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Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui announced to quit cabinet

13 January, 2020

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KARACHI: Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Sunday announced to quit the federal cabinet over ‘unfulfilled promises’ on part of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

“We had promised the government to help with the formation of the government and we held our end of the deal. However, none of the promises made to us have seen any progress,” federal minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication said while addressing a press conference in Karachi, flanked by fellow party leaders Amir Khan, Kunwar Jameel, Khwaja Izharul Hasan, Nasreen Jalil, Waseem Akhtar and Faisal Sabzwari.

“At this point, it becomes difficult for me to remain in the government, that I continue to hold a minister’s position, and people in Sindh continue to face the conditions they did before we joined the federal government,” he said, emphasizing that his resignation does not mean the party is withdrawing its support. “We had supported [PTI] in forming the government. We are not taking back our cooperation,” he clarified.

Siddiqui said two agreements were made with PTI, one in Bani Gala and the other in Bahadurabad in presence of Jahangir Tareen. “MQM-P has supported the federal government in every difficult phase but injustice is still being done with Sindh,” he said.

In response to a question regarding the ending of its alliance with the government, Siddiqui said, “We did not ask for the law ministry neither did we propose Farogh Naseem’s name. The two names that we had proposed for the ministry did not include Farogh Naseem’s name. The government had selected his [Farogh Naseem] name on its own,” he claimed.

Siddiqui lamented that after 16-17 months, not even a single point regarding the conditions in Sindh has seen progress. According to the MQM-P leader, if the party had seen ‘some seriousness’ on these matters, it might have waited a little longer. “The lack of seriousness on these matters has left us with no choice,” he said, adding that MQM-P’s Rabita Committee held a detailed discussion on Friday after which it was concluded that it was useless for him to hold the minister’s post.

Siddiqui denied that his decision had anything to do with the recent proposal of provincial ministries by Pakistan People’s Party Chairman (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in exchange for MQM-P’s help in toppling the government. “This has nothing to do with PPP’s offer,” he said.

During the press conference, responding to a question regarding whether he had submitted his resignation to the prime minister or federal cabinet, Siddiqui said, “We have told you first and through you (the media) we have taken the people of the country into confidence. We will then complete the rest of the steps.”

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has not sent his resignation to the federal cabinet. “A committee headed by federal minister Asad Umar will meet MQM-P leaders on Monday and try to address their grievances,” she told a private TV channel, adding that “MQM is our coalition partner and will remain so.”

Meanwhile, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail contacted Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Faisal Siddiqui to resolve issues through dialogue. Ismail emphasised that the Centre was committed to the agreements signed with the MQM-P. “The federal government will soon release funds for Karachi,” he added.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar also contacted Siddiqui on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan and ensured that the party’s reservations will be addressed. “MQM-P’s valid demands will be addressed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Faisal Vawda also promised full cooperation to Farogh Naseem. “The prime minister and federal cabinet believes the PTI-MQM-P alliance should not end under any circumstance,” he said.

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