Security of gains, not workers, forced MQM out

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The Muttahida Qaumi Movement took a U-turn on its claims of participating in Dr Tahirul Qadri’s long march after cutting an underhand deal with President Asif Ali Zardari, who promised the party a lion’s share in the caretaker government in Sindh and federal government and holding of local government polls in Sindh at the earliest.

In return Zardari asked MQM chief Altaf Hussain to withdraw his support for the marchers, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably.

A source in the PPP-led government said an MQM delegation, led by MQM Rabita Committee Convener Dr Farooq Sattar, met President Asif Ai Zardari on Thursday night and put two demands for withdrawal of his party’s support to the long march.

“Dr Farooq Sattar asked President Zardari to give a lion’s share in the caretaker setup, especially in Sindh, and to hold local government elections in Sindh immediately, so that the party could sell the bargain to its voters,” the source said.

He added that after the Supreme Court’s verdict for delimitation in Karachi, the MQM leadership was perturbed and hence wanted a big share in the caretaker setup to ensure its win in the next general election.

“Actually, the MQM leadership is concerned due to the phenomenal increase in the Pashtun vote bank. So the support to Dr Qadri’s march was a pressure tactic. Now after assurance from President Zardari, they are hopeful of making up their previous losses,” the source added.

The source said President Zardari gave categorical assurance on MQM’s share in the caretaker setup, but he gave no clear assurance on holding the local bodies’ elections as the Sindh Public Local Government Ordinance 2012 had already hurt badly the ruling party’s popularity in interior Sindh and the nationalist parties gained a lot.

MQM DIVIDED:

 

A source in the MQM said there were “deep divisions” within the Rabita Committee over the deal, as Zardari had a habit of dodging its coalition partners and not meeting his promises.

“This decision might be right as my party would get a good deal with the PPP, but this U-turn has badly affected the morale of party workers,” he said.

“We had already been facing criticism for the party’s jumping from one branch to another and then back within hours and days, but this march call had given us a lot of boost. However, this deal has badly hit the party workers’ morale, especially outside Sindh,” said the source.

Despite repeated attempts, MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil was not available for comments.

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