–PTI delegation meets MQM-P leader, fails to convince him to take back resignation from ministerial post
–PM Imran summons Siddiqui to Islamabad, assures him of fulfilling MQM-P’s all valid demands
ISLAMABAD: Hours after Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui reiterated his decision to resign from his ministerial portfolio in a meeting with a delegation of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Karachi, Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned the former to Islamabad, assuring him of fulfilling all valid demands of his key coalition partner.
The MQM-P on Sunday gave the PTI government in the Centre a jolt as Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Siddiqui announced his decision to leave the federal cabinet over “unfulfilled promises”.
However, the MQM-P’s key leaders stated that the party’s recent move was a part of pressurising the federal government to give it another ministry because, the party believes, Farogh Naseem, the minister for law and justice, has been solely working on behalf of the federal government.
Following the bombshell announcement, Prime Minister Imran Khan tasked PTI’s Karachi leaders to meet the MQM-P leaders and address their grievances.
A PTI delegation, headed by Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar and comprising Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Khurram Sher Zaman and Firdous Shamim Naqvi, reached the MQM office in Bahadurabad.
After the meeting, Asad Umar told a press conference that the PTI wanted the MQM-P to stay in the cabinet. “Our wish is that Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui remains in the cabinet,” Umar said.
“PM will visit Karachi in the first week of February and update the MQM-P on the developments related to Karachi,” he added, downplaying reports that the governor of the province would be changed.
Speaking to reporters alongside Umar, Siddiqui said that he had not taken back his resignation. “Our meeting was already scheduled, it was not negotiations,” he said.
However, Siddiqui that MQM-P would remain an ally of the ruling party.
“We promised to support the government with our numbers and we will continue to do that,” said Siddiqui.
After the general elections in August 2018, PTI and the MQM-P had signed a nine-point memorandum of understanding (MoU) following which the latter joined the PTI-led coalition government in Centre and was also assigned two federal ministries – those of information technology and law.
Senior MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari said that after Siddiqui’s press conference, Prime Minister Imran had personally contacted the MQM-P convener and assured him that he would look into his party’s legitimate concerns.
Siddiqui’s announcement came just weeks after PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s public offer that the PPP was ready to embrace the MQM-P as a coalition partner in Sindh provided it helped the opposition in bringing down the PTI-led federal government.
Siddiqui clarified that his decision to quit the federal cabinet had nothing to do with the “recent offer of ministries from a party”.
He explained that MQM-P had supported the PTI government for strengthening the democratic system, but to date, it had not seen any serious headway on even one of the many points of the MoU it had signed with PTI.