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MQM-P to hold protest rally after it fails to make headway in talks with PPP

Legal experts warn against redrawing UC boundaries
MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a press conference in Karachi on January 01, 2023. Screengrab
MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a press conference in Karachi on January 01, 2023. Screengrab

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has decided to hold a protest rally on January 9 after it failed to make headway in talks with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) at Bilawal House in Karachi where they had gathered to resolve the dispute on the delimitation of constituencies for local bodies election in Sindh province.

The party leadership, during MQM-P Rabta Committee’s workers’ convention held in Karachi, rejected the delimitations of new constituencies and voter lists ahead of local government (LG) elections, scheduled to take place on January 15.

Addressing the meeting, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that MQM-P delegation will hold meetings with other political parties and would invite them to participate in the protest rally. “We will also ask the PPP to support us if they want a government in Sindh,” he added.

Sources said that the MQM-P leader Waseem Akhtar contacted Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Ameer Hafiz Naeemur Rehman and invited him to participate in the protest rally against the delimitation of new constituencies.

Both PPP and MQM-P are part of the ruling coalition at the center but have issued statements against each other in recent days over the delimitation issue and their rift may have a bearing on the fragile ruling government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

MQMP believes delimitations introduced through the 2021 Sindh Local Government Act put it at disadvantage against the PPP in urban centers especially in Karachi. It demanded that the UC boundaries must be demarcated again. The PPP says boundary demarcation is the sole prerogative of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

An MQMP delegation led by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui arrived at the Bilawal House Karachi Monday night. They held talks with PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

The PPP had invited legal experts as well and they told the meeting that delimitations could not be changed within a couple of weeks. It will require at least four months, the experts from the Sindh government legal team said.

The local bodies elections in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions are scheduled to be held on January 15.

The Sindh government legal team told the meeting that delaying the local bodies election was not an option either because the ECP was pressing for the polls, which have already been postponed multiple times since June 2022 when other divisions in the province went to polls.

The MQMP is going to hold the General Workers Meeting of the party today (Tuesday). Sources say a new round of talks with the PPP was likely on Wednesday.

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Shehbaz Sharif

ECP

Asif Ali Zardari

PPP

MQM P

sindh

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Election commission of Pakistan

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui

Local bodies

local government