KARACHI: Within a week of their political break-up, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf appear to be on a collision path as on Monday the former asked the latter to refrain from criticising it for leaving the ruling coalition while the PTI called it a “threat” and issued a strong-worded statement.

The MQM-P had recently parted ways with the PTI-led federal government and announced its support for the opposition’s no-trust motion against the prime minister.

It began with a speech of Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh who, while speaking at a gathering held near Ayesha Manzil on Sunday night to celebrate the failure of the opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, criticised the MQM-P and predicted its end in Karachi politics in the next general elections.

On Monday, MQM-P reminded the opposition leader that it “is a separate political party and free to take its decisions independently”.

“It’s strange that a person like Haleem Adil Sheikh, who has a history of changing loyalty from one party to another is criticising the MQM-P. It was the mandate of the MQM-P which was snatched in 2018 and handed over to PTI illegally. It didn’t end here. During last more than three years of its rule, the PTI government offered Karachiites nothing but false hopes and fake promises,” the statement said.

It also said that the people of Karachi were betrayed in the name of justice and accountability.

A few hours later, PTI spokesman and MPA Arsalan Taj Ghumman described the reaction from the MQM as a threat to party leaders and workers.

However, he said the days were gone when the MQM-P intimidated and harassed its political rivals with threats of violence just to silence critical voices.

“Now the people of Karachi and parties representing them can no more be silenced,” he said. “The MQM-P cannot harass people of Karachi who are convinced that their votes were sold out for the vested interest of few so-called leaders.”

He said it was a blessing in disguise that the MQM-P was “further exposed” and the upcoming elections would lead to its removal from the electoral scene of Karachi.

Mr Ghumman said that the MQM-P made a deal with the opposition for short-term gains but it was “divine work” that it failed as Prime Minister Imran Khan dissolved the National Assembly shattering all the dreams of the opposition.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2022

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