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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MQM gives 10 days to PPP to explain allegations

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has given 10 days to the Pakistan Peoples Party government to explain Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s allegations that MQM was involved in Karachi target killing.

Briefing newsmen after MQM’s Coordination Committee, party leader Raza Haroon urged PPP leadership to explain Mirza’s statement within 10 days, “Otherwise the MQM will announce its plan of action in the light of public opinion,” he warned.

Condemning the minister’s statement, Haroon termed it ‘provoking’ and ‘conspiracy to disintegrate the country’.

He asked PPP leadership to explain either the views were Mirza’s personal opinion or PPP’s policy. “Why any action has not been taken in this regard if the statement is not PPP’s policy,” he questioned.

Mirza, while addressing a ceremony on Monday, said 26 of 60 target killers arrested in Karachi were found associated with MQM.

The meeting was considered crucial one in the wake of JUIF’s walked out of the government, triggering fears of a domino effect.

However, the MQM did not take any decision to part its ways with the government.

Haroon said “MQM is a democratic party and believes on resolving the issues with reconciliation; therefore we will not take any emotional decision.”

He said the emergent meeting reviewed the departure of JUI-F from the government.

About JUI-F’s defection, he said “Difference of opinion is beauty of democracy and everyone’s right.” He urged upon the PPP leadership to address the concerns of its ruling allies immediately.

“We discussed the current political situation and the ruling Pakistan People Party’s (PPP) behaviour towards its allies,” Haroon said.

JUI-F walked out on Tuesday after PPP Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sacked one of its three cabinet ministers.

The government needs a simple majority of 172 members in the 342-seat national assembly, which has not been affected by JUIF’s departure with only eight seats in the lower house of parliament.

But MQM support is crucial to the PPP coalition. Party relations have already soured over a surge in political violence in Karachi, which saw more than 155 people killed.

PPP has 128 lawmakers in the lower assembly and commands a majority of 184, based on coalition partners and allied independent members.

MQM has 25 seats in the federal parliament and could theoretically bring down the government unless the PPP can shore up replacement coalition partners.

The federal government’s third coalition partner, the Awami National Party, on Tuesday pledged public support for the PPP after JUIF’s withdrawal.

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