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Daily Briefs


Photo : MQM press meeting in Karachi (Dawn)

13 January 2020, Monday

The MQM minister resigns from the ruling coalition



The party, however, will continue to support the PTI

PR Daily Brief | D. Suba Chandran

13 January 2020, Monday

What happened?
Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui resigned from the ruling coalition on Sunday. Siddiqui is the convenor of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan holding the position of a federal cabinet minister heading the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT). 

Addressing a press conference with other MQM-P leaders in Karachi, he was quoted to have stated: "We are not quitting the [federal] government...we will continue to support it…We hope that [the PTI] will address our grievances by implementing the MoU." According to Dawn, "he did not deem it right to continue to stick with the federal government that had done nothing for the urban areas of Sindh during the past one and a half years."

What is the background?
The MQM is a partner of the ruling PTI coalition at the national level. The party has seven seats in the National Assembly Parliament, and five in the Senate. The support of the MQM is crucial for the PTI, along with a few other smaller parties – PML-Q and BNP from Punjab and Balochistan respectively. 

The PTI has given two ministerial berths to the MQM-P in the National Assembly. While Siddiqui has resigned, the other MQM minister in the federal ministry – Dr Farogh Naseem has not resigned. Naseem heads the Ministry of Law and Justice. Dr Naseem is considered to be closer to the Establishment. He resigned as the minister to represent Gen Bajwa's case in the Supreme Court during November and was reinstated by the PTI government in the same month.

If the MQM-P is unhappy about the relationship with the PTI, all its ministers should have resigned. The fact that one quit, and the other remains to be the minister, should underline the MQM-P's strategy to pressurize the government. Though the stated reason is the failure of the PTI to implement the MoU between the two parties, it is suspected that the MQM-P is looking for one more ministry. 

Second, the MQM-P's primary strength is in Karachi, and it wants to be seen as contributing to the development of the city. The party wants more from the federal government for Karachi, which remains its primary vote bank. 

A few weeks earlier, Bilawal Bhutto gave a public invitation to the MQM-P to resign from the PTI coalition and join the PPP in Sindh. He also promised to accommodate the MQM-P in the provincial cabinet.

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