Back to top
While the MQM-P is an important ally of the PTI government, the party has also been making efforts to wrestle back control over Karachi. There has been an ongoing scuffle between the Sindh and local bodies government over the release of development funds for the metropolis.
Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar has complained that he does not have the required powers to initiate development projects and the responsibility remains with the provincial government. The mayor has claimed that the Sindh government only released Rs.10 billion in the last four years. He decried that there was not a single mega development project in the annual budget which was a matter of great concern.
The Karachi mayor even criticised the federal government on its indifferent attitude towards the issues of the city. He requested that Prime Minister Imran Khan should come and personally manage the affairs of the city if he wants to see the prosperity of Karachi. The mayor certainly wants the prime minister to announce a hefty development package for Karachi.
The MQM-P also repeated allegations that population census held across the country in 2017 was flawed but only with regards to the urban areas of Sindh. The party believes there was a conspiracy to deliberately understate the population of Karachi which is tantamount to being an international crime. The population of the city should be 21 million which means more allocation of resources.
In another divisive move, the party has submitted a bill in parliament calling for establishing eight provinces in Pakistan. The bill calls for the creation of South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces along within Punjab, as well as two provinces in Khyber Pakthunkhwa and Sindh. The bill is not expected to move forward but suggests that the party wants a division on ethnic lines which can create chaos and a severe political backlash.
The MQM-P has been part of the PTI-led coalition government for the past sixteen months. The party wants to exploit this alliance for its own political gain. PM Imran Khan probably realises that control of Karachi cannot be handed back to the party. The prime minister must find a way to keep their ally satisfied while seeking solutions to the myriad of problems faced by the city.