MQM-P's Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui announces resignation as Minister for Information Technology

Updated January 12, 2020

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Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a press conference on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a press conference on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Sunday announced that he was resigning from his post as Minister for Information Technology but that his party was not abandoning the PTI government despite its reservations.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Siddiqui said that holding the post in the federal ministry was "raising a lot of questions".

"We had supported [PTI] in forming the government. We are not taking back our cooperation," he clarified.

At the outset of his address, the MQM-P leader said when his party became part of the government, it had promised to provide support in forming the government and had promised to support PTI in every difficult stage.

"We have fulfilled our promise and intend to fulfil our promise," he said.

Siddiqui lamented that after 16-17 months, not even one point regarding the conditions in Sindh had seen progress.

"At this point, it becomes difficult for me to remain in the government, that I [continue to] hold a minister's position, and people in Sindh continue to face the conditions they did before we joined the [federal] government."

According to the MQM-P leader if the party had seen "some seriousness" on these matters it may have waited a little longer.

"The lack of seriousness on these matters left us no choice," he said, adding that MQM-P's Rabita Committee (Coordination Committee) had held a detailed discussion on Friday after which it had concluded that it was useless for him to hold the minister's post.

He reiterated that the party was not ending its cooperation with the government.

During today's press conference, responding to a question regarding whether he had submitted his resignation to the prime minister or federal cabinet, Siddiqui said: "We have told you first and through you (the media) we have taken the people of the country into confidence. We will then complete the rest of the steps."

In July 2019, the PTI-led government had decided to give MQM-P another ministry after which the party held two ministries — law and information technology.

Siddiqui also clarified that over the past few days there had been an offer of ministries from "somewhere else".

"Today's announcement has no connection to that," he said.

Siddiqui appeared to be referring to PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's recent offer to MQM-P of ministries in Sindh in exchange for the party breaking off its alliance in the Centre with the ruling PTI.

On December 30, 2019, Bilawal had said: "Topple it, topple it, topple Imran's government.

"We will give you equal number of ministries in Sindh. The only condition is that you send Imran home."

Following the PPP leader's offer, MQM-P had not outright rejected the offer but described it as a "non-serious attempt".

Reactions to Siddiqui's announcement

PTI leader and Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood, while reacting to Siddiqui's announcement said that while he had not seen the press conference itself, he is sure that any reservations the MQM leader may have will be resolved soon.

"They (MQM-P) are our coalition partners and Siddiqui is a very important member of the cabinet," he added.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, on the other hand, said: "This is not something out of the ordinary. I am sure the reservations they have do have some valid points, while other points may be problematic — they should all be taken into consideration. Coalition does not mean that we had become one party, MQM-P and the PTI are one party. Our representatives came into power by winning the election on our own party agendas."

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Nafisa Shah said that it is time to see to what extent MQM is able to fulfill their promises.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari wants MQM to take care of their voters, she said in a statement.

Provincial Minister of Sindh for Local Government and PPP leader Saeed Ghani welcomed Siddiqui's decision and said that the PTI government did not only make false promises with the general public, but they also deceived their own coalition partners.