KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is making efforts to placate its disgruntled ally the Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) after Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui threatened to quit the federal cabinet.
The PTI delegation comprising Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar, and Jahangir Khan Tareen on Saturday visited the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad area and discussed a wide range of contentious issues between the two parties to save the faltering coalition.
Speaking to media after the meeting, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said the MQM-P will remain an ally and will not part ways with the federal government. He said the PTI “did not have a magic wand” at its disposal and that some demands put forward by the MQM-P will take time to be implemented.
Khattak said talks with the MQM-P were held in a cordial atmosphere, and the next round of dialogue will be helad between the two parties in Islamabad. He said that it was ultimately the party’s decision whether it would return to the federal coalition or not.
The PTI leader the MQM had left the federal cabinet but was still supporting the PTI government, and they will spend five years together. Replying to a question, he said that issues such as opening of the MQM’s offices and its missing workers will be discussed soon.
Khattak said the country was facing numerous problems when the PTI had took over in 2018, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan will steer the country out of the economic crisis and the next three years will show progress and development.
MQM-P convener Khlaid Maqbool Siddiqui said there was no resentment with the PTI but they wanted their issues to be resolved. He said his party had highlighted the problems faced by urban areas of Sindh particularly Karachi.
The MQM-P convener said talks with the PTI delegation were “encouraging” and the demands put forward by his party were for the welfare of the people of Karachi. He said these demands were not meant to benefit any individual or political party, adding that the development projects in Karachi should be visible for the public.
Siddiqui said that the 18th Amendment had been misused in the past and that power had yet to be devolved to the lower level. “The rights of Sindh’s urban areas are being usurped. The 18th Amendment was supposed to provide the devolution of powers. It has instead lead to the accumulation of powers,” he said.
He said Sindh’s urban areas need immediate relief as they “are in the Intensive Care Unit” and those areas should be given consideration whose shopkeepers, traders and industrialists were fulfilling their responsibilities and generating revenue.
PTI senior leader Jehangir Khan Tareen said reservation with other allies including Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) are also being resolved.
Responding to question regarding the real issues faced by the people, he said the Sindh government was instructed to collect 400,000 tonnes wheat two months back from storage facilities but has also collect 100,000 tonnes. He urged the provincial government to collec the rest to address the wheat flour crisis in the country.
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