MQM casts doubts on prospects for talks in London
KARACHI, Feb 2: In a veiled reference to speculation about a meeting between top leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement during President Asif Zardari’s visit to the United Kingdom, the MQM coordination committee declared on Saturday that its chief Altaf Hussain would not hold any ‘formal meeting’ with any PPP leader or committee.
President Zardari is currently in the UK on an official visit and a private television reported that a meeting between him and Mr Hussain would take place during his stay in London.
However, the MQM issued a vague statement without mentioning whether Mr Hussain had been scheduled to take part in any negotiations between the two parties.
It linked the participation of Mr Hussain in any meeting with the PPP leadership to “a final decision on long-standing issues that relate to public welfare”.
According to an MQM statement, a meeting of the coordination committee was held simultaneously in Karachi and London on Friday to discuss important matters.
It was noted in the meeting that Mr Hussain “has done his best to find solutions to issues and to let the democratic process continue” and by showing patience and restraint, the statement said.
Referring to a number of meetings between a core committee of the MQM and PPP, it said: “Certain elements, because of their prejudice, adopted a provocative attitude during the dialogue in order to break the alliance between the PPP and MQM.
“When these prejudiced and chauvinistic members of the PPP did not change their attitude, members of the core committee
took the MQM coordination committee and Mr Hussain into confidence about ‘uselessness of the dialogue’. These meetings were nothing but a sheer waste of time as they did not produce any result.”
The statement said it had been unanimously decided that Mr Hussain would not take part in any meeting with any PPP leader or committee unless members of a committee constituted by both sides arrived at a final decision on matters that were of interest
to the masses.
APP adds: The Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr Farooq Sattar, said at a press conference in Islamabad that the MQM would contest the coming general election independently.
He said the MQM always contested elections independently, with its own manifesto. However, seat adjustment could be made with “like-minded parties”.
He said the MQM was in an alliance with the PPP on the basis of five points — fighting terrorism, strengthening democracy, economic stability, making successful the reconciliation policy and stabilising the country. “We played our role as a responsible
political party to achieve these targets.”
The minister said the local problems, including peace, in Karachi could be resolved by a local government system.
He said banned groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, were responsible for destabilising Karachi.
He said destabilisation of Karachi with target killings of political leaders and on religious differences was part of a conspiracy to destabilise the country and its economy.