The MQM-P is not interested in becoming a partner of the PPP’s Sindh government without some concessions, said Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar.
Akhtar, who is also the party’s deputy convener, made it clear that they have two major demands that the PPP needs to take seriously before the MQM would ever consider becoming part of the Sindh government. If not, “we have rejected the offer given by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to join the Sindh government”, he said.
Last week, Bilawal offered the MQM-P space in the Sindh government in order to topple the PTI-led federal government. But the MQM is in an alliance with the PTI in the Centre.
“We want to bring amendments in the Sindh Local Government Act after which the Karachi Development Authority, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and Sindh Building Control Authority will come under the city government,” he said.
The MQM-P also wants implementation of the Provincial Finance Commission Award according to the resources and population of cities, particularly urban hubs in Sindh.
Akhtar ruled out any divide in the party on this decision. “The entire MQM-P leadership is on the same page on making a conditional alliance with the PPP,” he said.
His statement was endorsed by the MQM’s deputy parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, Khawaja Izharul Hassan. “It is a matter of an hour to make amendments in Local Government Act, if the PPP is willing to do it,” Hassan said.
But he believes the PPP is still more talk than anything else. “We have not had any formal meetings with the PPP leadership so far and they haven’t even contacted our leadership,” he said.
The leaders’ reluctance isn’t shared by all their workers and elected representatives though.
MQM-P worker Syed Danish Karim, who is also a councillor of union committee-27 Ward 1 of Pehlwan Goth, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, told SAMAA Digital that MQM-P leaders Aamir Khan and Akhtar recently held a meeting with party workers at the Bahadurabad office during which they asked them whether they should join the Sindh government.
“I, as a party worker and elected representative, favour the PPP’s offer. We’re on the ground and are receiving harsh criticism from the public every day because we can’t address their civic issues,” he said.
District Municipal Corporation East Chairman Moid Anvar is also leaning towards an alliance with the PPP. The MQM is currently facing difficulties in resolving the issues of the public due to lack of powers, he said.
“An alliance with the PPP at the Sindh government level will surely strengthen the party in urban areas before the local bodies elections,” he said, clarifying, however, that the power to make the final decision rests with the party’s leadership.
PPP leader and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said the PPP respects the mandate given by the people to MQM-P at the city government level.
“We are in favour of strengthening the city government,” he said, adding that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has constituted a committee to strengthen the local bodies system in the upcoming LG elections.
But the Sindh government doesn’t want to empower the MQM-P by giving it too many powers. Nasir Shah said that billions of rupees were kept in the accounts of the KDA, KWSB and SBCA till 2005 but they were financially destroyed by 2009.