ISLAMABAD -  In a bid to fortify its position in the parliament, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has engaged Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) in multi-faceted dialogue with primary focus on the development package for the port city of Karachi.

According to the media release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting between the two sides remained primarily focused on the development package announced by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for refurbishment of infrastructure of mega cities of Karachi and Hyderabad.

The talks between the two-sides also extended to future political alliance mainly to confront the PPP in Sindh and to contain the PTI emerging as another powerful player in the politics of the provincial capital.

The MQM-P delegation led by Dr Farooq Sattar comprises Amir Khan, Kanwar Naveed, Waseem Akhtar and Kamran Tesoori, while the government side led by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi included Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair, Senator Saleem Zia and PML-N Karachi Division President Munawar Raza.

Sources in the parliament informed The Nation that the ruling PML-N wanted to engage the MQM-P as partner in government or at least gain its support on vital legislative business it was intending to bring in the Parliament in the coming days and months.

These sources said that by engaging MQM-P in a loose alliance, even if they stayed short of joining the government, the ruling PML-N would have leverage over the dissidents within the party.

Sources said that the exercise of engaging MQM-P in dialogue and announcing development package for the projects listed by the MQM-P leadership, the government was actually preparing ground for future political alliance with the Karachi-based party to have some role in the politics of the province.

Previously, the PML-N had engaged the nationalist parties of the province and formed an electoral alliance with them in the last general elections but after the elections, the PML-N had failed to carry these parties along and severed relations with them.

The fresh engagement with the MQM-P would be viewed as an effort to form new political alliance in the province, a political analyst commented.

Meanwhile, according to the press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Abbasi said that Karachi was the economic hub of Pakistan and it was a collective target to make the city of lights the centre of peace and prosperity.

The prime minister said that the federal government had approved a record development package for Karachi and all promises, in that connection, made by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif would be fulfilled.

The meeting reviewed the Prime Minister’s Development Package for Karachi and Hyderabad, and decided that release of funds for the gigantic project would be ensured in the current year.

It was also decided that work on the project would be initiated immediately.

It was decided that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would lay the foundation stone of Hyderabad University in November, 2017.

The MQM delegation complained about non-cooperation of the Sindh government regarding the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), which was not only affecting performance of the civic body but also mitigating problems of the dwellers of the city.

The prime minister said that the government respected all elected democratic institutions and the local bodies had a vital role in the uplift of the country.

He said that the provincial government’s attention would be drawn in this connection as people’s participation was a must for continuity of democracy.

The meeting agreed to maintain peace in Karachi at all costs.

It was unanimous that all democratic forces should shun differences and play their role for strengthening of democracy.

It said that the supremacy of Constitution and the continuity of democratic process were essential for progress, prosperity and stability of Pakistan.

It said that the solution to all the problems was linked with the supremacy of Constitution, law and the parliament.

The prime minister directed the interior minister to review complaints of the MQM-Pakistan regarding trials and to ensure dispensation of justice.