Ministry ‘too small a price’ asked by MQM


KARACHI – Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza said at a reception in his honour hosted by the Timber Merchant Association here at PPP offices on Thursday that he was disappointed because the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had asked for a very low price to stay in the coalition: (depriving him of) his ministerial portfolio.
Mirza said he had applied for a leave to go meet his daughter three months ago, which had been approved now, a statement that ran contrary to earlier ones where he said he had taken a leave because of ill health. “I have a life-long commitment with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP),” said Mirza. He asked Karachi businessmen to take oath on the Holy Quran and answer his question as to who had been approaching them for the last 25 years to collecting extortion money, “donations” and hides of sacrificial animals.
Mirza said the people of Lyari had always raised their voice against the extortion mafia and “I salute them for that”. He said he had spent 12 years in hiding in Pakistan and he was not one to run away. “I seek martyrdom like [Benazir Bhutto],” he said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters outside Parliament House that Mirza had not been removed but was on leave because of health reasons. Malik said Mirza was ill so the party leadership advised him to take some time off.
He said that any decision to appoint Mirza federal minister would be taken by the party leadership and so far no decision in this regard was under consideration.