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KARACHI: Three more Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan lawmakers — one member of the National Assembly and two members of the Sindh Assembly — quit their party and joined the Pak Sarzameen Party on Sunday.

MNA Mehboob Alam and MPAs Muhammad Kamran and Saifuddin Khalid announced their decision at a press conference held at the PSP headquarters, called Pakistan House, in the presence of party chairman Mustafa Kamal and other leaders.

Mr Alam, elected MNA from a Karachi National Assembly constituency (NA-242) in Orangi Town, was part of the MQM-P’s Bahadurabad group.

Mr Kamran and Mr Khalid were elected as members of the Sindh Assembly from PS-111 (Lyari/Usmanabad/Ramaswam) and PS-94 (Orangi Town), respectively, in the 2013 general elections. They were said to be part of Dr Farooq Sattar-led PIB group.

After a lull, the fresh round of defections from the MQM-P, which has been marred by internal grouping and a power struggle, began on March 28 when two women MPAs — Naila Munir and Naheed Begum — joined the PSP.

Elated Kamal urges Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to join him to serve Karachi

After them, three MNAs — Dr Fauzia Hameed, Waseem Hussain and Muzammil Qureshi — joined the Mustafa Kama-led party one after another, citing split within the MQM-P and the power struggle as the chief reason behind their decision to leave their party.

And with the inclusion of the three more lawmakers — the biggest achievement of the PSP in one day — the parliamentary strength of the PSP rises to 17 — 12 in the Sindh Assembly and five in the National Assembly.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kamal, who had returned a day before after performing Umrah, invited senior MQM-P leaders Dr Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan and Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to join him to serve Karachi.

“We did not return [to Karachi on March 3, 2016] with an agenda to finish the MQM...we came here to invite people to follow the right and true path. Even I pray for Altaf Hussain that may almighty Allah guide him to the right path.”

He said Karachi was not an orphan city as the PSP owned it.

Mr Kamal said that today people from every ethnicity were part of the PSP and Karachi would become strong with this unity. “Urdu-speaking people will be the biggest beneficiary of a strong Karachi,” he added.

He said the PSP would win the 2018 general elections from the urban areas of Sindh and the next chief minister would either be from the PSP or get elected with its support.

The former Karachi mayor promised to make the metropolis “world’s most peaceful city, where one would think a hundred times before committing a crime and if committed would never escape punishment”.

He welcomed the new entrants and said that in just 10 days eight MQM lawmakers joined the PSP.

MNA Alam said on the occasion that the current leadership of the MQM had divided everyone in the party. “Today, I tell Mustafa Kamal that you have succeeded only because of the fact that you did not divide the nation... the infighting of Bahardurabad and PIB [groups] did.”

He said he had many times asked Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Faisal Subzwari and other leaders to do something so that people of Orangi Town could get their computerised national identity cards, but “they did not take it seriously”.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2018