KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party on Saturday sought the support of rival Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan for former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on an Islamabad Senate seat and offered the latter that the PPP was ready to withdraw its two nominees in favour of the MQM-P’s candidates.
The MQM-P, which is a coalition partner of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf at the centre and contesting Senate election in Sindh along with it and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), has not responded to the PPP offer saying the matter would be decided in a meeting of the party’s coordination committee.
A close contest is expected between Mr Gilani and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh of the ruling PTI and both the parties had approached the MQM-P for its seven votes in the National Assembly.
A delegation of PPP’s provincial set-up led by Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah and comprising Murtaza Wahab, Waqar Mehdi, Sharjeel Memon and others arrived at the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad.
Ready to withdraw two nominees in favour of the MQM-P’s candidates
Talking to reporters after holding a meeting, Mr Shah said that they came to the MQM headquarters on the directives of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and held discussion with regard to the Senate election.
“We will support the MQM if it supports us in the Senate,” he said, adding that the PPP was ready to withdraw its two candidates against as many MQM-P nominees in Sindh in return for its help for Mr Gilani’s Islamabad Senate seat.
He said that the MQM-P would consult its coordination committee and then communicate its decision to the PPP.
Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM-P leader Amir Khan said that the PPP delegation expressed the desire to contest jointly the March 3 Senate election in the country. “We have heard their proposal and we will present it in the next meeting of our coordination committee for a discussion. Whatever the coordination committee decides we will let the PPP know,” he said.
He said during the meeting the MQM-P asked the PPP to take meaningful steps to remove the sense of deprivation that had been prevailing among the people of urban Sindh for the past 12 years and also consider launching development projects and providing employment to youths.
Mr Memon thanked the MQM-P for a cordial welcome and said the PPP would address all legitimate concerns of the MQM. “We hope the MQM will give us a positive response [about Senate],” he said.
Senior MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari stressed the need of replicating what he called the Punjab model — where all Senate candidates have returned unopposed after the contesting parties reached an understanding — for the Senate election in Sindh.
Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2021