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KARACHI: Asif summons Sindh cabinet members to Islamabad

September 18, 2008

KARACHI, Sept 17: President Asif Ali Zardari, who returned to Islamabad last night after his private visit to Dubai and London, has summoned Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and his cabinet ministers to Islamabad.

Besides the chief minister and PPP ministers, half-a-dozen ministers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal and Hyderbad District Nazim Kanwar Naveed Jamil also flew to Islamabad on Wednesday.

The rushing of the Sindh cabinet members to the federal capital in the backdrop of President Zardari’s cordial meeting with Altaf Hussain on Tuesday night in London is being termed by analysts an important development amid reports of a reshuffle in the provincial cabinet.

Although press reports of the meeting between the two main architects of Gen Pervez Musharraf’s exit from the presidency are silent on the issue of induction of MQM ministers into the federal cabinet and the brewing differences over the exercise of authority between the coalition partners at the provincial level, the summoning of the cabinet shows that all is not well at the Sindh front.

Analysts said the way MQM chief Altaf Hussain and his party had extended unconditional support to the PPP government and Asif Ali Zardari and demanded that President Zardari attend to their complaints about the exercise of authority and changes in the portfolios of their ministers.

The MQM chief is on record as having said a day before his meeting with President Zardari that whatever he had in his coffers had already been emptied, and now his two nazims in Karachi and Hyderabad had been left with nothing even to carry on the development schemes.

Analysts said even if President Zardari and MQM chief Hussain had not taken up irksome issues, the way Sindh cabinet was summoned to Islamabad was enough to show that there was something wrong between the coalition partners. And the PPP leadership at this juncture, when its main ally PML-N has parted ways and the US incursions have heightened unrest among the masses, could not afford to annoy its most vocal ally with unmatched street power.

During their meeting in Islamabad, it is expected that all issues of discord between the two allies would be resolved to the satisfaction of the MQM and their joint core committee would be strengthened further so as to resolve the day-to-day issues without any hassle, they said.