Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Tuesday told Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman that his party “greatly valued” the “opinions of and suggestions” offered by the opposition alliance’s leaders and will determine his party’s stance on the no-trust move against Prime Minister Imran Khan “in the light of their” advice.
Siddiqui made these remarks while directly addressing Rehman — also the head of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) — alongside whom he was addressing a press conference in Karachi after a meeting.
The MQM-P leader thanked Rehman for providing them, with his presence, “the opportunity to think in the other direction” as he implied that his party was previously not free to do so.
The statements from Siddiqui, whose party is an ally of the PTI in the centre, have come as the opposition and government continue efforts to gain support of the ruling party’s allies ahead of a no-trust vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan that will decide his government’s fate.
Siddiqui said that the situation for MQM-P and other parties have not been alike, saying: “You (the opposition) don’t have to face the circumstances that we are facing.
“In the past few years, in order to become a part of the national leadership, we have been left with no political space.”
Consequently, his party is made to take every step “very carefully”, he added.
The MQM-P leader said his party, as well as the entire nation, was facing “special circumstances”.
“It goes back 50 years, and for the past 15 years, we have not been sidelined but [rather] deewar main chunwa diya gya (boxed in)”.
Several of his party’s workers were missing and offices sealed, he lamented.
Siddiqui remarked that the MQM-P’s expectations from the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government were that it would “give us a reason to stay in the government”.
“But if we get to know that the prime minister doesn’t have any authority in many matters, then we should not be willing to become part of a democracy that fails to benefit the people,” Siddiqui remarked.
Again addressing Rehman, he expressed the hope that both sides could work with each other to navigate Pakistan out of difficulties it was facing.
He acknowledged that there was a similarity of views between the two sides with regards to the current political situation.
Earlier, Rehman told the media that his party and the MQM-P had been holding talks following the filing of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on March 9.
“I was here in Karachi and thought it necessary to visit the MQM’s office,” he said.
Adding to what Siddiqui had said earlier, the Maulana said there was “complete conformity” between the two sides and that he was “leaving satisfied”.
However, he added, it could possibly take the MQM-P two to three more days to “make a formal announcement and … hence, the no-trust move will be a success for sure”.
He said the opposition was in contact with all allies of the PTI government. “What’s certain is that the allies are no longer with the government. It will take some more time — around a day — for them to announce that they are joining us”.
“He is now completely isolated,” Rehman said of PM Imran without naming him.
When asked about the ongoing session of the Organisation of Islamic Council in Islamabad, Fazl said that after the submission of the no-trust motion, the prime minister had lost his position as an “elected representative”.
“He is now trying to counter the entire nation, the [opposition’s] long march and the no-confidence motion on the pretext of foreign guests [visiting Pakistan],” Rehman said, adding that “we still welcome our guests. Respecting them is obligatory upon us and we don’t consider them the guests of the prime minister but of entire Pakistan”.
“This is why we have asked our supporters to enter Islamabad on March 25.”
When a reporter sought Fazl’s views on the PTI’s plans to develop a force along the lines of JUI-F’s Ansarul Islam, the PDM chief said every party had the right to do so.