MQM to end boycott under new PPP deal
KARACHI: After two days of intense talks, the Pakistan People’s Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement decided on Tuesday night to end their differences and resume their active partnership.
Immediately after the announcement was made about the estranged allies having reached an understanding under which the PPP agreed to address MQM’s reservations, the latter decided to end its boycott of assemblies.
The breakthrough was achieved after a seven-member Muttahida delegation met President Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House after days of tensions and anxiety that almost rocked the coalition between the two parties.
Both sides reached a broad understanding on important issues of concern. During the meeting, President Zardari also talked to MQM founder Altaf Hussain and both of them stressed the need for continuing to pursue the policy of reconciliation.
The MQM delegation conveyed its reservations about the People’s Amn Committee (PAC) and said that most of its members were involved in criminal activities, including kidnapping and extortion.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced at a late-night press conference that the president had asked the Sindh chief minister to ban the Amn Committee and other criminal groups, irrespective of their political affiliation.
He said all such groups would be taken to task and instructions had been issued to close down their offices throughout Karachi and in other parts of the country. He said insurgent groups, including those involved in an insurgency in Balochistan but having their offices in Karachi, would also be banned and action would be taken against them.
The latest row between the two parties started after Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza declared the PAC a ‘sister organisation’ of the PPP and the Muttahida reacted by announcing a boycott of the provincial assembly.
According to analysts, the move against the Amn Committee might lead to differences within the PPP.
The MQM requested the president to take notice of the law and order situation in Karachi.
The president set up a committee headed by the chief minister and including Dr Saghir Ahmed and Raza Haroon of the MQM and Agha Siraj Durrani and Nadir Magsi of the PPP, with Mr Malik as coordinator, to monitor implementation of the decisions and matters pertaining to crimes.
The chief minister was asked to take immediate steps to end the activities being carried out in the name of the People’s Amn Committee and other groups.
The MQM delegation met the president as a result of a shuttle diplomacy undertaken by Mr Malik, the government’s ‘troubleshooter’. The interior minister met the MQM chief in London on behalf of Mr Zardari and sorted out details of the steps the government was required to take for addressing the party’s grievances.
The delegation which met President Zardari was led by Dr Farooq Sattar and comprised Babar Ghori, Raza Haroon, Syed Sardar Ahmad, Adil Siddiqui and Wasim Aftab. The PPP was represented by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Agha Siraj Durrani and Farhatullah Babar.