MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui says party will remain govt’s ally, downplays resignation announcement

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said on Monday that there was “nothing sensational” in his press conference where he announced his surprise resignation as federal minister for information technology.

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He reiterated that his party would remain an ally of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

Siddiqui was speaking to the press after meeting a delegation of the ruling party led by Planning Minister Asad Umar in Karachi.

“We promised to support the government with our numbers and we will continue to do that,” said Siddiqui.

“We need to give the residents of Karachi the rights that they have been denied for decades, sadly […] and this is our mutual struggle,” Umar said.

Both Umar and Siddiqui told reporters that the meeting was pre-planned, rubbishing rumours that the Centre was holding negotiations with the MQM-P.

The PTI delegation, led by Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms Asad Umar, arrived at the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad. Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi and MPA Khurram Sher Zaman were also part of the government delegation.

MQM-P delegation included convener Siddiqui, Amir Khan, Kanwar Naveed Jamil, Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Aminul Haque.

The meeting comes a day after Siddiqui on Sunday announced he was resigning from his post as minister for information technology because the ruling party “did not fulfil its promises”. But Siddiqui insisted his party would continue to support the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government.

MQM-P also clarified that its senator, Farogh Nasim, who is the federal minister for law, will continue to be part of the cabinet. The party did however claim that the government had not consulted it before giving Nasim the the portfolio of law. Siddiqui went on to say that his party was promised one more ministry but despite repeated assurances, the PTI-led government did not fulfil its promise.

After the general elections in August 2018, PTI and the MQM-P had signed a nine-point memorandum of understanding (MoU) following which the latter joined the PTI-led coalition government in Centre and was also assigned two federal ministries – those of information technology and law.

Senior MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari had earlier said that after Siddiqui’s press conference, Prime Minister Imran Khan had personally contacted the MQM-P convener and assured him that he would look into his party’s legitimate concerns.

Siddiqui’s announcement came just weeks after PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s public offer that the PPP was ready to embrace the MQM as a coalition partner in Sindh provided it helped the opposition in bringing down the PTI-led federal government.

Siddiqui clarified that his decision to quit the federal cabinet had nothing to do with the “recent offer of ministries from a party”.

He explained that MQM-P had supported the PTI government for strengthening the democratic system, but to date it had not seen any serious headway on even one of the many points of the MoU it had signed with PTI.

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