KARACHI - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Sunday met Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders to garner support of the coalition partner for legislation in the Parliament over extension in tenure of the incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and frame rules in this regard.

The meeting at the MQM-P Bahadurabad headquarters was attended by MQM-P Convener and Federal Minister for IT Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, deputy convener Amir Khan, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhter, Minister for Law Farogh Naseem and others.

The foreign minister was also accompanied by PTI provincial leadership including Opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Haleem Adil Shaikh, PTI Karachi chief Khurram Sherzaman and others.

The top MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool hinted at his party’s unconditional support to the centre for legislating on the army chief’s extension matter.

“The MQM-P’s policy on important national issues is clear that we have unconditionally supported such matters in past and will continue supporting the same in future,” he announced.

PTI, allies to decide future course of action on Thursday: Qureshi

Responding to extension issue, the foreign minister said they were bound to carry out legislation on the issue but would once again reiterate that it was an executive function and the prime minister used his power under that ambit and if any changes were required these would be carried out as per law.

Separately, talking to media persons, the foreign minister applauded MQM-P for supporting the PTI-led federal government in testing times during the first 15 months.

“Imran Khan took charge of the incumbent government in critical times when the country was moving towards bankruptcy,” he said the crisis was averted with the support of friendly countries and IMF support loan.

“Since we are out of crisis now and all economic indicators are showing improvement, it is time to convert this stability into growth and fulfill aspirations of those who have elected us to these assemblies,” he said.

Qureshi said, “Karachi voter is politically mature and understands how PTI and MQM-P have played their positive role in progress of the country.”

“MQM-P and PTI have similar views on local and political issues,” he said while rubbishing aside any differences between the two parties.

He announced that his visit and meeting was basically a spade work for an important meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on December 5, where the PTI and coalition partners will sit together to decide future course of incumbent federal government aimed at fulfilling promises made with the masses.

Speaking on the occasion, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said urban areas of Sindh province required intensive care unit (ICU) support as Karachi and other urban parts had contributed more than their part in the national progress and would continue to do so.

He, however, said that immediate attention of federal authorities was needed for the city. “The demands MQM-P made for improvement in the situation of urban centres are implemented at snail’s pace,” he lamented and said since Karachi was country’s economic engine, the government should support it to boost economy.

He said they stood with democracy and the democratic government but these governments should also consider urban areas of Sindh as part of Pakistan and give due share and attention to them.  The MQM-P leader also assured that his party would continue supporting the incumbent government.

The foreign minister said that 18th Amendment had empowered provinces and now people of Sindh should ask the incumbent provincial authorities as to why no progress was made despite devolution of powers.

Qureshi said the question arises if the provinces had further devolved power to grass root level or not. “If required we will carry out a legislation to address this lacuna,” he said.