MQM-P invites PML-N to multiparty conference

Published December 6, 2021
MQM-P leader Amir Khan speaks at a press conference. — Dawn/File
MQM-P leader Amir Khan speaks at a press conference. — Dawn/File

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan on Sunday extended an invitation to the main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for its multiparty conference (MPC) to be held on December 11 against the passage of the controversial Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Since the MQM-P is an important coalition partner of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government at the Centre, the rare contact between the two parties is being seen as an attempt by the former to normalise its relations with the PML-N.

A delegation of the MQM-P, led by its senior deputy convener Amir Khan, visited the PML-N House at Karsaz, met senior leaders Miftah Ismail, former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair and others and informed them about the reasons for organising the MPC.

PML-N leader Nasiruddin Mehmood told Dawn that his party had accepted the invitation and would attend the MPC. He said that when a party leader found out that the invitation for the event contained the name of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, he in a lighter vein informed them that Mr Sharif was in London and he could attend the moot via a video link only if the MQM leadership wanted him to speak at their event.

MPC being held on 11th in protest against passage of Sindh local government bill

Mr Mehmood, who is general secretary of the PML-N’s Karachi chapter, said the visiting delegation did not reject the proposal and replied that “they will discuss the issue within the party and get back to us”.

He said the MQM-P delegation discussed with the PML-N their reservations with the ruling PTI and the problems being faced by the people of urban areas due to the policies of the Pakistan Peoples Party as well as the new LG bill.

“Both parties are in agreement that the next general elections must be held in a transparent and impartial manner,” the PML-N leader said.

Asked whether the PML-N would share a platform with the rival PTI, which is also in the opposition in Sindh and had given its consent to attend the MPC, Mr Mehmood replied in the affirmative, saying his party believed in democratic norms.

During the meeting, he added, PML-N’s Sindh chapter secretary general Miftah Ismail said that his party was in favour of setting up of provincial finance commissions on the pattern of the National Finance Commission so that the provinces could release funds at the division level under an agreed formula.

Mohammad Zubair said Prime Minister Imran Khan always talked about devolution of powers to the grassroots level when he was in opposition, but he took a U-turn on this when he came to power.

Later, leaders of the two parties talked to the media.

MQM-P leader Amir Khan said the PPP was using its “fake” majority in the Sindh Assembly to get controversial laws, specially the new LG bill, passed without consulting stakeholders.

Miftah Ismail, who is also a former finance minister, said the PPP had snatched the powers of the local government organisations to deprive the people of their legitimate rights.

The MQM-P is holding the MPC to discuss injustices against urban areas of Sindh and the passage of the “black law” of local government by the PPP.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2021

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