Govt agrees to tackle MQM-P census reservations after ‘threat of layoff’

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MQM-P Convener Dr.  Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a press in Karachi on April 4, 2023. — Twitter/@MQMPKOfficial
MQM-P Convener Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a press in Karachi on April 4, 2023. — Twitter/@MQMPKOfficial
  • MQM-P shares census concerns with ministers.
  • The ministers acknowledge the reservations of the party.
  • The government delegation agrees to resolve the irregularities identified.

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday agreed to address the concerns of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) over the ongoing digital census — the seventh in the country’s history — after reports surfaced that the party had asked its legislators to submit their resignations.

According to MQM-P’s spokesperson, all aspects of the census were discussed at a meeting between the party and the government delegation, with the former delegation also presenting the findings of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The government delegation, the spokesman said, acknowledged MQM-P’s concerns following the review. They also agreed to resolve the issues and end the irregularities found in the current census.

The delegation – led by the party chairman Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui – that met with the ministers in Islamabad consisted of Syed Mustafa Kamal, Farooq Sattar, Syed Amin Ul Haque and Javed Haneef.

The government delegation included Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and Census Chief Commissioner Dr. Naeem Uz Zafar.

The news reported that cracks have appeared in the ranks of MQM-P leaders over the issue of whether to stay or leave the coalition government amid reservations over the digital census.

As such, the party made two conflicting statements after a key meeting of its coordinating committee. According to informed sources, several leaders of the party have expressed serious reservations about the census.

They believed that the Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf were gaining political power over the census issue, while the MQM-P, as a coalition partner, found it difficult to build its narrative on the census as the elections approached.

During the meeting, some legislators also presented their resignations to Dr Siddiqui, who chaired the meeting, which was attended by senior deputies Kamal, Dr Sattar and Nasreen Jalil, as well as deputies Anis Kaimkhani, Abdul Waseem and others.

The party’s initial statement said the coordination committee discussed the country’s political and economic affairs, censuses and other important issues. The party had approached various forums for rectification of the census process, but they were not heard, the statement read.

However, the statement did not mention the submission of resignations by some members of the National Assembly to the party chief. It added that the party would soon announce its future course regarding the census and share it with the media.

Later, the party issued another statement quoting Kamal as saying that no discussion of the current political situation had taken place during the meeting.

However, the party’s deputy chairman confirmed that some MNAs had submitted their resignations to the party chief and refused to attend the meeting unless the federal government and PBS address the party’s census reservations.

In addition, the statement also quoted Kamal as saying that the party was still part of the federal government and that it would stand alongside its coalition partners in all difficult times.

When The news When he approached Dr. Sattar and inquired about the party’s release of two conflicting statements, he said that the party would not leave the government.

He added that two to three legislators from the party itself offered to submit their resignations to the party head. He said those MNAs had told the party chief that he could send their resignations to the speaker at any time.

Dr. Sattar also confirmed that the party had reservations about the census as the population in Karachi had not been counted correctly. He added that the party had said several times that the census was a common thread for this.

Sources told Geo news Tuesday that the MQM-P had called for the resignation of its members of national and provincial assemblies and the Senate over its reservations about the census procedure in Karachi and Hyderabad.

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