prime Minister Imran Khan succumb to pressure?

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) warns the government of reviewing its support if the problems of Karachi are not adequately addressed. Mayor Waseem Akhtar, who is also deputy convener of the MQM-P’s Rabita Committee, said on Friday that his party would be compelled to review its support to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government in the Centre if the problems of the city were not resolved.

He further said the MQM-P was not going to repeat the mistakes committed in the past as it would no more be a part of making or breaking the government. “We joined the federal government for the solution of problems in the city as our people are facing hardships,” he said, adding that the party would now have to decide whether it should continue its support to the federal government or not.

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

The MQM-P has six seats in the national assembly and two of its members are in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet. In the 2018 election, the 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.

Bilawal offers ministries to MQM-P

It is worth noting that the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto has publically offered ministries to MQM-P if it decides to quit the coalition government in the center. During his address, Bilawal said if MQM breaks off its alliance with PTI and manages to get Sindh its share in resources, the provincial government will “stand by [MQM] for the sake of Karachi’s people”.

“Today or tomorrow, all the facilitators, all the allies [of PTI] will have to take this decision, will have to save Pakistan and end Naya Pakistan. Topple it, topple it, topple Imran’s government,” he said. “We will give you an equal number of ministries in Sindh. The only condition is that you send Imran home,” the PPP chairman further said.

MQM-P’s Response

In response to Bilawal’s offer, Waseem Akhtar had said the party will take the final decision on whether it should quit the coalition government or not. He said while the MQM-P and the PPP could “sit together” to solve Karachi’s problems, the mayor said his party had not joined the coalition government for seats but to resolve Karachi’s outstanding issues. “MQM-P has never indulged in the politics of ministries. We supported the PTI so that Karachi’s issues could be resolved,” Akhtar had said.

Read more: PM Khan praises MQM-P, bashes Bilawal

Moreover, the MQM-P also issued a statement in which it said that while the party was not satisfied with the PTI-led government’s performance, it will continue to support it.

Announce special package for Karachi and Hyderabad

The MQM-P asked the federal government in the last month to announce special packages for Karachi and Hyderabad.

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the MQM-P leader and a minister in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet, told the reporters that the country’s economy was going to be stabilized soon. “The indicators are telling us that the economy is going to be stabilized,” he said after a meeting with the PTI delegation. Siddiqui, however, complained that Karachi is not being given the importance.

Read more: Divide in MQM-P again: Ostensibly over senate tickets?

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who came to MQM-P’s Bahadurabad office along with Sindh governor, assured Siddiqui that their concerns would soon be addressed. “They cooperated with us in difficult times and supported us,” Qureshi told reporters.

It is worth mentioning here that “it is unfortunate that Prime Minister came to Karachi and announced Rs162 billion for Karachi but we didn’t even get Rs1billion from that Rs162billion,” senior MQM-P leader Amir Khan had told media on November 16.