Pakistan’s mainstream media is focusing on Aurat March and some controversial slogans. As per latest reports, parliamentarians, civil society and superior courts have also become part of the discourse. Though politicians and media persons in Lahore and Islamabad are busy discussing the dynamics and future prospects of Aurat March, yet Karachi is undergoing a major political shift.
Pakistan Muslim League-N’s (PML-N) leaders’ meetings with senior politicians from Karachi to chart a consensus for Pakistan’s political future continued on the second and final day of their tour of the port city.
A PML-N delegation, under senior party leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal, met estranged MQM leader Farooq Sattar at his residence to extend a conciliatory hand.
On the occasion, Abbasi recalled that party leader Nawaz Sharif had asked Sattar to join the PML-N, and said the invitation stands to date. “We haven’t extended an invitation to Sattar today, but continue to hope he will join the PML-N one day,” said Abbasi.
Abbasi said Sattar has made a major contribution to the country’s politics and his addition to the PML-N will fortify the cause of democracy. “We will also learn how to do politics from him,” the former prime minister said in a lighter vein.
Abbasi said that for the first time, political parties are not holding any talks, adding that the ruling party is generally expected to extend an olive branch to rivals.
Sattar also spoke to media, saying he was glad to receive the PML-N delegation, noting that he has previously worked with them in parliament. “I consider Shahid Khaqan and Ahsan Iqbal my seniors,” said Sattar, adding that everyone should be on the same page for the issues faced by Karachi. The federal government should give jobs to the people of Karachi and Hyderabad, he said.
PML-N delegation meets JI leaders
The PML-N delegation later arrived at the Idarah Noor e Haq, where they met with Jamat-e-Islami leaders.
Hafiz Naeem, who welcomed the PML-N delegation, said that the party’s leaders had visited the institution to condole the death of former Karachi mayor Naimatullah Khan.
During the visit, Abbasi said the PML-N delegation came to meet the JI leaders and offer condolence upon the direction of their party President, Shehbaz Sharif. “The work late Naimatullah Khan did for Karachi is exemplary,” said the senior PML-N leader. Abbasi said that every stakeholder needs to unite for the betterment of Karachi. Criticising the government, he said that the people of Pakistan need fair and transparent elections.
PML-N’s meeting MQM-P
A day earlier, the delegation of PML-N visited Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) headquarters. The former ruling party discussed about the available options to deal with the contemporary political situation in Pakistan. MQM-P was not good terms with the government in recent days.
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.
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.
Sources claim that the PML-N wants to pressurize the government to seek relief. However, the government’s allies seems to be reluctant to join the opposition’s hands to ensure an in-house change.