Coalition partners throw weight behind govt prior to Senate polls

All major coalition partners on Monday reaffirmed their loyalty to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government in the forthcoming Senate elections.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Syed Aminul Haque said that all coalition partners are on the same page, adding that they will support the ruling party in the elections for the upper house of parliament scheduled for March 3.

Haque was flanked by Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leader Fehmida Mirza, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Tariq Bashir Cheema and other at the presser.

"MQM-P is an ally of PTI and we will continue to support it," Haque said and added that the party never talked about governorship or any ministry with the ruling party but about the issues people of Sindh were facing.

"PPP destroyed Sindh and Karachi. In 13 years [of PPP rule], not even 13 buses were brought on the roads of Karachi," he added.

Also read: PTI MPAs refuse to vote for party candidates in Senate polls

Explaining MQM-P’s decision to extend support to the federal government, Haque said that it was taken after agreeing on a few points.

"Maintain democratic values, supremacy of parliament and zero tolerance on corruption… based on these three points of consensus, MQM-Pakistan decided to support the federal government," Haque said.

He said the party has always urged the ruling party to focus more on the development of the province as well as protecting the rights of Karachi.

"We believe that the incumbent government in Sindh has deprived urban areas of its due rights. MQM-P wants to send a clear message to the provincial government that we will never compromise on the development package."

He claimed that the PPP government is harassing, coercing and tempting MQM-P workers but assured that his party's MPAs will support the coalition government. "I assure Hafeez Shaikh of our support. We hope that the coalition emerges victorious [in the Senate polls]," he added.

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Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and GDA leader Fehmida Mirza also assured her party's support to the ruling party.

She said that the opposition talked foul of the ordinance [on Senate elections], adding that since the legislations are not being made in the National Assembly, the ordinances must come from the presidency.

Fehmida said that her party believes in proportionate representation whether it is Sindh, Balochistan and K-P assemblies or Senate. "A government can only work with the continuity of policies," she further said.

Read more: Senate elections to be held through secret ballot under Article 226: SC

Hafeez Sheikh, speaking on the occasion, expressed optimism to win the Senate polls with the support of coalition partners. "I have won thrice in Senate. I believe that I will win on March 3 [too]," he added.

He said that all parties in the ruling alliance including MQM-P, PML-Q and GDA are trying to take Pakistan in the right direction.

"The people of Pakistan want the leadership to be honest, credible, and subservient to the citizens. Our intentions are good and we hope that we will rise up to the expectations of the people," he added.

Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, while speaking to reporters in Islamabad earlier in the day, had said that all the allied parties had assured their complete support to the PTIs candidate, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

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"Abdul Hafeez Shaikh would emerge victorious with a thumping majority on March 3," he predicted.

The minister thanked BAP, GDA, PML-Q, and MQM-P members for extending their full support to the PTI candidate.

He said all the political parties in Punjab made a good decision about the Senate elections and expressed the hope that same would be replicated in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan.

Replying to a question, Rashid said the use of money had now lost its utility in the Senate elections.

To a query, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Khalid Magsi said their nominated candidates would win the elections on March 3.

PML-Q leader Tariq Cheema, to a question, said he was representing Chaudhry Sahib [Shujaat Hussain] here.

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)