Prime Minister Imran Khan has tasked his aides to address the concerns of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Pakistan following Information Technology Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui's announcement to quit his ministerial portfolio citing "apathy of the federal government regarding Karachi."
In this connection, the PM has tasked Jahangir Tareen, one of his most trusted confidants, to resolve issues regarding MQM concerning Karachi, Business Recorder has reliably learnt.
In addition, the PM has also instructed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI's) provincial chapter in Sindh including Governor Sindh Imran Ismail and Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi to work in coordination with Tareen to respond to the looming crisis that can brew problems for the ruling coalition at the centre.
"He (PM) thinks that the concerns of MQM Pakistan's leadership are not unfounded-and much needs to be done for development in Karachi. That's why the PM has stepped in to respond to the situation and has asked his aides to effectively deal with the matter," a PTI senator told Business Recorder, requesting anonymity.
Talking to the media in Karachi on Sunday, Siddiqui had announced to quit the federal cabinet while reiterating that MQM Pakistan is "still part and parcel of the PTI-led federal government."
"If after one-and-a-half years of us being in power, the problems concerning Karachi are not solved and there is no progress on our demands for taking steps to ensure development in Karachi, then there is no justification for me to cling to the ministerial portfolio and stay in the cabinet," he told journalists.
"If the release of just one billion rupees for Karachi becomes possible after so many difficulties and hitches-then it's better for us to go out in the streets and collect charity. We would surely get one billion rupees in charity from the people of Karachi," he said.
PTI sources told Business Recorder that the federal government is willing to release development funds for Karachi but is not ready to entertain the demand of Pakistan People's Party's (PPP's) provincial government in Sindh that funds for Karachi's development be routed through the provincial government.
"In the backdrop of serious allegations of rampant corruption involving the Sindh government, it is very difficult for the centre to accept Sindh's demand that the funds released for Karachi's development should be given directly to the Sindh government and that the provincial government should decide how to spend these funds without any oversight by the centre," the PTI lawmaker said.
A proposal is being considered to release funds for those constituencies in Karachi where the MQM Pakistan and PTI have their representatives elected to the Sindh Assembly and National Assembly, the source said.