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KARACHI: As the Muttahida Qaumi Movement staged a protest sit-in at the Karachi Press Club on Friday and alleged that its leaders and workers were getting threats from certain quarters to join the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), two more former but relatively less known members of its coordination committee joined the Mustafa Kamal-led party on Saturday.

Members of the national and provincial assembly, chairmen and vice chairmen of union committees, councillors and families of ‘missing’ and interned workers of the MQM took part in the sit-in that continued for seven hours from 11am to 6pm amid hot and humid weather.

Talking to reporters, MQM leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that the operation against the MQM gained momentum after “a party made by establishment” was launched in Karachi. “Since March 3 to date, our 208 workers had been picked up and 71 of them are missing and 25 workers who were not booked in any case were in custody of Rangers for 90 days.”

Mr Jameel, who is also a member of the national assembly and a deputy convener of the MQM coordination committee, said that elected representatives of the MQM, its office- bearers and workers were being threatened to either face prison or join the “party of the establishment”.

He appealed to the army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, to take notice of such highhandedness and warned those officers to not snatch the mandate of political parties by politicising the ongoing operation.

The sit-in would resume again on Sunday 11am.

‘Over 1,000 Muttahida men to join PSP’

Later in the evening, Saif Yar Khan and Attaullah Kurd, the two former members of the MQM coordination committee, joined the PSP.

Accompanied by Mr Kamal and Anis Kaimkhani, they announced this while addressing a press conference at the Bagh-i-Jinnah, where the PSP is going to hold its first public meeting on Sunday (today).

Mr Kaimkhani said on the occasion that over 1,000 office-bearers and workers of the MQM were going to join the PSP.

Mr Kamal said that the party had formed various committees to oversee the arrangements of the Sunday public meeting.

Only on Friday, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker Syed Hafeezuddin left his party and joined the PSP.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2016