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MQM back to its usual ways

The only surprise in Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui’s resignation from his post as Minister for Information Technology was that it wasn’t really a surprise. Now, if the party’s past is anything to go by, it is only the matter of time before Siddiqui withdraws his resignation (even before it is accepted) at a press conference with some Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and vows support the government until it completes its term. Our tongue-in-cheek assertions are based on the track record of the party, which cannot live without a government coalition and also does not last long in coalitions. In the press conference, the MQM-P convenor said his resignation did not mean that his party would quit the PTI government in the centre. That shows the MQM-P has not shut the door to dialogue and is ready to give a chance or several chances to PTI to address its reservations. The support of the seven MQM-P member is a vital lifeline for the PTI coalition government, and without their support, it may lose its majority in the National Assembly. At the press conference, Siddiqui reminded the PTI leadership of their promises. The party is really concerned about development projects for Karachi and Hyderabad. Recently, PTI leader Asad Umar said his party was ready to work with the Sindh government for the welfare of Karachi residents. There was no mention of MQM-P, which might have angered the party. Of course, the MQM-P is a major stakeholder in the Karachi development scheme, as it holds the municipality office as well.
Before Siddiqui’s resignation, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar’s statements against senior coalition partners had fueled rumours about a possible breakup between PTI and MQM-P. Moreover, Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also offered MQM-P ministries in the Sindh government if it helped the opposition topple the PTI government in the centre. Bilawal’s statement was not out-rightly rejected by MQM-P but it lacked seriousness. The rank and file of both PPP and MQM-P do not feel easy with each other. So, PTI must address MQM-P’s concerns, which appear genuine. The satisfactory point is that PTI has acted swiftly and reached out the MQM-P leadership. Hopefully, there will be no upset in the status quo.



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