MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool resigns from Fed cabinet

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Quits over unfulfilled promises; Says injustice still being done with Sindh
Staff Reporter

Karachi Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Sunday announced his decision to leave the federal cabinet over “unfulfilled promises” on part of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Flanked by fellow party leaders Amir Khan, Kunwar Jameel, Khwaja Izharul Hasan, Nasreen Jalil, Waseem Akhtar and Faisal Sabzwari, he addressed a press conference at the MQM-P headquarters in Karachi.
“We had promised the government to help with the formation of the government and we held our end of the deal. However, none of the promises made to us have seen any progress,” Siddiqui said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar to lead a delegation of the party today to hold a meeting with the MQM-P leaders.
At the outset of his address, the MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool said when his party became part of the government, it had promised to provide support in forming the government and had promised to support PTI in every difficult stage.
“We have fulfilled our promise and intend to fulfil our promise,” he said. Siddiqui lamented that after 16-17 months, not even one point regarding the conditions in Sindh had seen progress.
“At this point, it becomes difficult for me to remain in the government, that I [continue to] hold a minister’s position, and people in Sindh continue to face the conditions they did before we joined the [federal] government.”
According to the MQM-P leader if the party had seen “some seriousness” on these matters it may have waited a little longer. “The lack of seriousness on these matters left us no choice,” he said, adding that MQM-P’s Rabita Committee (Coordination Committee) had held a detailed discussion on Friday after which it had concluded that it was useless for him to hold the minister’s post.
“Lack of seriousness of PTI government has compelled me to resign.”
He reiterated that the party was not ending its cooperation with the government.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to remain a part of the federal cabinet as questions are being raised upon my presence in the cabinet,” he explained.
Speaking about the agreement with the government, the MQM-P convener told the media that two agreements were made with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, one in Bani Gala, the other in the Bahadurabad, in the presence of Jahangir Tareen.
Siddiqui said that they [MQM-P] had supported the federal government in every difficult phase but “injustice was still being done with Sindh”.
In response to a question regarding the ending of its alliance with the government, Siddiqui said, “We did not ask for the law ministry neither did we propose Farogh Naseem’s name. The two names that we had proposed for the ministry did not include [Farogh] Naseem’s name. The government had selected his [Farogh Naseem] name on its own.”
Siddiqui denied that his decision had anything to do with the recent proposal of provincial ministries by Pakistan People’s Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Siddiqui in exchange for MQM-P’s help in toppling the government. “This has nothing to do with PPP’s offer,” Siddiqui said. Last month the PPP chairman had offered MQM-P provincial ministries if it helped “topple the government.” Bilawal had said, addressing the MQM-P. “The PPP will support the toppling of PTI rule”.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that “Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has not sent his resignation to the federal cabinet.”
“A committee headed by federal minister Asad Umar will meet MQM-P leaders todayand try to address their grievances,” she told media, adding that “MQM is our coalition partner and will remain so.”
Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to informed sources, has tasked Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and other party officials in Sindh to meet MQM-P leaders.
The prime minister is said to be in agreement with MQM-P’s concerns, deeming their grievances “legit” and vowing that the promises made to them will be “fulfilled”. The prime minister, as per sources, said that he was aware of Karachi’s importance as an “economic hub” and vowed not to ignore it.
Importantly, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar to lead a delegation of the party today to hold a meeting with the MQM-P leaders.