KARACHI, May 28: Accusing Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif of hatching a conspiracy to divide Sindh, a four-member ministerial committee of the Pakistan People’s Party has ruled out the possibility of holding dialogue with elements demanding a Mohajir province.
The committee was constituted at a recent cabinet meeting by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to look into causes of deteriorating situation in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, following a series of demonstrations held by the previously unknown Mohajir Sooba Tehrik and an attack on a procession of the Awami Tehrik.
The committee headed by Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and comprising federal ministers Khurshid Shah, Naveed Qamar and Maula Bux Chandio visited the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s headquarters ‘Nine Zero’ on Monday and discussed the overall situation in the country and in Sindh with specific reference to the Mohajir province demand. After the closed-door meeting, in which MQM chief Altaf Hussain also took part through telephone, leaders of both parties told reporters that nobody wanted a division of Sindh.Khurshid Shah said that Shahbaz Sharif had talked about Sindh’s division and it was the MQM which promptly, even before the PPP, condemned his statement and rejected any division of Sindh. “It was a conspiracy of Shahbaz Sharif,” he added.
When asked if the PPP would hold talks with people behind the demand of Mohajir province, Mr Shah emphatically replied in the negative and said that no-one from the government had ever held talks with those who had raised the slogan of Sindhudesh. “In democracy talks are held only with people’s representatives and we are here because the MQM has the mandate of people of Karachi.”
He said the PPP wanted durable peace in Sindh and there was no issue which could not be resolved.
Mr Shah also said that President Asif Ali Zardari had not formed any committee to hold dialogue with criminals in Lyari. “If anyone is meeting them…he is doing so in his personal capacity.”
Makhdoom Amin Fahim thanked the MQM for removing a misgiving by categorically stating that it did not want a division of Sindh.
MQM’s Raza Haroon thanked the PPP delegation and told reporters that earlier in the day a meeting was held also between the PPP leaders at the Governor’s House where issues of law and order and other problems were discussed.
A press release issued by the MQM said that Muttahida leaders Waseem Aftab, Raza Haroon, Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Saleem Tajik and Adil Siddiqui urged the PPP delegation to take meaningful steps to get rid of criminal elements in the city.
It said the MQM coordination committee told the PPP delegation that it did not want a division of Sindh and it condemned the conspiracy against the province.
The MQM chief told the PPP delegation that Sindh did not belong to any one group but to all those who were born here and who were buried here. They earn their livelihood here and spend here whatever they earn. The permanent residents of Sindh have to co-exist by accommodating each other and accepting each other’s rights.
He was of the view that there should be no distinction between old and new Sindhis as everyone had equal rights in the province.
Mr Hussain said that differences had to be removed and issues had to be resolved peacefully through understanding and dialogue.
He hailed the efforts being made by President Zardari for peace and harmony in Sindh.