ISLAMABAD - Unless there is a miracle, the federal government seems set to be voted out in a few days as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan joined the opposition camp on Wednesday, leaving Prime Minister Imran Khan short of majority in the National Assembly.

The MQM-P announced to work with the opposition after splitting from the ruling coalition as the assembly prepares to vote on the opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Speaking at a news conference flanked by Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif, PDM Chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Balochistan Awami Party’s Khalid Magsi and Balochistan National Party (Mengal) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, MQMP leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that his party had entered into an alliance with the opposition parties.

“The national leadership is passing through a test, and the MQM has entered into an alliance with the opposition. The MQM is with the opposition for a change and start an era where political differences are not considered as enmity,” he maintained.

While addressing the press conference, Shehbaz Sharif appreciated PPP leaders Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for starting a ‘new journey’ with the MQM-P. He also thanked the MQM-P for taking the important decision to solidify the alliance in “the interest of Pakistani people”.

| MQM-P’s federal ministers Farogh Naseem, Aminul Haque quit cabinet | Fazl says Opposition’s strength in National Assembly now stands at 175 while 172 votes are required | Shehbaz appreciates Zardari, Bilawal for starting a ‘new journey’ with MQM-P | MQM has taken a historic decision by supporting united opposition: Bilawal | Khalid Maqbool says there should be no political point-scoring

The agreement inked between the MQM-P and the Pakistan Peoples Party is aimed at fighting the ‘case’ of 220 million Pakistanis collectively along with other opposition political parties, said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif.

 

Shehbaz said today was an important day in the country’s history as the entire opposition had come on the same page after decades.

 

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also welcomed the MQM-P’s decision, saying: “This decision is an expression of national unity for not only Karachi and Sindh but also for the whole Pakistan. As a result, our (opposition’s) strength in the National Assembly now stands at 175, while we need only 172.”

 

On the occasion, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari welcomed the MQM on joining the opposition has expressed his gratitude. “The MQM has taken a historic decision by supporting the united opposition and prioritising the country. The working relationship between PPP and the MQM has no link with the no-confidence. They have to work together for the benefit of the country,” he contended.

The PPP Chairman said that the dialogue between the PPP and MQM has not begun in the recent days. “It was my long-standing desire for the two parties to work together. I am grateful that we have come to a result that allows for such a journey,” he added.

The PPP chief said that every party “that is united before you has faced a conspiracy. However, the conspiracy that caused distances between PPP and the MQM harmed not only Karachi but the entire country. Now that the nation’s leadership is on one page, we will take steps to help the country emerge from this crisis.”

He said PM Imran Khan has lost his majority. “The MQM has joined the opposition’s ranks. Aslam Bhootani joined us yesterday, BAP the day before and before that, the JWP (Jamhoor Wattan Party),” he remarked.

Bilawal challenged Imran Khan to resign. “He is no longer the prime minister. He has no option left. The parliament’s session is tomorrow (March 31), and voting should be conducted so that the journey of Pakistan’s progress and restoration of the economy and democracy can begin.  I thank all political parties present on the occasion, especially Shehbaz Sharif who will soon be the country’s next PM,” he said.

Bilawal said it will be recorded in history how an “undemocratic government” that was imposed on us was driven out via “democratic means.”

Speaking on the occasion, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif said that “today is an important day in the history of the country and perhaps there has been an occasion in decades when the entire national political leadership is present on one platform in the form of a national Jirga and national unity.”

He also demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and said that the Prime Minister can establish new traditions by resigning.

Earlier in the day, the PPP Central Executive Committee and the MQMP Rabita Committee had ratified the agreement between both the parties. The PPP leadership held consultations with its CEC and while MQMP consulted the Rabita Committee to discuss the coalition between the parties to vote for Opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, MQM-P leaders Farogh Naseem and Aminul Haque resigned from PM Imran’s cabinet.

Farogh Naseem, who was the federal minister for law, wrote in his resignation letter that he was resigning on the directions of MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

Minister for Information Technology and Telecom Mainul Haque wrote in his resignation letter that while he was a part of the government in his capacity as a minister, he was “bound by my party’s decisions as a responsible worker”.

“In light of my party MQM-P’s decisions, I resign as federal minister for information technology and telecommunication. I request you (the prime minister) to accept this.”

He added that he was “proud of fulfilling my duties with honesty”. Bilawal in his Twitter massage congratulated the nation and said that united opposition and MQM have reached an agreement.

The MQMP and the BAP – until recently the allies of the government - have said that their lawmakers would vote with the opposition. More than a dozen PTI lawmakers have also indicated they will cross the floor, although party leaders have filed a presidential reference in the Supreme Court on the matter.

 

Balochistan National Party Chairman Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal called upon the politicians to pursue democratic norms to serve the country in a best way.

 

“We must show unity and solidarity in our endeavours to strengthen democracy. All the provinces have longstanding issues, and a unified response is required to resolve them.”

 

Mengal said the only demand of the people of Balochistan was to equal distribution of the national resources and end of discrimination of the marginalised and less-developed areas.

 

He said his party had decided to support the no-trust motion in the interest of the people of Balochistan.

“We are experienced politicians and our unification is only for the protection of Pakistan and all of us must strive to achieve this goal”, Parliamentary Leader of Balochistan Awami Party Khalid Magsi said.

 

The next government, he said, should serve the nation and protect its interests.

 

Khalid Maqbool said there should no political point scoring, rather the politics of decency and politeness should be practiced in the country. He congratulated the leadership of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and expressed the hope that the new alliance would help address the issues of people.

 

“We have initiated a working relationship. We are true representatives of those areas which need special attention of the government to address their outstanding issues,” he added.