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Karachi does not belong to MQM, says Asad Umar

The News/Files

KARACHI: Karachi did not “belong” to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) but to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which bagged more votes from the port city in the elections two years ago, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar said Friday.

Speaking to the media, the federal minister said: “We [the PTI] are working for the people of Karachi, with the MQM-P as a partner.”

“Both the PTI and the MQM-P are striving for development projects in Karachi and the stark reality is that what the mega-city deserves is not being given to it,” he said.

Umar had earlier claimed that progress had been made in talks after an earlier meeting with the MQM-P’s leaders. The ruling PTI is making continuous efforts to persuade the disgruntled Karachi-based party to return to the federal cabinet — the latter had announced in January to quit over ‘unfulfilled promises’.

The minister, whose prior portfolio was the finance ministry, also noted that he had met officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during his visit to Karachi. They “emphasised on entirely utilising the federal development budget”, he said.

Responding to a question on the coronavirus fear, Umar said it was too early to make a comment on its impact on the pace of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with the country’s consul general in Lahore, Long Dingbin, telling a day prior that the two friendly nations were tackling the epidemic.

Dingbin’s comments were similar to those made by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood, in a Feb 4 interview with The News.

Dawood had said he saw no impact on the trade with China under the Free Trade Agreement Phase-II (FTA-II). He had added that new interaction on business-to-business level for fresh trade with Chinese entrepreneurs may be affected but would also be short-lived as Chinese were workaholic people and would soon be able to overcome the coronavirus situation.

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