No-trust motion: MQM-P’s coordination committee ratifies agreement with opposition
KARACHI, MAR 30: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) coordination committee announced on Wednesday that it had ratified the agreement between the party and the opposition on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
MQM-P leader Nasreen Jalil confirmed the development while speaking to the media outside the party’s markaz in Karachi’s Bahadurabad.
“Details of the agreement will be revealed in a press conference at 4pm,” she said.
Meanwhile, MQM-P leaders Farogh Naseem and Aminul Haque resigned earlier today as ministers for law and justice, and information technology and telecom, respectively.
Haque wrote that while he was a part of the government in his capacity as a minister, he was “bound by my party’s decisions as a responsible worker”.
“In light of my party MQM-P’s decisions, I resign as federal minister for information technology and telecommunication. I request you (the prime minister) to accept this.”
He added that he was “proud of fulfilling my duties with honesty”.
He iterated the same in a video message shared shortly afterwards.
“MQM-P called a meeting of its coordination committee, chaired by [MQM-P convener] Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, that ratified the agreement with the [opposition] and the resignation of the ministers. A new phase will begin and we will make efforts to struggle for urban Sindh’s progress,” Haque said in another video message.
The party held a late night meeting with opposition leaders on Tuesday which created quite a stir in the capital and had many anxiously checking their TVs for updates.
Initially, an opposition delegation consisting of Khawaja Asif, Sherry Rehman, Naveed Qamar, Ayaz Sadiq, Akhtar Mengal, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and others reached Parliament Lodges a little before midnight.
They held talks with MQM convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and other leaders, which continued well into the early hours of Wednesday.
Later, the main cohort of opposition leaders — Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Shehbaz Sharif — also reached the venue around 2:00am in a bid to persuade the government ally to switch sides.
While the combined opposition tried with all its might to prevail upon the party to announce a decision there and then, the MQM-P avoided making a definitive statement at such a late hour and announced that it would make its decision public the next day.
In a tweet early on Wednesday, MQM-P leader Senator Faisal Subzwari said that an agreement between the party and the united opposition had been finalised.
“The PPP’s central executive committee and the MQM-P’s coordination committee will ratify the agreement,” he said, adding that the details would be announced during a 4pm press conference on Wednesday.
Sources privy to the meeting said that the sitting discussed certain clauses about a future agreement between the PPP and MQM-P regarding Sindh’s administrative and local government issues in the presence of the senior leadership of other opposition parties.
The draft agreement is not only with the PPP, but with the whole opposition, a source said, adding that Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Shehbaz would ensure implementation on the agreement if it was approved by the coordination committee.
The MQM-P, which has seven members in the National Assembly, is a key ally of the PTI government and its decision in the ongoing political scenario will decide whether PM Imran’s government will survive the no-trust vote, which is expected to take place on April 3.
On Monday, PML-Q had finally put its weight behind the embattled prime minister in exchange for PM Imran conceding Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as PTI’s candidate for Punjab chief minister after incumbent Usman Buzdar presented his resignation to the premier.
The PML-Q is also a critical ally of the PTI government in Punjab and Centre, with 10 and five seats, respectively. The Chaudhrys support to PM Imran was being seen as a revival of his hopes to save his government.
Excluding MQM-P’s votes, the joint opposition had managed to accumulate the support of 169 MNAs, three short of the magical figure of 172 needed to gain a majority in the National Assembly and remove Imran Khan as the prime minister.
Sindh governor meets MQM-P leaders
At the same time, a government delegation also met with the MQM-P at Parliament Lodges last night to try to dissuade the party from joining the opposition ranks.
Talking to media, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said that the prime minister’s message had been conveyed to Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and his people. “We are expecting an announcement tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.”
Ismail said that the government had tried to resolve the party’s reservations and was, in a way, successful in the endeavour. “As far as an offer is concerned, we had earlier offered them a ministry […]. Even if they want something more, we will give it to them.”
He added that the government’s doors and hearts were open for the party. “We will adjust things in whatever way they want.”
However, it appeared that the government was not done negotiating with the MQM-P. In a tweet on Wednesday, PTI leader Faisal Vawda said he had returned to Islamabad from Karachi on the prime minister’s directions.
“I will be a part of the government team for talks with the MQM delegation alongside Pervez Khattak and Imran Ismail,” he added.
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