PM to take allies, other Sindh parties on board over political ongoings

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Staff Report

Islamabad

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has announced that a meeting between Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), as well as other parties from Sindh in the centre as well as the opposition, will take place on December 5 in Islamabad.

PTI delegation led by the Foreign Minister met leaders at MQM-P headquarters in Karachi on Sunday.

The foreign minister, while addressing a press conference alongside MQM convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui in Karachi, thanked the leadership of MQM for “standing by PTI in all its trying times”.

“In difficult times, they extended their cooperation and remain standing with us today.

“We all are aware of the difficult circumstances in which Prime Minister Imran Khan took the reins of power. There were internal economic challenges which are not hidden from anyone.”

He said in these testing times when Pakistan was on the verge of bankruptcy the prime minister had contacted friendly nations and later obtained a negotiated way forward with the International Monetary Fund.

“Today we have returned to stability. All the international financial institutions, World Bank, IMF, our stock exchange, our rupee which was artificially pegged to the market and has now seen an increase by Rs4-5, the rise in foreign investments, all point toward the fact that we have stepped out of the crisis.”

He said the task now was to work out how this stability can be converted into growth which can enable the government to meet the expectations of voters. “No doubt when one casts a vote, they have expectations.”

He said voters everywhere in the country are well-informed and Karachi is one of the most “politically mature cities”.

“When they are presented with the facts, they are wise and can sift the truth from false narratives.”

He said that voters are well aware of the struggles the government has had, are aware of the role played by PTI and MQM to combat the challenges in Sindh, and that the situation faced by local governments in what they are what they should be, is also not hidden.

He said PTI and MQM members had overviewed the situation. “Their analysis and our analysis on the larger picture, whether it is the national picture, the economic picture, or the local government situation, is similar.”

Qureshi said that keeping these facts in mind, the prime minister has extended an invitation for a meeting on December to MQM as well as allies from Sindh in the opposition and those at the centre cooperating with PTI.

“We held a precursor discussion to that meeting today so that our talks that day can be fruitful and we can make concrete decisions which prove beneficial to our people.”

“The input that I received was quite educational and I am better informed on the situation in Karachi and Sindh,” he said.

Qureshi then invited Siddiqui to speak. The MQM leader thanked the foreign minister for coming to Karachi and meeting with the party members.

“Our policy on national issues is very clear,” said Siddiqui. “We have always extended our unconditional support and will continue to do so.”

The MQM convener said that Sindh, especially its cities, had been suffering from “economic terrorism” for the past 11 years. “Sindh’s cities are in urgent need of intensive care, of immediate help, morally, politically, and legally.”

“Karachi and other cities of Sindh have sacrificed more than their share and are determined to make sacrifices. We have fulfilled more than our share of obligations. Karachi’s contribution in sales tax in 89 per cent.

“So you can imagine. We are not only obliged to fulfil our share of responsibilities, we are doing so, and it is our promise and our intent.”

Siddiqui said that Sindh’s only request has been that due attention be given to the province and it’s cities immediately. He said that having witnessed the problems faced by Sindh’s cities over the past 30-35 years, certain demands had been made by the party. “The government is working on those, but the pace is so slow that on many fronts it does not seem any work is being done.”

The MQM leader acknowledged that the government had been faced by multiple challenges at the outset of its term. “But I feel those initial challenges have been met, the economy is on the up and up as shown by certain indicators.”

He pointed out when Karachi functions, it provides sustenance for the entire country. “Have Karachi running so that the country’s economy can run too. Karachi is your economy’s engine,” he said.

Siddiqui said that his party’s support will always be extended to “democratic governments”. “We will not only continue our journey of cooperation but will now quicken its pace.”