KARACHI: A war of words between the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the two former coalition partners, intensified on Tuesday as both sides traded serious allegations and held each other responsible for the miseries of Karachi and its people.

The first salvo was fired by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday while addressing a big public meeting in Liaquatabad’s Tanki Ground in which he called the MQM ‘Mustaqil Qaumi Museebat’ (permanent national disaster) and promised that if the people of Karachi voted for his party, he would rid them of the MQM for good.

And on Tuesday, Mr Bhutto-Zardari briefly spoke against the MQM at a press conference held in connection with May Day only when reporters persistently sought his opinion on the latter’s plan to hold a public meeting at the same venue where his party organised a show of strength on April 29.

Factions of Muttahida may hold joint public meeting, dare Bilawal to hold a rally in Lyari

“In connection with Labour Day, I would ask the MQM to first answer about the Baldia Town factory carnage that killed hundreds of poor labourers,” he said. “I love the people of Karachi and I will stage a rally in every district of my city. The MQM should not worry about me. There is a visible tilt in politics of Karachi, and the PPP is leading this [trend.]”

It appears that after Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s verbal onslaught on the fragmented MQM-P, its PIB and Bahadurabad groups — which had earlier announced that they would hold public meetings in Liaquatabad on May 4 and May 5, respectively — will sit together to formulate a united strategy to hold one public meeting against the PPP.

On Tuesday evening, MQM’s PIB group leader Ali Raza Abidi tweeted that Dr Farooq Sattar had announced holding a joint press conference on Wednesday with Bahadurabad group’s Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui “in order to hold One Muttahid Jalsa at the same location in reply to Bilawal’s Jalsi”.

Bahadurabad group slams PPP

Earlier on Tuesday, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who is the convener of the Bahadurabad group, held a press conference in which he directed his criticism at Mr Bhutto-Zardari and said that the PPP would be given a befitting reply at Liaquatabad’s Tanki Ground, where his party would hold a public meeting on May 5.

He said his party hoped that the PPP would have tried to win the hearts and minds of the people by announcing a big hospital or a medical college at their public meeting in Liaquatabad, but it did no such thing and only spread venom and hatred.

He said the PPP held its public meeting in a traditional MQM stronghold after 44 years only because its leader knew he was completely safe there. “But what fear is stopping you from holding such a public meeting in Lyari,” said Dr Siddiqui.

Terming the gangs in Lyari the “militant wing of the PPP”, he asked Mr Bhutto-Zardari to hold a public meeting in that neighbourhood to show that he had no fear there.

Responding to Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s taunt that the MQM-P had betrayed its leader Altaf Hussain, Dr Siddiqui said the whole party had stood by Mr Hussain for long, but dissociated itself from him only for Pakistan. “We can leave anyone for the sake of Pakistan.”

Sattar visits Liaquatabad

Also on Tuesday, MQM-P’s PIB group head Dr Farooq Sattar visited the Liaquatabad area and met people there.

He said the area people told him they wanted unity of different groups and they had to hold one public meeting.

He said on their demand he now left the issue of finalising date and day for holding one public meeting in Liaquatabad to Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

He said he was thankful to Mr Bhutto-Zardari as his party was going to hold one public meeting, and not two, because of the PPP leader.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2018

Opinion

Climate & youth

Climate & youth

Disillusionment and anxiety are on the rise among youth as they confront the diminishing prospects of a better tomorrow.
Our exclusivity syndrome
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Our exclusivity syndrome

Pakistan needs at least a minimum level of inclusivity that can keep alive democratic values.
Shafqat Kakakhel
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Shafqat Kakakhel

COP26 has to achieve consensus on several issues.

Editorial

Carnage in Kandahar
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Carnage in Kandahar

Pakistan’s anti-extremism policy is in many ways half-baked and inconsistent.
17 Oct 2021

Sanctity of contracts

PAKISTAN is facing yet another international dispute before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment...
17 Oct 2021

New sports policy

THIS week, the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee chief Haroon Malik was in Zurich to hold ...
Diminishing freedom
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Diminishing freedom

DESPITE the serious reservations of digital rights activists and tech companies, the federal government has...
16 Oct 2021

Dirty politics

IN her outburst against Prime Minister Imran Khan this week, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz may not have taken names but...
16 Oct 2021

Decreasing emissions

THE announcement by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam that carbon emissions in the country came down by 9pc...