MQM denies
no talks held on
forming govt with
PML-N in Lahore

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LAHORE: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has denied that specifically no issue of formation of the future government discussed during the talks in Lahore.

A day after the Feb 8 general elections, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had hinted at the formation of a national unity government, along the lines of the Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance, before tasking his brother — former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif — with reaching out to other parties to begin consultations on government-formation.

Earlier today, an MQM-P delegation led by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui arrived at Nawaz’s Jati Umra residence in Lahore where it was welcomed by the PML-N supremo.

MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui (L) meets PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Sunday.
MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui (L) meets PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Sunday.

The meeting was attended by Siddiqui, Dr Farooq Sattar, Kamran Tessori and Mustafa Kamal. From the PML-N, the Sharif brothers, Ishaq Dar, Maryam Nawaz, Rana Sanaullah, Ayaz Sadiq and Khawaja Saad Rafique were in attendance.

After the meeting, the PML-N released a statement saying both sides had reached a “principle agreement” on working together. “We will work together in the interest of the country and public,” the PML-N statement said, adding that “basic points” had been agreed upon by the two parties.

The statement said that the two parties held an hour-long meeting during which the leaders discussed the overall political situation and also party-level contacts established so far.

Speaking to the media shortly after, the MQM-P convener said that the meeting with the PML-N did not include any discussions on the formation of the next government. Siddiqui said the elections had created a challenging situation and all parties must play their role in steering the country out of crisis.

“The stability of democracy is more important than anything else,” he said. He insisted that no discussion had taken place regarding the formation of the government.

Siddiqui said it was also not yet confirmed whether or not the MQM-P would get any share in the next government.

‘Goodwill visit’ to PML-N

Talking to reporters in Lahore after the meeting, PML-N leader Azam Nazeer Tarar described the visit as a “goodwill visit”. He also mentioned plans for another round of talks with the MQM-P in a day or two. Tarar also said that it was common knowledge that no single political party possessed the mandate to form a government independently, underscoring the necessity of forming a “coalition government”.

“We aim to establish a strong alliance at the Centre, ensuring representation from all provinces to strengthen the Federation and Pakistan,” the PML-N leader told reporters. Tarar also went on to say that the party had conducted extensive consultations and formed a legal team to address allegations of rigging in the Feb 8 polls.

He said that Rafique’s electoral defeat did not result in the party playing the victim card and approaching the courts. Criticising the PTI, Tarar accused it of habitually fabricating falsehoods to create an illusion of truth.