PPP, MQM in new move for patch-up
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah appeared optimistic on Friday about a positive outcome of a meeting held in Islamabad between President Asif Ali Zardari and Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad.
The chief minister’s optimism was strengthened by the unexpected presence at his Iftar party of some important MQM lawmakers, including Syed Sardar Ahmad, Raza Haroon, Dr Saghir Ahmad, Syed Faisal Sabzwari and Heer Sohu.
Talking to reporters after the Iftar hosted for journalists and local leaders of different political parties, the chief minister said Ramazan was a month of blessings and the presence of so many representatives of political parties, especially the MQM, was a good augury not only for Karachi, but also for Sindh and the rest of the country.
Asked about the possibility of the MQM rejoining the government, he said the governor was in Islamabad for talks with the “higher leadership”. He said he was hopeful about a positive outcome of the talks.
He said talking about rolling back the commissioner system after the return of the MQM was premature.
In reply to a question whether the MQM would get back the ministries which had been given to other coalition partners, he said one ought to have a big heart.
To another question, he said the interior minister would decide about a list of 500 alleged terrorists presented by MQM’s parliamentary leader Dr Farooq Sattar in the National Assembly. He said he had not seen it.
Sindh’s Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani said he was confident the MQM would be back in the coalition before Eid.
He said concerns of the MQM on the commissioner system would be addressed to make it more effective.
Raza Haroon, who has been named leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly by the MQM, said his party would make its stand known only after learning about the outcome of the meeting held in Islamabad.
Mr Haroon said the MQM had already made its concern over bloodletting known to the government and it expected swift
action against those responsible for the killings.
He said the restoration of the commissioner system was a regressive measure, asserting that the Muttahida would try to get it rolled back.
Mr Haroon said a committee named to sort out matters with the MQM had not met him.
The MQM leader said maintaining law and order and catching criminals was the responsibility of the provincial government.
Provincial Minister for Works and Services Dr Zulfikar Mirza said that if the MQM decided to rejoin the ruling coalition, it would extract a heavy price.
Mr Mirza was of the view that a way out could be found by incorporating into the commissioner system some ingredients of the defunct SLGO.
About MQM’s demand for calling the army to establish peace in Karachi, he said the armed forces were part of the government, the president was their supreme commander and he could take a decision on the matter.