Despite PTI’s efforts, MQM-P yet to rejoin federal cabinet [The Nation] 09 Feb, 2020

ISLAMABAD - The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leadership has claimed headway in its talks with disgruntled allies yet the key ally MQM-P is still unconvinced to rejoin federal cabinet. PTI Senior Minister Asad Umar with other senior members held back-to-back meetings with the MQM-P but it has not budge an inch from its position, background discussions with MQM-P leaders revealed. MQM-P chief and former federal minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had last month tendered his resignation without sharing any particular reason. The resignation of Khalid Maqbol Siddiqui as a minister has been received at Prime Minister Secretariat, however, the resignation was accepted by the prime minister. The premier had rushed its senior members to hold meeting and remove reservations as soon as possible. The Karachi based party (MQM-P) wants solution of its issues, including reopening of its sealed offices, recovery of MQM-P missing persons and matters related to the release of package for Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC). Talking to The Nation, MQM-P MNA Salahuddin said: “MQM-P has still not reached on consensus to rejoin federal cabinet and not seen any visible change in solution of its main issues. Reservations have not fully been addressed.” He added that the MQM-P’s coordination committee had also discussed this matter. Among other annoyed coalition partners, MQM-P in last month took lead in creating unrest in PTI ranks by suddenly announcing to distance itself from the federal cabinet. The decision of leaving the federal cabinet was also linked with the offer of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. As Bilawal twice urged the MQM-P to quit the federal government and join hands with them in the Sindh government. Sources in the MQM-P said that they were not much interested to join the PPP government in Sindh. They still have no intention to sit on opposition benches in National Assembly, they said. MQM-P lawmaker Aminul Haq , talking to this newspaper, had said that the resignation of MQM-P chief Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui should not be considered as bargaining chip. Sources said that MQM-P also want federal cabinet to conduct 5 per cent audit in population census. The Sindh based party has also asked the government to put the matter in upcoming meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) for its approval. Political pundits said MQM-P would not take any decision in haste about leaving the federal cabinet. “The MQM-P will not accept the offer of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to become part of the Sindh government. The numerically fragile government is also not in a position to annoy its important coalition government, which has 16 seats in the National Assembly.

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