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PM Nawaz offers to broker PPP-MQM 'peace deal'

29 October, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday offered to act as a mediator between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in order to resolve the differences that have risen between the two political parties.

He also reiterated that violence in Karachi would be met with an iron first and militant wings of political parties would be eliminated. Political relations between the MQM and PPP turned sour after PPP leader Khursheed Shah made certain remarks about muhajirs recently. The mediation offer was made during a meeting between a delegation comprising MQM members led by Farooq Sattar and the prime minister on Tuesday.

During the meeting, the PM reportedly said that difference of opinion was the "beauty of democracy" and it should aim at country's development and people's betterment. "Our constitution provides ample space for debate to all democratic forces in the country," he said.

The PM, however, made it clear that while the political differences would be solved with amicable means, any political party resorting to violence in Karachi, Hyderabad or elsewhere would be met with an iron hand and the militant wings of certain political parties who wanted to grab control of Karachi through highhanded means using ethnic card would be wiped out.

"There would be zero tolerance against militancy. The political parties must behave politically or else there shall be dangerous repercussions," the PM warned as the MQM delegates reportedly remained silent since they were not expecting this kind of aggressive warning shot from the PM, well-placed sources told.

In addition, talking to the MQM delegation, the prime minister said mutual differences among the parties must be sorted out through discussion and debate for which "our system has provided appropriate platforms".

He said that during the last few months, Pakistan witnessed an exemplary display of parliamentary democracy and rule of law in which all political parties expressed solidarity with the system for upholding the supremacy of democracy and strengthening of democratic institutions in the country. Overall political situation in the country, particularly in Sindh, also came under discussion during the meeting.

The PM called upon the democratically elected forces to work in unison for the development and progress of Sindh. He asked them to work for the unity and prosperity of Pakistan and resolve mutual differences through dialogue in a cordial manner.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and others also attended the meeting. Separately, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sindh Secretary General Saleem Zia and Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at his Parliament House Chamber on Tuesday. Overall political situation came under discussion during the meetings.

The Pakistan People's Party landed in a controversy with the MQM earlier this month when opposition leader in the National Assembly, Khursheed Shah remarked that 'the use of word muhajir was an insult'. The controversial statement was not taken lightly by the MQM, which called October 17 the "most unfortunate day in the history of Pakistan" over Shah's statement. On Sunday, the MQM hoisted black flags at all party offices across the country and observed a "black day" in protest against the statement of Shah, who had already apologised and retracted his words after facing criticism.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan said the PPP believed parties like MQM and Awami National Party (ANP) were against all sorts of extremism and would never use religion as a tool to achieve their 'negative goals'. "MQM used the issue to incite people's emotions," the PPP leader said. "This was least expected from MQM because we have been in government with them, but what they did [on Sunday] left all the rational segments of the society in surprise," he said.

Ahsan also said that it was unfair on anyone's part to consider themselves equal to the migrants of Makkah who accompanied the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on his migration to Madina. The PPP leader also slammed the alleged use of "foul language" by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against young PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.


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