ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government has allowed the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan to re-open some of its sealed offices in Sindh to provide a political space for the party ahead of the upcoming general election.

“All sealed political units of the MQM-P have not been reopened but some of them in Hyderabad and Karachi areas have been unsealed,” MQM MNA Ali Raza Abidi told The Nation.

Around 150 unit offices of the MQM-P had been sealed and dozens were razed by law enforcement agencies after MQM founder Altaf Hussain made a controversial speech on August 22, 2016.

The MQM-P, after disassociating itself from Hussain, had time and again requested the PML-N government to give it a political space by reopening its sealed offices in different areas especially in Sindh.

The federal government, citing the recommendations of the security apparatus engaged in restoring normality in Karachi, had earlier refused to reopen political units of the MQM-P.

The MQM-P, during the last year, made all-out efforts to appease the federal government by supporting it in and outside the parliament. The Sindh-based party lawmakers were not seen criticizing the policies of the central government.

It was also observed that all MQM-P members, despite being in opposition benches, voted for Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi in the election for the prime minister’s slot with the explicit hope of securing a development package for Karachi, and more importantly, reopening of its sealed offices.

Raza Abidi said that they would now start political activities as some political space has been provided to them. “We (MQM-P) have many new challenges in the upcoming general election as we would contest against the Pakistan People’s Party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Pakistan Sarzameen Party (PSP),” said the MQM-P lawmaker.

The MQM-P has lost eight MPs including one MNA who have changed loyalties and joined the PSP.

The MQM-P had threatened the deserted party members to formally move an application to the secretariats of the Sindh Assembly and National Assembly seeking to de-seat them but they let go of the warning and did not rejoin the MQM-P.

These MPs include Irtaza Khalil, Muhammad Dilawar, Nadeem Rizvi, Sheikh Abdullah, Bilqees Mukhtar, Mahmood Abdur Razzaque, Sagheer Ahmed and Iftikhar Ahmed, who were elected to the Sindh Assembly on MQM tickets.

Political experts believe the MQM-P will not be able to woo its disgruntled members to rejoin party as most of them have decided to contest against the MQM-P from PSP platform.