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Former PPP Leader Nabil Gabol. — File Photo.

KARACHI: Disgruntled PPP leader and former MNA from Lyari, Nabil Gabol, joined the Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Sunday.

Mr Gabol had been practically sidelined by the PPP leadership and rumours were rife that he was planning to quit the PPP and join either the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf. But he preferred the MQM to what he called “serve the people of Lyari”.

It appears to be a win-win situation for both Mr Gabol and the MQM which has found a strong candidate in Lyari where it has little presence.

Mr Gabol, along with his friends and supporters, reached MQM’s headquarters Nine Zero where he was given a warm welcome and was showered with flower petals by Muttahida workers who raised slogans in his favour.

Speaking to reporters on the occasion, Mr Gabol said he had been frustrated by policies of the PPP which had ‘neglected and destroyed’ Lyari and that was the reason for him to decide to end his 25 years of association with the party.

He said former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had given him a party ticket and he worked as a loyal PPP legislator for five years. “But this is no more the party of Benazir.”

Accompanied by MQM leaders Dr Farooq Sattar and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Mr Gabol said he had been considering to quit the PPP for about a year and there were various options, but he chose to join the MQM because Altaf Hussain had stood by him even in difficult times.

Mr Gabol said his differences with the PPP started when a former home minister began patronising criminal gangs in his constituency. He said he could not serve the people of Lyari who had been held hostage by the criminal gangs. “But I am joining the MQM today so that I can serve the oppressed people.”

Mr Gabol said he would work to bring Sindhis, Baloch, Pakhtuns and Punjabis closer. “Misunderstandings have been created about the MQM that it is the party of a particular community, but the fact is that it is a party of all nationalities and embraces people belonging to all religious minorities.”

He urged the people of Lyari to go beyond the Lea Market area and assured them that MQM workers would protect them. Sindhi and Baloch people should also protect Urdu-speaking people, he said.

Farooq Sattar said Mr Gabol’s decision to join the MQM would help allay misunderstandings being created among the people of Karachi.

Mr Gabol was elected MNA from Lyari in 2008 on a PPP ticket. He became minister of state for ports and shipping, but later resigned from the post.

He has been winning elections from Lyari for over two decades. He also served as deputy speaker of the Sindh Assembly.