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KARACHI: ‘MQM against confrontation’

July 14, 2008

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KARACHI, July 13: Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has directed Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal to avoid any confrontation with the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government in Sindh.

Sources told Dawn that Dr Ibad and Mr Kamal held separate meetings in London with their party chief on Sunday. The governor briefed him about various problems being faced by the MQM ministers in the provincial cabinet while the CDGK nazim apprised him of the “interference” by non-MQM ministers in the affairs of the city government.

The Sindh governor and city nazim, as well as other MQM leaders are currently in London to attended a crucial meeting with the party chief. The main focus of the meeting is the “impending threat to Karachi and its population from Talibanisation, according to the MQM leadership.

The meeting, however, discussed the party’s working relationship with the partners in the Sindh coalition and the overall political situation in the country. The meeting continued on Sunday for the third consecutive day.

Another major issue on the agenda appeared to be the administrative problems being faced by the CDGK and town administrations of the Karachi district owing to a massive cut in their grant from the provincial government.

The meeting was told that works on several development projects had to be stopped due to the financial crunch. The other issues taken up at the meeting included creation of new departments assigned to the MQM ministers, appointment of parallel administrative officials by the Sindh government, transfers and postings in the CDGK-controlled departments and institutions without the consent of the city government or the relevant MQM ministers, etc.

The sources said that Mr Hussain was in complete agreement with his two lieutenants that there were many problems which were needed to be resolved at the earliest.

Mr Hussain advised Dr Ibad and Mr Kamal to avoid taking any step that could even trigger a war of words between the two major coalition partners.

The sources said that the MQM seemed to have decided to talk directly to the PPP co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, on the issues relating to the CDGK and the problems being faced by the MQM ministers.