MQM-P raises delimitation issue as PPP mulls response to PTI move

Published November 29, 2022
MQM-P convener Khalid Maq­bool Siddiqui (L) and other party leaders call on PPP leadership, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, in Islamabad on Monday. — Screengrab via PPP Twitter
MQM-P convener Khalid Maq­bool Siddiqui (L) and other party leaders call on PPP leadership, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, in Islamabad on Monday. — Screengrab via PPP Twitter

ISLAMABAD: With political temperatures rising in the country in the wake of the PTI’s plan to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pak­htunkhwa assemblies, the leadership of two ruling allies in the centre, PPP and MQM-P, went into a huddle to plan their strategy with the former claiming to have Muttahida’s assurance it will stay in the coalition, and the latter raising the issue of ‘unfair’ delimitation of local government constituencies in Karachi and Hyderabad.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari along with Dr Asim Hussain and Saleem Mand­vi­walla represented the Pak­istan Peoples Party whereas Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment convener Khalid Maq­bool Siddiqui was acc­ompanied by IT Minister Syed Ami­nul Haque at the meeting.

On the occasion, Mr Siddiqui assured the former president that the MQM would continue to play its positive role in the government, according to a press release issued on Monday by the PPP Central Secreta­riat, that said both sides discussed current political situation and local elections in the Sindh province.

However, sources in the MQM-P told Dawn that the meeting was actually held last week, in wh­i­ch the party raised the issue of what it called unfair delimitation of local government constituencies in Kar­a­chi and Hyderabad and urg­ed Mr Zardari to direct his party’s government in Sindh to rectify the “injustices”.

The PPP in its press communiqué quoted the ex-president as saying that the reason of success of coalition government was that it was taking all the allies on board while taking major decisions.

A source privy to the meeting said the two sides also discussed the response of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) member parties if no-confidence motion was moved in Punjab as hinted by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.

The PPP and MQM-P agreed that dissolution of Punjab assembly would not pose a big challenge to the PDM, as there would be by-polls on some seats, the source said. However, the source said, they believed the situation in KP would be quite difficult as re-election would be called in case of dissolution of KP assembly.

However, sources in the MQM-P said, the party leaders discussed the issue of upcoming local elections in Sindh and told Mr Zardari that it was unfair to hold local elections without first having fresh delimitation. In response, the PPP leader said he would instruct Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who was then out of the country, to address the grievances upon his return, the sources added.

Since certain PPP leaders believed the existing delimitation would favour them in the local elections, the MQM-P told Mr Zardari that it was the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) that gained more advantage than any other stakeholder, the Muttahida sources explained.

A source privy to the meeting told Dawn that at the time of success of no-confidence motion against the then premier Imran Khan, all Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) member parties, including the PPP, had assured the Muttahida that amendments would be made to local government laws before holding the polls in Sindh as MQM-P had demanded so. The source said not just the MQM but also the PTI was not ready to take part in the local elections unless ‘desired amendments’ were made to the laws.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) earlier announced that the second phase of local elections in Sindh would be held on Jan 15, 2023.

In the current circumstances, the MQM asked Mr Zardari to find some solution how the party’s demands could be met so that it could take part in the polls without any reservation, the source added.

Azfar-ul-Ashfaque in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022

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