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PM urged to directly release funds to Karachi, Hyderabad LGs

KARACHI: A delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday and demanded that Islamabad provide funds directly to the local governments of Karachi and Hyderabad so that they could carry out emergency basic infrastructure works in the two urban centres of Sindh.

A brief statement issued by the PM Office on Friday said the meeting was held in Islamabad at the prime minister’s chamber in the Parliament House.

The MQM-P side was led by its convener and federal minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui while the prime minister was assisted by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and the PM’s special assistants Naeemul Haq and Nadeem Afzal Chann.

MQM-P spokesman Aminul Haq, an MNA who also attended Friday’s meeting, told Dawn that PM’s point man Jahangir Khan Tareen — who had played a pivotal role in forging a coalition with the MQM-P — was also present in the meeting.

While the official statement said nothing about the matters discussed in the meeting, Mr Haq said the prime minister assured the MQM-P of his full cooperation in directly releasing special funds to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) — both controlled by the mayors of the MQM-P.

MQM-P delegation also discusses with Imran issues of university, missing persons

“We demanded the prime minister release [development] funds directly to the KMC and HMC,” he said, adding the MQM-P had already sought Rs25bn for Karachi and Rs5bn for Hyderabad for improving the ruined civic infrastructure in the two cities.

He said the MQM-P delegation urged the prime minister to release the first instalment of funds for Karachi and Hyderabad at the earliest.

However, Mr Haq evaded a question as to how the federal government would bypass the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government to release funds to the Karachi and Hyderabad local governments directly.

He said the MQM-P also demanded early completion of the K-IV water supply project. He said the prime minister assured them that the federal government would soon release its share in the funding for the project and ensure its timely completion.

Mr Haq said the prime minister was also requested to direct the authorities concerned to make Hyderabad University functional as soon as possible.

When asked whether the MQM-P, which got two federal ministries, had raised the issue of a third ministry, he said: “This issue did not come under discussion.”

Mr Haq said the MQM-P representatives also raised the issue of missing workers of their party and urged the prime minister to play his role, as promised earlier, in tracing their whereabouts and releasing them.

He said the prime minister agreed in principle that all missing persons needed to be recovered as soon as possible.

He said the defence minister would coordinate with theMQM-P in sorting out a mechanism to trace and recover the missing persons.

Besides Dr Siddiqui and Mr Haq, MNAs Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan, Usama Qadri, Kishwar Zehra and Sabir Hussain Qaimkhani attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also met MNAs Mohammad Afzal Khan Dhandla, Asim Nazir, Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar and Tahir Iqbal separately in his chamber at the Parliament House on Friday.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Naeemul Haq was present in the meetings.

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