KARACHI - Estranged coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Friday announced to rejoin the treasury benches, however it refused to join the Federal Cabinet for the time being. This announcement was made at a joint Press briefing held shortly after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani visited Nine Zero, the MQM headquarter, on Friday afternoon. The Prime Minister discussed various issues raised by his coalition partner and assured them that all grievances of the urban-based party would be fully addressed. Raza Haroon, a member of MQM Coordination Committee, shared the mike with the Prime Minister on behalf of his party. Soon after having about one hour meeting with the members of MQM Coordination Committee, both at London and Karachi, the Prime Minister spoke at length about the relations between the two coalition partners and asked them to come back to government benches in the larger national interest and in the interest of democracy. Immaculately dressed in a suit and a pink tie, the Prime Minister during his historical visit to Nine Zero was accompanied by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Raza Haroon, a member of Coordination Committee, Babar Ghauri and others received the Prime Minister, besides representing their party in the meeting. A red carpet was rolled out to welcome Gilani who is the first sitting Prime Minister to visit the MQM headquarter. Disciplined MQM party workers showered rose petals and raised slogans in favour of their leader Altaf Hussain while welcoming Gilani. The Prime Minister said that before coming to Nine Zero, he met President Asif Ali Zardari and informed him about his visit to the MQM headquarter. During Premier Gilanis presence the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain talked to the Prime Minister on telephone from London. He welcomed him at the party headquarter and discussed national issues and issues that had risen between the two coalition partners recently. Speaking confidently and in a vibrant voice, the Prime Minister recalled issues like price hike, energy crisis, unemployment, etc., facing the country, which needed cooperation between the coalition partners and other progressive forces of the country to address them. He said the MQM had raised the issue of hike in POL prices and had demanded that those should be taken back in the interest of people. He had already taken a decision on the issue while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly where he had announced reverting back of POL price to the pre-December 31, 2010 level. He said the MQM had also opposed the proposed RGST which had already been deferred. The PM said the Government had already met one of the major demands of the MQM and so he wanted the party to comeback to the government side. He said the country was passing through critical and challenging times. The Government could not alone face these challenges and needed support from all political and progressive forces. He said that Karachi was financial hub of the country and whenever some misunderstanding rose between the PPP and MQM, it affected the trade and industry in the city. The stock market was impacted negatively and business activities disturbed badly, creating confusion among the business community, he said. It was imperative, he said, that all political forces work in cohesion for the betterment of the country and solve the issues of the people. The Prime Minister said he had already directed Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah that he should take into confidence MQM while taking decisions on issues related to the province. Under applause from a selected and disciplined gathering that had assembled to welcome the Prime Minister, PM Gilani declared that tabling of Commissionerate Bill in Sindh Assembly had been put off and would be taken up only after consensus with MQM. Speaking after the Prime Minister, Raza Haroon reading from a written text announced that MQM in the larger national interest had decided to sit on the treasury benches and not to join the Federal Cabinet. Two MQM Federal Minister Dr. Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri left the Federal Cabinet recently after MQM decided to sit on the opposition benches. Earlier, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Quaid Altaf Hussain underlined the need of unity among the moderate parties for the sake of the country, saying that the extremist forces might control the country if the conflicts among the moderate forces remained unsolved. He expressed these views while having a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at Nine Zero. Altaf applauded Federal Minister Rehman Malik and Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad for playing an active role in resolving the differences between MQM and PPP. He said that Pakistan was passing through a critical situation and it was the need of the hour that patriotic political parties played their effective role in the elimination of extremism from the country. Altaf said that MQM wanted democratic government to play its due role to resolve the problems of the masses. The continuation of democratic process in the country was primary aim of the party, he added. He vowed that MQM would continue its efforts to raise its voice for the solution of masses basic problems, saying that the differences of the MQM with the government were the basic issues related to the people. He urged the political moderate forces to brush aside their conflicts in the greater interests of the nation. He hoped that Prime Minister Gilani and his team would concentrate on the issues of common man and take the practical steps to address these problems. On the occasion, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani endorsed the MQM chief Altaf Hussains views and said that it was the time that all the political forces should show their solidarity for the continuation of the present democratic system for the sake of the country. He said that he wanted to clarify his party leaders that the coalition of moderate and liberal forces was the need of the hour. He assured the MQM chief that the Government would take MQM into confidence while making decisions on various issues. The Prime Minister said that he (Altaf Hussain) always talked about national issues that directly affected general public. Whether it is price hike, loadshedding, sugar crisis, RGST, war on terrorism, unemployment and law and order situation, Altaf can feel the pulse of the nation on important national issues, he added. He told the MQM chief that soon he would meet him in London. Agencies add: Premier Gilani also said the government would defer the tax reform. We have deferred (the Reformed General Sales Tax). We will not go forward until consensus is evolved, he said. The return of the 25 MQM members to the government benches restores the PPP-led governments majority in the parliament at 183 seats out of 342. He vowed to take MQM and other coalition partners on board on all issues.