KARACHI: MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui Wednesday announced that his party has decided to develop a “working relationship” with the joint Opposition, aimed towards the development of Pakistan — and not for personal or party gains.
He made the remarks while addressing an important press conference, flanked by leaders of the joint Opposition, to unveil the details of the agreements signed between the two sides.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal, among others, are attending the press conference.
Siddiqui said the development was “historic” and at the same time, it was a “test for the political leadership of the country” as the coming days would pose several challenges to them.
“Today, we are gathered here to vow that we should work beyond promises and ensure that the decisions we take impact common Pakistanis,” Siddiqui said.
The MQM-P leader said that his party has decided to develop a working relationship with the joint Opposition, aimed towards the development of Pakistan — and not for personal or party gains.
“I hope we work to develop an era where political differences are not considered as enmity, where political revenge does not exist, and where politicians start bearing each other,” he added.
Taking over the press conference, Shahbaz said today was an “important day” for Pakistan’s history as the Opposition had “united” and has come on the “same page after decades.”
“This united jirga of the Opposition has sat together […] merely lauding the efforts done for this achievement would not be enough,” the PML-N president told journalists.
He thanked MQM-P for taking the important decision to solidify the alliance in the “interest of the Pakistani people”.
Shahbaz also appreciated Zardari and Bilawal for starting a “new journey” with Siddiqui and the MQM-P.
Bilawal terms MQM-P’s decision ‘historic’
For his part, Bilawal said the decision MQM-P had taken in light of the condition of Karachi and Sindh in general, was “historic”.
“PPP and MQM-P’s working relation has nothing to do with the no-confidence motion. Both the parties have to work together for the development of Karachi and Pakistan,” Bilawal said.
He noted that the PPP-MQM-P talks had started long before the no-confidence motion, as it was his “aspiration” that the party would support them in the Senate.
“During the Senate, I had proposed even then that they work with us […] and today we have finally come to a point where we can start working together,” the PPP leader said.
Bilawal termed the general elections of 2018 a “conspiracy” wherein PM Imran Khan was “selected”, not “elected”.
The PPP chairman claimed that Karachi and Pakistan were bearing the brunt of the “selection” in 2018. “But the joint Opposition will now take steps to develop the country.”
The prime minister has lost the majority in the National Assembly as coalition partners of the government — MQM-P, independent MNA from Balochistan Aslam Bhootani, BAP, and JWP — have joined the joint Opposition, he added.
‘Drop scene’ of PM Imran Khan’s govt has taken place
PDM chief Fazlur Rehman also welcomed the decision of MQM-P to abandon the government and support the united Opposition’s no-confidence motion.
“This decision is not just a sign of political unity for Karachi and Sindh but for the whole of Pakistan,” Fazl said.
He said that the “drop scene” of the drama that began three and a half years ago has finally happened.
“Today, politics [that was] based on lies is finally coming to an end,” he said. “Therefore, I would like to thank and congratulate all political workers and people who made sacrifices in a bid to get rid of this curse of a government.”
Fazl went on to say that the Opposition wants to “lay the foundation of healthy politics.”
“We want a government based on mutual respect of all parties involved,” he said, adding that politics of hate practised by the ruling PTI has “has ruined the foundations of society.”
“And when a society loses its values, it eventually collapses.”
Fazl acknowledged that there would be “challenges ahead for the joint Opposition,” but added that despite that, the country is facing a “dire need for healthy politics” aimed at fixing economic, societal, and political challenges.
“The unity that we are showing today will be required if we want the country to stand on its feet,” he said.
Moving on, Mengal said PM Imran Khan was out on a “hit wicket” and asked the premier to resign from office, as the “chooran” of foreign conspiracy had r redundant.
“…people, no matter which province they belong to, are humans — and the sort of human rights violations that are taking place in the country for the last 30 years should stop now,” Mengal said.
The BNP-M leader went on to say that he did not want an old or new Pakistan, but a “different Pakistan”, where every person has the right to live, every province has the right to use its resources, where citizens are treated like human beings, and where kids do not become missing persons.
BAP Parliamentary Leader Khalid Magsi — who later took over the presser — expressed hope that political parties, who were “previously enemies and now had become friends”, would work for the prosperity of Pakistan.
“… the agreement signed with MQM-P was not a favour, but it was their right. I appreciated PPP for acknowledging that every person, no matter whether they are Sindhi, Seraiki, Urdu speaking, or of any other ethnicity, are equal,” Magsi said.
The BAP leader said the agreement would help Sindh prosper. “I do not want to comment on the last 3.5 years as bygones are bygones, but I hope that they (government) learn from their mistakes.”
During the question and answer session with journalists, Shahbaz — while responding to a question regarding the joint Opposition’s plans for the future once they come into power — said that the “only purpose of the joint alliance is to work for the betterment of Pakistanis.”
“The word inteqam (revenge) is not there in our dictionary, as we want to work for the betterment of small provinces, including Balochistan,” Shahbaz said.
“Pakistan cannot progress until small provinces are as developed as bigger ones,” he said.
MQM-P’s Rabita Committee ratifies agreement
Earlier in the day, MQM-P’s Rabita Committee has ratified the agreement signed with the joint Opposition as part of a deal to support the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The party’s top decision-making body met today to review the political development taking place in the country and gave its assent to the agreement reached with the Opposition, senior party leader Aminul Haq told Geo News.
Prior to the meeting, the MQM-P’s federal ministers Aminul Haq and Farogh Naseem sent their resignations to the PM Office.
Haq said that the body has also endorsed their resignations, adding, “a new era is starting and we would make practical efforts for urban Sindh.”
Big blow to PM Imran
In a big blow to the ruling PTI days before voting on the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan, MQM-P, a key ally of the government, will formally announce to support the Opposition during an important press conference scheduled to start at 4pm today (Wednesday).
With the announcement of the MQM joining the opposition, PM Imran Khan has lost the majority in the National Assembly as the number of joint Opposition in the House reaches 177 – five more than the required number of 172 needed.
Sources privy to the matter said that the joint opposition on Tuesday night reached an agreement with the MQM-P.
Following the agreement, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and President PML-N Shehbaz Sharif, former President Asif Ali Zardari, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, President PDM Maulana Fazlur Rehman also reached the residence of Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui at the Parliament Lodges.
The press conference that was scheduled to be held on Tuesday was postponed and Secretary Information PPP Faisal Karim Kundi announced that the press conference will now be held today (Wednesday) at 4pm.
According to sources, the final announcement will be made after the approval of the Rabita Committee of the MQM.
Senior leader of the MQM-P Senator Faisal Sabzwari also confirmed through his Twitter account that the agreement between the united Opposition and MQM-P has been finalised and after the ratification of the proposed agreement by the PPP CEC and MQM-P Coordination Committee, media will be informed today at 4pm.
If the MQM has decided to join the opposition, it seems Prime Minister Imran Khan has presumably lost the majority in the National Assembly before the final count of the no-confidence motion.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also confirmed that the united opposition and MQM-P have reached an agreement.
“MQM-P Rabta Committee PPP CEC will ratify the agreement. We will then share details with the media in a press conference. Insha Allah. Congratulations Pakistan,” he said.
Following MQM-P’s decision to abandon the PTI-led government just a day before the debate over the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, the numbers game has become more interesting.
Both sides need 172 votes to claim victory on the day of voting over the motion, which was tabled by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on March 28.
PTI, including the alliance parties, had 178 seats, while the Opposition had 163 seats; however, due to the constant efforts of the joint Opposition to woo the allies of the government, the numbers have moved around.
According to sources, following MQM-P’s decision to join hands with the Opposition, PTI now has 164 members in its favour, while 177 members are expected to vote against PM Imran Khan.
PTI — 155
PML-Q — 4
GDA — 3
AML — 1
BAP — 1
PML-N — 84
PPP — 56
BAP — 4
BNP-M — 4
Independent — 4
ANP — 1
JWP — 1
JI — 1
MQM-P — 7
PML-Q — 1
Source: The News