- Shahbaz says politics of inteqaam (revenge) not in Opposition’s dictionary.
- MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui says development is “historic” and a “test for the political leadership of the country”.
- Bilawal says joint Opposition will now take steps to develop the country.
- Fazl says “drop scene” of drama that began three and a half years ago finally happened.
ISLAMABAD: MQM-P Wednesday announced to part ways with the ruling PTI, joining hands with joint Opposition to support their no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Addressing a press conference, flanked by leaders of the joint Opposition, MQM-P unveiled details of the agreements signed by the two sides.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal, among others, attended the press conference.
‘Historic development’: Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui
At the beginning of the conference, Siddiqui said the development was “historic” and at the same time, it was a “test for the political leadership of the country” as the coming days would pose several challenges to them.
“Today, we are gathered here to vow that we should work beyond promises and ensure that the decisions we take impact common Pakistanis,” Siddiqui said.
Opposition united on same page after decades’: Shahbaz
Taking over the press conference, Shahbaz said today was an important day for Pakistan’s history as the Opposition had “united on the same page after decades.”
“This united jirga of the Opposition has sat together […] merely lauding the efforts done for this achievement would not be enough,” the PML-N president told journalists.
He thanked MQM-P for taking the important decision to solidify the alliance in the “interest of the Pakistani people”.
Shahbaz also appreciated Zardari and Bilawal for starting a “new journey” with Siddiqui and the MQM-P.
Shahbaz noted that last night, the Opposition was almost about to strike an agreement with the MQM-P, but at the last minute, the Siddiqui-led party said they had some other reservations as well.
“Bilawal and Zardari took Siddiqui to a separate room and within 20 minutes, they resolved all the issues,” the Opposition leader claimed.
“And after that, all elders signed the agreement. This has set a very good precedent.”
The PML-N leader said that the agreement was the “case” of the 220 million Pakistanis that the united Opposition, along with BAP and MQM-P, has decided to fight.
“I believe that as per democratic principles, even if the PM is selected and has lost his majority, he should resign and establish a new tradition,” the leader of the Opposition said.
‘PM Imran has no option left’: Bilawal
For his part, Bilawal said the decision MQM-P had taken in light of the condition of Karachi and Sindh in general, was “historic”.
“PPP and MQM-P’s working relation has nothing to do with the no-confidence motion. Both the parties have to work together for the development of Karachi and Pakistan,” Bilawal said.
He noted that the PPP-MQM-P talks had started long before the no-confidence motion, as it was his “aspiration” that the party would support them in the Senate.
“During the Senate election, I had proposed even then that they work with us […] and today we have finally come to a point where we can start working together,” the PPP leader said on collaborating with the MQM-
Bilawal termed the general elections of 2018 a “conspiracy” wherein PM Imran Khan was “selected”, not “elected”.
The PPP chairman claimed that Karachi and Pakistan were bearing the brunt of the “selection” in 2018. “But the joint Opposition will now take steps to develop the country.”
The prime minister has lost the majority in the National Assembly as coalition partners of the government — MQM-P, independent MNA from Balochistan Aslam Bhootani, BAP, and JWP — have joined the joint Opposition.
Shahbaz has, in a stateman’s spirit, challenged the prime minister to resign from office, Bilawal said. “He has no option left; he can either resign or get dismissed via no-confidence.”
‘Politics of lies finally coming to an end’: Fazl
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Fazl also welcomed the decision of MQM-P to abandon the government and support the united Opposition’s no-confidence motion.
“This decision is not just a sign of political unity for Karachi and Sindh but for the whole of Pakistan,” Fazl said.
He said that the “drop scene” of the drama that began three and a half years ago has finally happened.
“Today, politics on the basis of lies is finally coming to an end,” he said. “Therefore, I would like to thank and congratulate all political workers and people who made sacrifices in a bid to get rid of this curse of a government.”
Fazl went on to say that the Opposition wants to “lay the foundation of healthy politics.”
“We want a government based on mutual respect of all parties involved,” he said, adding that politics of hate practised by the ruling PTI has “has ruined the foundations of society.”
“And when a society loses its values, it eventually collapses.”
Fazl acknowledged that there would be “challenges ahead for the joint Opposition,” but added that despite that, the country is facing a “dire need for healthy politics” aimed at fixing economic, societal, and political challenges.
“The unity that we are showing today will be required if we want the country to stand on its feet,” he said.
Fazl said it has come to his knowledge that the prime minister will address the nation. “…now everything is out of your hands”.
The PDM chief asked PM Imran Khan if he has an “iota of ethics”, he should resign today, adding that after BAP and MQM-P’s decision to join, the Opposition has more numbers than the required 172 to oust the premier through the no-trust move.
“I would like to say the international conspiracy was hatched when Imran Khan was brought to power,” Fazl stated, adding: “The plan to install this government was done internationally.”
‘Chooran of foreign conspiracy redundant’: Mengal
Moving on, Mengal said PM Imran Khan was out on a “hit wicket” and asked the premier to resign from office, as the “chooran” of foreign conspiracy had become redundant.
“…people, no matter which province they belong to, are humans — and the sort of human rights violations that are taking place in the country for the last 30 years should stop now,” Mengal said.
The BNP-M leader went on to say that he did not want an old or new Pakistan, but a “different Pakistan”, where every person has the right to live, every province has the right to use its resources, where citizens are treated like human beings, and where kids do not become missing persons.
‘Previous enemies now friends for Pakistan’s prosperity’: Magsi
BAP Parliamentary Leader Khalid Magsi — who later took over the presser — expressed hope that political parties, who were “previously enemies and now had become friends”, would work for the prosperity of Pakistan.
“… the agreement signed with MQM-P was not a favour, but it was their right. I appreciated PPP for acknowledging that every person, no matter whether they are Sindhi, Seraiki, Urdu speaking, or of any other ethnicity, are equal,” Magsi said.
The BAP leader said the agreement would help Sindh prosper. “I do not want to comment on the last 3.5 years as bygones are bygones, but I hope that they (government) learn from their mistakes.”
‘Inteqaam not in our dictionary’: Shahbaz
During the question and answer session with journalists, Shahbaz — while responding to a question regarding the joint Opposition’s plans for the future once they come into power — said that the “only purpose of the joint alliance is to work for the betterment of Pakistanis.”
“The word inteqaam (revenge) is not there in our dictionary, as we want to work for the betterment of small provinces, including Balochistan,” Shahbaz said.
“Pakistan cannot progress until small provinces are as developed as bigger ones,” he said.