ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will extend an olive branch to his government’s disgruntled coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, during a meeting with its leaders at the party’s Nine Zero headquarters in Karachi on Friday.
Mr Gilani’s decision to go to the MQM headquarters was confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and MQM leaders on Thursday.
It is believed that the prime minister will invite the annoyed MQM leaders to rejoin the coalition and withdraw the resignation they had sent to President Asif Ali Zardari in protest against the New Year increase in petroleum prices which the government withdrew on Thursday.
The PPP hopes that after the main reservation of the MQM, the hike in petroleum prices, has been addressed the MQM will review its decision and rejoin the coalition.
“If Prime Minister Gilani invites us, the decision to rejoin the government or otherwise will be taken by the party’s Rabita Committee,” Muttahidda’s Punjab leader Zahid Mehmood said.
Before Mr Gilani’s arrival in Karachi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik called on the governor and discussed arrangements for the prime minister’s meeting with MQM leaders.
PPP sources said the MQM had been assured that the government was ready to meet all its demands and the prime minister would reiterate the assurance during Friday’s meeting.
President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said he was confident the MQM would rejoin the government.
“We will overcome some misunderstanding between PPP and MQM soon,” the spokesman said.
President Zardari, the interior minister and some other PPP leaders in Karachi are engaged in a damage-control exercise.
Political analysts say that PPP will face serious problem if MQM also quits the coalition government in Sindh.
There have been media reports that MQM wanted removal of Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza who had accused it of extortion and target killings.
The president, during a meeting with an MQM delegation last week, had said that the PPP believed in reconciliation and respected all coalition partners and these principles would guide the party and the government in addressing the issues of concern.
Shamim-ur-Rahman adds from Karachi: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that challenges being faced by the country need to be resolved through collective wisdom which is the basic objective of the government’s reconciliation policy.
During a meeting with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah at the Governor’s House on Thursday night, the prime minister said the unity demonstrated by all political parties in the National Assembly on Thursday over the issue of petroleum prices was manifestation of the political leadership’s concern for the welfare and betterment of the people of the country. The same spirit, he added, needed to be demonstrated by all provinces.