ishrat-ul-ibbad-670
Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad. — File photo

KARACHI, Feb 28: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad survived another crisis that threatened to bring to an end his over 10-year-long stint when he flew back to Karachi in the early hours of Thursday and lost no time in thanking President Asif Ali Zardari and Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain — exactly in this order — for putting their trust in him.

While a governor holds office “during the pleasure of the president” under the 1973 constitution, MQM parliamentarians and officials usually seize the first opportunity to affirm their allegiance to Mr Hussain.

Dr Ibad flew to the United Arab Emirates last week after the MQM parted ways with the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition in Sindh over the restoration of the 1979 local government system and stayed in Dubai.

Although political analysts familiar with the manner in which the MQM operates read too much into Dr Ibad’s reluctance to move to the party’s international secretariat in London, the MQM — in an attempt to quash rumours about differences between Dr Ibad and Mr Hussain — issued a statement on Feb 27 and made it clear that Dr Ibad had ‘proceeded to Dubai because of an ailment’.

However, Dr Ibad, 50, recuperated from the unspecified illness within no time when Mr Hussain advised him to take back his resignation “and resume his responsibilities for peace and stability in Sindh”.

Speaking to journalists at the arrival lounge of Jinnah International Terminal, Dr Ibad insisted that the resignation was his own decision that he reviewed only after having consultation with President Zardari, Mr Hussain and Interior Minister Rahman Malik who all agreed on the role he could play in maintaining peace and stability in Sindh as the general elections drew near.

Accompanied by senior MQM leaders and legislators, including Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Rauf Siddiqi and Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan, the soft-spoken governor expressed his gratitude to President Zardari, Mr Malik and Mr Hussain time and again during his media talk for posing their trust in him.

After daybreak, Dr Ibad exchanged views with British Deputy High Commissioner Francis Campbell in what appeared to be his first official engagement after resuming office.

Details of the meeting, however, were not shared with the media in a brief statement issued by the Governor’s House that said: “Mr Campbell welcomed Dr Ishrat’s return to the country.

“Mr Campbell said that Karachi is the economic and commercial hub not only of the province of Sindh but also of the entire country. He also lauded the role and services of Dr Ishrat towards the development process, progress and stability as well as for the overall betterment of Sindh.”

After meeting the British diplomat, Dr Ibad met Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and members of his cabinet at the Governor’s House in the evening.

“Qaim Ali Shah was accompanied by provincial ministers Sharjeel Inam Memon, Ayaz Soomro and Rafiq Engineer,” said another statement. “Qaim Ali Shah welcomed the decision of the Sindh governor to withdraw his resignation.”

He said that Dr Ibad fostered ‘cohesion, understanding among various sections of the society’.

“The chief minister said that Dr Ishratul Ibad played the role of a bridge for the political stability and reconciliation,” the statement added.

Dr Ibad’s resignation as governor followed by its withdrawal to resume office was not the first such event in his more than a decade-long time in office, as earlier in June 2011 he tendered his resignation hours after the MQM pulled out of the ruling coalition in the province and the centre in protest against the postponement of elections on two Karachi seats of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.

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