MQM-P rejoins federal cabinet on assurance of one more ministry

March 23, 2020

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Aminul Haque will replace Khalid Maqbool as IT and telecom minister. — Dawn/File
Aminul Haque will replace Khalid Maqbool as IT and telecom minister. — Dawn/File

KARACHI: More than two months after it quit the federal cabinet, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan decided on Sunday to rejoin the cabinet as the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf assured it of development funds for Karachi and Hyderabad in addition to one more ministry at a later stage.

On Jan 12, MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had announced that he was resigning as federal minister for information technology and telecom because the PTI did not fulfil its promises.

He had said that his party would continue to support the PTI government. During the 70-day period, Dr Farogh Naseem, an MQM-P senator, continued to represent the party in the cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan as law minister.

However this time, the MQM-P decided that Dr Siddiqui would not return to the federal cabinet and senior leader and MNA Aminul Haque would take his place as the information technology and telecom minister. It was also decided that senior leader Faisal Subzwari would soon be inducted into the federal cabinet as a special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM).

SAPM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan welcomed the MQM-P’s ­decision and tweeted that rejoining the federal cabinet would strengthen the ­government’s efforts for betterment of the people of Karachi.

Aminul Haque will replace Khalid Maqbool as IT and telecom minister

On Sunday, a PTI delegation led by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and comprising Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Khurram Sher Zaman and Haleem Adil Shaikh reached the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad and held a meeting with senior party leaders for around half an hour.

Later, Dr Siddiqui along with the Sindh governor told the media that the MQM-P and the PTI were allies and part of the government.

He said the PTI delegation came to the MQM-P headquarters to give final touches to all issues. “The era of PTI-MQM-P alliance for the urban areas of the province will be remembered in history as a remarkable period,” he said, adding that the sense of deprivation in urban Sindh would lessen because of today’s measures.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor Ismail said Prime Minister Khan wanted to consult all coalition partners for winning the war against coronavirus. He said it was not good that the post of IT and telecom minister was vacant at the time of this crisis.

Talking about the MQM-P’s decision to quit the federal cabinet, he said that when the prime minister listened to the demands of the party he asked whether these were PTI’s demands or MQM’s.

“The demand the MQM-P made for urban Sindh was also the same demand of the PTI,” the governor said, adding that it was the vision of the prime minister to empower the Karachi mayor and local government representatives of other ­cities as per Article 140-A of the Constitution.

He said the Karachi mayor would get funds as well as resources, adding that Rs7 billion had been allocated for development works and Rs1bn had already been released. The governor also promised to complete work on a public sector university in Hyderabad.

He said the civil-military leadership of the country would together win the war against coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a source said the MQM-P’s decision was motivated by the government’s ‘carrot and stick’ approach. The source said that recently some MQM-P leaders and workers, including a coordinator of the Karachi mayor, were picked up from their houses and their whereabouts were still not known.

Even before the arrival of the PTI delegation, the MQM-P issued a statement condemning the arrest of Asif Ali Khan, a member of its central organising committee, by plain-clothes men and demanded that the prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan take notice and order his immediate recovery.

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2020