With PML-Q, MQM-P pacified, is PTI out of troubled waters?

Some segments of Pakistani media were claiming end of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government for its alleged inability to maintain good terms with the allies. However, after PML-Q, MQM-P seems to stand by PM Khan. Is PTI’s government out of danger now?

PTI

After a few week of intense political instability and chaos, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) appears to have bridged all the gaps with allies. In a latest development, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday reviewed the progress made on development projects pertaining to Sindh, especially Karachi, in a meeting attended by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Convener Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui among others. Previously, Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) had threatened to review its support if the PTI had not listened to their reservations. However, a team comprised of Asad Umer and Pervez Khattak managed to pacify them.

Interestingly, the presence of the MQM-P chief, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, was the highlight of the meeting, as the lawmaker had refused to meet PM Imran despite multiple invites after his resignation from the federal cabinet.

The MQM-P has been demanding that the government establishes a university in Hyderabad; development budget for Hyderabad; implementation of a package of Rs162 billion for Karachi; and opens MQM’s closed offices that were shut down after its founder Altaf Hussain’s infamous, anti-state speech.

Read more: Will MQM-P’s idea of eight provinces work?

Sources said that the PM and Siddiqui discussed matters pertaining to the Information Technology Ministry which he had quit citing the federal government’s lack of interest in the development of Karachi.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar, MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and concerned secretaries.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that both sides held talks on their demands and hope for a positive outcome soon. He said he has not decided on coming back to the cabinet as of now and that talks were still being held in this regard. Siddiqui had announced his resignation from the post of the IT minister last year over the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s failure to fulfill its promises to the party.

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.

Read more: Will MQM-P get more ministries in PM Khan’s cabinet?

MQM-P while commenting on the meeting reports said that Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had a meeting with Asad Umar on fulfillment of the promises made with the party at the time of joining the federal coalition government. “Prime Minister Imran Khan came to attend the meeting at the end,” the party said.

PTI is committed to uplift Urban Sindh?

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 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: PM Khan praises MQM-P, bashes Bilawal

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.

It now appears that the PTI’s government has skillfully dealt with allies, and there is no immediate danger for Prime Minster Imran Khan. However, it is yet to be seen whether the government will be able to implement what it has promised for or not.

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