KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s pointman Jahangir Tareen flew into Karachi from Islamabad on Monday evening and invited former nemesis Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) to join Mr Khan-led next federal government.
The MQM-P has won six National Assembly seats — four in Karachi and two in Hyderabad — in the July 25 elections compared to its 24 NA seats in 2013.
With just six seats, the MQM-P has become an important factor in national politics since the PTI cannot form a government on its own and lacks a simple majority in the lower house of parliament.
Mr Tareen along with PTI leaders Arif Alvi, Firdous Shamim Naqvi and Imran Ismail reached the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad area and met with its convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. Senior leaders Dr Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan, Faisal Subzwari, Khwaja Izharul Hasan and Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar were also present.
Talks between the two parties held behind closed doors till 1.10am and an MQM-P source told Dawn that Mr Tareen sought MQM-P’s help in the election of speaker, deputy speaker and leader of the house in the National Assembly and offered the party its share in the upcoming federal cabinet.
The source said the MQM-P was not interested in a single ministry and it wanted more powers for the Karachi and Hyderabad local governments.
Later, Mr Tareen told the media that the PTI had invited the MQM-P to join its government at the Centre for the sake of the country.
He said that both the PTI and MQM-P got mandate from Karachi and now it’s time to deliver to the people.
Mr Tareen said that the issues of water shortage, garbage collection, mass transit, an empowered local government system, devolution of powers came under discussion and the MQM-P was told that all such things were part of the PTI manifesto. To a question, Mr Tareen said that the PTI did not offer the MQM-P any ministry as the two parties discussed ways and means to solve the problems of the people of Karachi.
MQM-P convener Dr Siddiqui said that the coordination committee would discuss the PTI offer on Tuesday (today). However, he hoped that the cooperation between the two parties would go a long way and it would strengthen not only democracy but also the country.
Earlier in the day, the PML-N had sent Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair to the MQM-P headquarters to convince the latter to not support the PTI. He told reporters that the PML-N wanted the MQM-P to sit on opposition benches in parliament instead of sitting with the PTI.