Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Thursday held another round of talks, wherein the PTI delegation led by Asad Umar tried to take the Karachi-based party in confidence over the issues pertaining to the megacity project. Analysts believe that the government is likely to resolve all matters amicably.
Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Planning Minister Asad Umar regretted the metropolis had been ignored for years. Stressing that the city has an important role in the country’s economic growth, he said Karachi was entitled to uplift schemes.
The federal minister rejected the impression of confusion surrounding talks between the government and its ally, saying the two parties had the mandate of the city and wanted its issues to be resolved. He also rejected reports that the MQM-P was hesitant to enter the alliance because it wanted more ministries.
MQM-Pakistan has expressed its willingness to rejoin the federal cabinet if it is given one more federal cabinet portfolio https://t.co/bpsPC5dxCJ
— Naveed Nadeem (@naveednadeem91) February 1, 2020
Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the convener of the MQM-P, said Karachi was one of the country’s five biggest cities and yields 65 percent of the country’s total revenue and makes up for 95 percent of the province’s revenue yet it has been deprived of funds. He said the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) should have the administrative control of the city.
It is worth noting that Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui last Tuesday said Prime Minister Imran Khan had left Karachi without meeting members of his party because the federal government has nothing to give to the financial hub of the country. PM Imran arrived in Karachi in the last week. He met the Sindh chief minister, Grand Democratic Alliance leaders and members of the business community during the one-day visit. However, the premier didn’t have any interaction with the MQM-P.
PTI is trying to save the alliance?
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.
The indicators are telling us that the economy is going to be stabilized, he said after a meeting with the PTI delegation
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.
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.
— zemtvs (@Zemtvs) February 4, 2020
Recently, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, MQM-P’s leader, told 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 due importance.
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 a senior MQM-P leader Amir Khan had told media on November 16 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,”.