KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) have decided to regroup with “one name, one symbol and one manifesto”, a year after the two political factions announced complete disassociation from their former leadership based in London.
Announcing their decision at a joint press conference on Wednesday, MQM-P chief Farooq Sattar and PSP chairman Mustafa Kamal said they had decided to do away with their differences to ensure that the vote bank from Sindh and Karachi is not divided.
“We will contest the upcoming elections under one name and symbol,” Sattar said at the press conference, sitting alongside Kamal at the Karachi Press Club.
“We have decided to form a political alliance for the betterment of all,” Sattar said, adding that the political alliance is the need of Karachi, Sindh, and Pakistan.
The MQM-P chief said the new name and electoral symbol, under which the newly-formed alliance will contest the general elections, will be mutually decided in meetings to be held between the leadership of the two parties in the coming days.
He dismissed politics of confrontation, stating that the two parties “don’t want politics of confrontation to be encouraged in this city [Karachi]” and requested workers of both parties to play their part in working towards their common goal.
Regarding missing workers, the leader of MQM-P said the process of recovering them should move forward and appealed that the party’s offices, which are legally its property, be reopened.
Following Sattar’s press talk, Kamal endorsed Sattar’s announcement to continue the now joint struggle under one name and symbol.
“Whatever our identity will be, it certainly won’t be MQM because that name will always belong to the party’s founder,” the PSP Chairman said, referring to the leader of MQM-London.
Kamal lamented that Karachi has been treated unfairly in the recently conducted census.
“We do not accept the census, and every concerned citizen, including retired judges and intellectuals, agree with us,” Kamal stressed. “Seven million people from the urban areas of Sindh have not been accounted for in the census.”
He pleaded with the government to forgive the children of Karachi.
“I ask the government and the establishment to forgive the children of Karachi just the way they forgave Balochistan’s children,” Kamal requested.
“They were misled by someone, but that someone is no longer guiding them.”
“I appeal that these children be please be forgiven,” the PSP chairman said. “If they again commit the same mistakes, we take the responsibility of handing them over to law-enforcement agencies.”
MQM-P, PSP chiefs arrive at Karachi Press Club
PSP Chairman Mustafa Kamal arrived at the Karachi Press Club soon after MQM-P Chief Farooq Sattar, accompanied by Kamran Tessori and Abdul Rauf Siddiqui, reached the venue of the joint press conference.
The decision to hold the press conference was taken by leaders of both parties last night, while talks were underway since the last two months, sources say.
Farooq Sattar hints at development
The MQM-P, earlier today, held a meeting of the party’s high command at its PIB office. Arriving for the meeting, Sattar said that the party is the name of a movement, as he hinted towards a development taking place.
“People are saying something is happening – something should happen”.
Sattar made it clear that the party will not compromise on its name or electoral symbol, adding that he will exit the alliance any time if he is pressured to do away with his party’s name or electoral symbol.
MQM-P called an emergency general workers’ meeting after its Rabta Committee meeting concluded.
After the general workers’ meeting ended, in a brief media address outside the temporary Raabta centre in Bahadurabad, Sattar said that the time has come that the party makes strategic, not tactical, decisions.
“We should now make decisions as statesmen,” he said. “The workers have given us their mandate.
According to sources, the MQM-P leader, in a reference to the alliance with PSP, told his party workers that it was their victory that ‘those who were threatening to bury’ the party until yesterday were now ‘sitting next to’ them.
Mustafa Kamal avoids clear response
Kamal neither accepted nor denied the rumours of a possible merger between the two parties.
“We will let you know when the time comes,” he smiled and said to the reporters around midafternoon today (Wednesday).
Amir Khan rejects developments with PSP
MQM-P’s Deputy Convener Amir Khan, in an exclusive conversation with Geo News, said that the mandate given to his colleagues was different from what has come forward.
“This is not what we agreed upon,” Khan said, stating that he will revisit the situation after he reaches Pakistan tomorrow.
Khan is presently in Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah ritual.
MQM-P leader Rauf Siddiqui
MQM-P leader Rauf Siddiqui while speaking to media outside the Sindh Assembly stressed that whatever decision was taken by his party it would not be a surprise.
“Right now the party is meeting and whatever decision is taken it will not be a surprise. Pakistan needs unity right now and in this situation, everyone needs to be on the same page,” Siddiqui said.
MQM-P leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan
“I consider this a welcome move if a grand alliance is formed for the betterment of the city,” MQM-P leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan said.
“The city has long awaited for peace and unity, so a decision that’s for the betterment of the city [Karachi] and the province is a welcome change,” he remarked.
PSP leadership meets at Pakistan House
A meeting is also underway of the top brass of the PSP. Kamal, when asked if he would be part of the joint news conference, replied: “Let’s see, I will let you know when the time comes.”
PSP leader Raza Haroon
PSP leader Raza Haroon told reporters that any decision taken by both the parties while taking into consideration betterment of the people of the country will be appreciated by the entire Pakistan.
PSP workers react
Kamal chairing a session of PSP leaders in Karachi briefed the participants that MQM-P had contacted their party first.
According to reports, PSP workers have said that they will ‘never accept’ MQM-P’s name and put forward their reservations against some of the party’s leaders.
Wassan says ‘prediction coming true’
Sindh provincial minister, Manzoor Wassan said that he had predicted that this development would take place. The minister added that the both those parties would be led by an individual based in Dubai.
When contacted former Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad said that Wasan’s statement was not directed towards him. “There are good people in both parties but I am not in contact with either one.”
Ishrat-ul-Ebad denies involvement in bringing PSP, MQM-P together
Former governor of Sindh Ishrat-ul-Ebad denied all rumours about the possibility of being appointed as the leader of the ‘merged MQM-P and PSP.’
“I appreciate the decision of the parties to meet and do away with the rifts because divisions will never benefit the city,” he said, “but I have I not played any part in this development, at least in the recent days.”
Ebad claimed to have not been in contact with the parties but did not completely reject the possibility of his role in the new party.
“Sometimes a person is unable to decide their role and time becomes the decisive factor but for now there is no such possibility…neither do I have the intent or desire to join the [merged] party,” Ebad said, as he tactfully avoided a clear response.
ANP’s Shahi Saeed welcomes the move
President of the Sindh chapter of Awami National Party Shahi Saeed welcomed the two parties’ move.
“We welcome the decision if it is in Karachi’s interest,” Saeed said, “but we hope that this unity does not result in extortion and criminal activities that were being carried out on the instructions of the MQM-L leader.”
“They [MQM-P and PSP] should unite in the larger interest of this city [Karachi] and country,” he said.
Earlier on Tuesday in a press conference, PSP Chairperson Kamal vowed to create a bloc against the MQM-P in the legislative assemblies with the elected representatives that have switched over to his party.
Kamal has earlier said that MQM ‘is an enemy of Pakistan.’ He had claimed that ‘muhajirs are vulnerable’ because of the party.
Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Karachi Arshad Vohra also switched loyalties and announced to join the ranks of PSP on October 29. Speaking to media regarding his decision at the party’s central office, Pakistan House, Vohra remarked that he is grateful to the people of Karachi who gave them the mandate.
“Unfortunately, I was not able to deliver to the people of Karachi,” he lamented. “We have been quite unjust to the people of Pakistan,” he shared
Vohra had also shared that other leaders and workers of MQM along with MNAs want to joint PSP.
PSP President Anis QaimKhani had told the media that Sattar should get members of the Senate and National Assembly to resign if he had any moral courage.
“We will participate wholeheartedly in all the elections held on the posts of MQM leaders,” QaimKhani had said.