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After BAP, MQM crosses over to opposition

  • Convenor MQM-P Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui confirms that party reached an agreement with the joint opposition, envisaging a political alliance
Updated 31 Mar, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), a key ally of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), announced on Wednesday to part ways with the government and join hands with the joint opposition ahead of crucial voting on no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The decision was announced by Convenor MQM-P Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui in a joint presser with President Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, President Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif, Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other senior opposition stalwarts.

Siddiqui confirmed that MQM-P reached an agreement with the joint opposition, envisaging a political alliance.

“Each and every clause of this agreement is in the interest of the people,” he claimed.

No-confidence motion against PM: Joint opposition discusses strategy

He denied that this agreement was specifically linked to no-confidence motion against the PM.

“We had 26 seats in the previous National Assembly —they were reduced to only seven seats in the present NA; but, despite all that—neither a government can be formed nor can it be toppled without our support,” Siddiqui said.

“We have prioritised Pakistan’s interests over all individual interests,” he said.

Addressing the opposition leaders, he said, “I expect that this time around, we can strive for a democracy whose effects can reach the common people of Pakistan. We have joined you on this journey with these expectations. We have no individual or party benefits.”

The convenor MQM-P did not elaborate on the specifics of his party’s agreement with joint opposition— that accords the party a significant share in Sindh’s power arrangement.

Maulana Fazal, the PDM chief, welcomed MQM-P’s decision to join opposition’s ranks. The joint opposition needed 172 votes in NA for sending the PM packing whereas it has 175 votes now, he claimed.

“MQM-P’s alliance with the joint opposition is a manifestation of national unity not only for Karachi and Sindh but for the entire country,” he added

Shehbaz, who is also Opposition Leader in NA, said the PM can “set a new tradition by stepping down as he has already lost majority in the NA”.

He said the two Zardaris, Asif and Bilawal, dialogued with the MQM-P “with an open heart.”

“I want to thank MQM-P and its workers who lived up to the wishes of the 220 million people of Pakistan and made this decision. I am especially thankful to Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal that through this whole process of negotiations, they kept the history aside. They have initiated this journey of Pakistan’s prosperity and Karachi’s happiness,” he said.

“Today is an important day in Pakistan’s history because a joint opposition—a national jirga of the opposition- has come together and efforts have been made for national unity,” Shehbaz added.

Bilawal said that MQM took a “historic” decision by supporting the united opposition and prioritising the country.

The working relationship between PPP and the MQM-P has no link with the no-confidence motion, he added.

“It was my longstanding desire for the two parties to work together. I am grateful that we have come to a result that allows for such a journey,” Bilawal said.

“Every party that is united before you has faced a conspiracy. However, the conspiracy that caused distances between PPP and the MQM-P harmed not only Karachi but the entire country. Now that the nation’s leadership is on one page, we will take steps to help the country emerge from this crisis,” he added.

“Imran Khan has lost his majority. The MQM-P has joined the opposition’s ranks. We have challenged Imran Khan to resign. He is no longer the PM. He has no option left,” the PPP chairman added.

Meanwhile, the convenor MQM-P signed two separate agreements - one with Bilawal over promises related to Sindh and another with PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal over commitments regarding the federation.

Pakistan’s media went into frenzy in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday when the top opposition leaders including Fazal, Shehbaz and the two Zardaris went to Parliament Lodges to hold meeting with the MQM-P leaders led by Siddiqui. Following this crucial huddle, both the sides reached the power-sharing agreement in Sindh.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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