LAHORE - A senior MQM leader indicated on Tuesday that there was no possibility of his party rejoining the PPP government in Sindh, saying the contacts being made by former interior minister Rehman Malik to iron out differences between the erstwhile coalition partners would yield no results.

During an interview with The Nation, MQM central coordination committee member Mohammad Wasay Jalil said that in the past his party had been rejoining the Sindh government on firm assurances given by the PPP leadership that their grievances would be redressed. But this time around, he said, the situation was totally different and the MQM was determined to play the role of an opposition party.

Responding to a question about the possibility of fresh elections, he said the political situation would start changing after Ashura (10th of Muharram). “Some developments would be seen on the political scene after the Ashura”, the MQM leader said without further elaborating on what was likely to happen.

Asked about Bilawal’s blistering attacks on the MQM leadership, Mr Wasay Jalil said the young PPP leader direly needed political grooming. He said Bilawal had been made to believe by his advisers and party colleagues that his criticism of the MQM would add to his popularity. But, in fact, he said, the uncalled for remarks had exposed the PPP chairman’s ‘political immaturity’.

The MQM leader lashed out at the PPP government for its failure to solve people’s problems despite the fact that it remained in power for more than four decades at the centre and in Sindh. Even Larkana and Khairpur were in the worst condition, he said.

“Except for corruption, the PPP is doing nothing”, alleged the MQM leader whose party was a coalition partner in Sindh until a few days ago.

Reiterating the MQM’s call for carving out some 20 administrative units, or provinces, in Pakistan, Wasay Jalil claimed that such a step would lead to prosperity in the country.

“Nobody can resist the creation of new provinces. Now, new provinces would be carved out of Punjab, Sindh, KP and Balochistan. Even FATA will get the status of a province.”

He made it clear that his party did “not” want creation of new provinces on ethnic or linguistic basis. However, he said the MQM adherents would not compromise their “Mohajir” identity because their elders had migrated to Pakistan from India for the sake of an Islamic state. Others who also quit India for the same reason were also “Mohajirs”, no matter which part of Pakistan they were settled, he explained.

In response to a question, the MQM leader said the sit-ins staged by the PTI and the PAT had “dented” the government. But he hastened to add that reduction in the prices of petroleum products could not be attributed to the pressure generated by the two protesting parties.

About the local elections, he said the MQM was always ready to contest them. But, he said, it was regrettable that courts had to direct the government to hold the LB polls, which were the constitutional requirement.

Asked why Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad doesn’t quit his office on the basis of the same complaints which forced the party to part ways with various governments in Sindh, Wasay Jalil said the governor was a representative of the Centre and it won’t make any difference whether he was in the government or out of it. However, he said, in case the MQM took any decision about him, Dr Sahib would follow it. He said being a representative of the Centre, Dr Ishrat had nothing to do with the Sindh government.

Answering a question, Wasay Jalil said what Dr Tahirul Qadri was saying these days was very close to the agenda the MQM had been following for the past 36 years. “The PAT is following us.”

About Altaf Hussain’s call for the army to play its role to solve the country’s problems, he said whatever the MQM chief said was the party policy.

Replying to another question, he said his party would have no objection if any MQM worker involved in any criminal activity was arrested or sentenced by a court.

To a query about the Sindh chief minister’s version that the MQM people were involved in various criminal activities in Karachi, Mr Wasay Jalil said it was a baseless assertion. He said if politically motivated cases were used as a basis to implicate the MQM, then the Sindh chief minister would also be regarded as a “target killer” because of the 23 cases registered against him. Likewise, he argued, the PPP would also be regarded as a terrorist organisation because its adherents had hijacked a PIA plane in 1981.  

“There should be no room for victimisation in politics”, said the MQM leader.

“Nothing”, replied the MQM leader when asked about the likely impact on the future elections in Sindh of the newfound love between the PPP and the Jamaat-i-Islami. In his assessment, this time the PPP would face a tough time even in rural Sindh, which is regarded as its stronghold.

As for the Jamaat-e-Islami, he said it had failed to play any role in the past and has no future.