Prime Minister Imran Khan faced embarrassment in Karachi on Wednesday, March 9, after getting a cold response from his allies in Sindh. Khan travelled to Karachi to seek their support to thwart the no-confidence motion recently tabled against him by the opposition parties.
At the end of a hectic day, Khan was successful in mustering support of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), and partially of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA). Together, the two parties hold 10 seats in the Lower House.
In a major upset for the PM, Pir Sahib Pagara of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), who heads the GDA, was unable to attend the meeting. Also, Ayaz Latif Palijo of Qaumi Awami Tehreek refused to see him as he was busy with political activities in Thatta.
Sources claim that Pir Sahib could not meet Khan due to health issues. But the absence of Pir Sahib, the spiritual leader of the Hurs Jumaat, has surprised many. A credible source close to the PTI told The Friday Times (TFT) that one of the PTI MNAs from Sindh had requested Prime Minister to meet Pir Sahib during his visit to Karachi. “PM Khan agreed and tasked Governor Sindh Imran Ismail to convey the message to Pir Sahib. Instead of calling Pir Sahib himself, Ismail asked his advisor, Ali Ahmed Junejo, to inform the personal secretary of GDA’s chief about the PM’s decision to meet him”. The lack of proper protocol upset Pir Sahib.
Federal Minister Fehmida Mirza would perhaps be the only MNA from the GDA platform to defend Khan in the vote of no-confidence for now.
The GDA parliamentarian in Sindh, Barrister Hasnain Mirza, when contacted by TFT, disclosed that MPA Syed Mohammad Rashid Shah, son of Pir Sahib Pagara, was not in the meeting with the PM. He however declined to comment on the absence of Pir Sadruddin Shah, the younger brother of Pir Sahib. The party sources claimed that Shah was in Punjab to attend a family event. They also said that he has decided to stay away from politics after his Senate defeat.
It is expected that Pir Sahib might request the only PML-F MNA, Saira Bano, to vote against the PM because, “Pir Sahib is not happy with Imran Khan’s attitude toward his allies,” said another source.
Another GDA’s MNA from Sindh, Ghous Bux Mehar, is likely to decide his position in the next few days.
Here it may be recalled that although the PML-F could not win a single National Assembly seat, it won five provincial assembly seats in the 2018 general elections in Sindh — from Sanghar and Khairpur districts. Bano represents the party on a reserved seat for women.
Federal Minister Fehmida Mirza would perhaps be the only MNA from the GDA platform to defend Khan in the vote of no-confidence for now. Also, the top leadership of the PPP has decided not to contact Mirza for her vote.
Only a few GDA MPAs met Khan during his visit to Karachi on Wednesday. They are Barrister Hasnain Mirza, Arif Mustafa Jatoi, Moazzam Abbasi, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, Shaharyar Mehar, Nand Kumar and a few more.