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RGST: Two ministers hold talks with MQM

KARACHI: Talks on the reformed general sales tax between a government team, led by federal Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, and MQM leaders ended inconclusively late on Wednesday night.

farooq-babar Pakistan NewsThe meeting at the Sindh Governor’s House lasted about seven and a half hours.

The government has so far failed to win MQM’s support on the issue, but there is a possibility that the talks may continue on Thursday.

According to sources, the MQM not only refused to budge from its declared position but also demanded support for its land reform bill in parliament. The party also tagged other demands, such as a cut in the government’s expenditure, the sources said.

Besides Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, a 15-member MQM delegation — almost the whole of its coordination committee — held the discussion with Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the finance minister, the sources said.

The situation was being described as a deadlock, but the prolonged meeting indicated that the two sides might agree to hold more talks.

Talking to journalists after the talks, the interior minister said both sides had shared some points and concerns which would be discussed with the leadership and experts. Mr Malik said the talks might resume after a couple of days.

Muttahida leader Farooq Sattar said the government had sought MQM’s support for the bill, but his party had submitted nine proposals, the most important being imposition of agriculture tax.

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