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Will the PTI-MQM-P rocky relationship survive?


News Analysis |

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan has opposed the possible nomination of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Karachi President Shamim Naqvi as leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly. MQM-P has threatened that if PTI decided to nominate him as the opposition leader, newly built ties of the two parties will definitely get strained.

Former opposition leader of the Sindh Assembly warned PTI that it is not prepared to accept Naqvi’s appointment under any circumstances and if PTI goes on to take this decision, it can affect our alliance. In a twitter message, Hassan said, “Our alliance with the PTI is conditional; these conditions come before any individual or party, and include a collaborated effort for the development of Karachi and urban Sindh and the transfer of the municipality representatives’ powers.”

It secured 23 seats out of total 130 general seats in the provincial assembly behind Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP’s) 77. MQM-P managed to obtain 16 seats and PTI’s ally Grand Democratic Alliance secured 11 seats.

PTI had to endure a backlash from MQM-P after Naqvi’s careless comments irked the party. On August 5, Naqvi called for MQM’s wrath when he said, “We have joined hands with the MQM out of compulsion to reach 172 seats in the National Assembly.” MQM leader Faisal Sabzwari addressed the press conference in reaction to his comments and urged the PTI leadership to take action against Karachi president.

It reminded PTI that if it’s leaders from Karachi who naturally have hostilities against the PTI’s Karachi chapter, continue to utter rhetoric against MQM-P and don’t stop the statements against the party, it will be difficult for them to work together.

Read more: MQM to support PTI government

On July 30, PTI had confirmed the name of Firdous Shamim Naqvi for the post of leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly. Naqvi won the seat of Sindh Assembly from PS-101. He secured 28034 votes against MQM-P’s Muhammad Haroon Siddiqui (11534)-who was a distant second.  Building on the progress made in 2013, PTI emerged as a second largest party in Sindh after July 25 elections.

It secured 23 seats out of total 130 general seats in the provincial assembly behind Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP’s) 77. MQM-P managed to obtain 16 seats and PTI’s ally Grand Democratic Alliance secured 11 seats.

Former opposition leader of the Sindh Assembly warned PTI that it is not prepared to accept Naqvi’s appointment under any circumstances and if PTI goes on to take this decision, it can affect our alliance.

PTI has face barrage of criticism and commentary against its decision to join hands with MQM-P- a party which Imran and other PTI leaders publically loathed many a time. It was in a desperate position/need to extend hands towards the smaller regional parties to forge an alliance/coalition to make the government in the center.

In the context of MQM-P’s post-Altaf history, reliance on a party which is currently leaderless will be very risky. Even, as the part of the next-government, expectations of threatening attitude can’t be ruled out. MQM-P will remain a big liability if PTI fails to keep the BNP intact as a coalition partner. However, win in the upcoming by-elections may strengthen the party position and put the sting out of this feud.

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

The hostilities and animosity of this controversial alliance are as natural as the relationship between them. PTI played safe and distanced itself from Naqvi’s statement calling it a personal remark, which unpleased Khan. Moreover, if PTI sticks to MOU signed with the party, who knows the era of consensus may reach the new levels.

Despite its [MQM-P] claims of joining hands for the betterment of Sindh, MQM will remain a weak link in the would-be coalition government. It is not surprising that party chief Imran Khan has warned him [Naqvi] from making such statements against the Muttahida.

MQM claims that it lent support to the PTI because the PPP has always disappointed Sindh. Imran’s team gives the impression as if its a bitter pill to swallow. The survival of this alliance is conditioned and it can only work if both parties ignore and disown the verbal blows from lower tier leadership in the best interest of the people of Karachi.