Senate chairman asks MQM-P convener to consider returning to federal cabinet

Published February 2, 2020
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani  and Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P)  convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui address a press conference in Karachi on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui address a press conference in Karachi on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Sunday said Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui should think about returning to the federal cabinet, adding that this would allow him to work more effectively for his people.

Addressing a press conference following a meeting between the Senate chairman and the MQM-P leadership in Karachi, Sanjrani said: "Khalid bhai is intelligent himself, he is leading his party. With regards to the well-being of Pakistan, I think he should certainly think about it (returning to the cabinet) and consult his party."

Siddiqui had announced the decision to resign from his post as Minister for Information Technology on January 12 while emphasising that his party was not abandoning the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government despite its reservations.

Responding to a question regarding whether he had asked Siddiqui to return to the ministry, Sanjrani said: "Our suggestion is that he should join. He can work more effectively for his people. Khalid bhai can make his own decision."

He added that the two hadn't discussed the matter much during their meeting today.

Earlier, the Senate chairman was received at MQM-P's temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, Karachi by various leaders including Maqbool, Amir Khan and Faisal Sabzwari.

Addressing a press conference following the meeting, Siddiqui thanked Sanjrani for his visit and said: "On the national level and at all forums, we will raise our voices together on their issues."

In turn, Sanjrani, who is a member of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), thanked MQM-P leaders for their warm welcome. He said that as he was the chairman of the Senate, he could not speak too much about politics, however, it was also his responsibility to play his role in resolving issues of different political parties or provinces.

"I want to thank Khalid bhai and all of the MQM-P leaders that they always stand by me," he said, adding that his party's president, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani, would also visit the MQM-P leadership.

Efforts to appease MQM-P

Following Siddiqui's announcement of his resignation from the federal cabinet, PTI leaders held numerous meetings with MQM-P but were unable to convince the party's convener to rejoin his post as Minister for Information Technology.

A day after he announced his resignation, a meeting between the two parties was held, giving rise to rumours that the MQM leader may take back his resignation. However, all such talk was rubbished by Siddiqui as well as Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms Asad Umar, who had been part of the government delegation.

A second meeting also failed to make inroads.

Following the meeting, a press conference was held by PTI leaders Pervez Khattak and Jahangir Tareen alongside Siddiqui during which the defence minister said a "very positive discussion" was held, adding that they were close to finding a solution.

Additionally, the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday shared that Prime Minister Imran Khan had formed three committees comprising members of PTI in order for them to work in liaison with political allies.

A four-member committee has been constituted to work alongside PTI's Sindh allies — MQM-P and Grand Democratic Alliance. The committee comprises Planning Minister Asad Umar, who will be the convener, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi and PTI Sindh president Haleem Adil Sheikh.

Defence Minister Khattak will be the chairperson of all committees, the notification said.

Numbers game

The ruling party is facing troubles with nearly all its allies, who have complained that the PTI has failed to fulfil the promises it made when forming the government. Each ally is critical to the PTI since the party holds only a slender majority in the National Assembly.

Currently, the PTI enjoys a majority in the National Assembly with 156 seats while along with all its allies it has a total of 186 seats in the lower house of parliament. The MQM has seven, PML-Q has five, BAP five, BNP-M has four, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) has three and Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) and Awami Muslim League have one seat each besides four independent lawmakers.

On the other hand, the opposition has 156 seats, as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has 84 seats, Pakistan Peoples Party 55, Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal Pakistan 16 and Awami National Party has one seat.

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