PPP’s trouble-shooter in action to woo disenchanted MQM

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The ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has finally moved its trouble-shooter, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, to mend ties with its major ally in Sind and federal governments-Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
This week saw MQM agitated in the Sind Assembly against what party lawmakers claimed was withdrawal of criminal cases against leaders of People’s Amn Committee of Lyari, the PPP’s traditional political stronghold in the MQM-dominated city.
The interior minister accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah met Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad on Saturday at Governor House to discuss issues ranging from terrorism to the emergent split between the two coalition partners.
While MQM leaders have been vocal in condemning the PPP’s alleged cover support to Lyari “gangsters”, PPP leaders have generally been in a reconciliatory mood on the eve of general election that are only weeks away.
According to an official statement, Malik and Ebad decided to take steps to make the atmosphere among the coalition partners in the province sustainable. In particular, they agreed that “misunderstandings” would be removed between the two major parties of Sind, PPP and MQM, through increased contacts.
In the meeting, the interior minister assured the governor, who is affiliated with the MQM, of an early redressal of MQM’s reservations. Malik said the ruling PPP would take no measure in Sind without taking its coalition partners from MQM onboard.
On the law and order front, the meeting decided to expand the area of “targeted operation” in the violence-hit city so that the action against terrorists could be made result-oriented.
It was decided that besides intelligence agencies, law enforcers will also be granted special powers to ensure a coordinated action against terrorists.
Rooting out terrorism from Karachi was said to be the top priority of the government, and the interior minister said more concrete measures would be taken to deal with the menace effectively.
The government, they agreed, would follow a policy of “zero tolerance” towards terrorism. The three leaders also urged the need for implementing the Supreme Court’s order on the law and order situation in Karachi in letter and spirit.
They also expressed their resolve to cooperate with the Election Commission of Pakistan for helping in holding of free and fair elections in the country.

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