MQM nominates Shoaib Bukhari as acting minister
KARACAHI: Internal pressure has compelled the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to bring in Shoaib Bukhari as the acting minister of the Local Government, replacing Mohammad Hussain who is too a party member.
“Mohammad Hussain is going on a one-month leave and I will be acting minister for the Local Government in his absence,” said Mr Bukhari who denied that Mr Hussain had been relieved from his post.
But sources within the party said the top leadership was not happy with Mr Hussain’s performance. A notification of Mr Hussain’s leave and Mr Bukhari’s appointment as acting minister would be issued by next week, Mr Bukhari said.
He also dismissed reports of conflicts between the MQM-run Local Government ministry and the city government, which is under the Jamaat-e-Islami. “We respect their mandate and I think they should also respect ours,” he said. A source said: “The election results have brought an enormous pressure on the MQM to prove that it can serve the people.” A source within the party commented: “Development projects carried out by the Jamaat-led city government are visible, and this has compelled the MQM’s top leadership to review its choice and bring in Mr Bukhari as acting minister.”
“The current minister has failed to enforce his authority,” remarked a senior MQM leader. “Therefore, a strong person who can handle the situation efficiently needs to be brought to the post.”
The situation was so crucial for the MQM to call Mr Hussain to London where, according to circles close to the party, he requested to be relieved from the ministry. The MQM has also been considering the induction of a coordinator along with Home Minister Syed Sardar Ahmad, if not replacing him altogether.
The name of MA Jalil is circulating. So far the leadership is happy withAdil Siddiqui, the Transport Minister, because he has set up a labour help-line and initiated projects that could attract the public’s attention.
The differences between the MQM and the Jamaat-e-Islami have sharpened since the government came to power, with the MQM virtually ruling the province and the Jamaat controlling the city government.
The differences became prominent when the Local Government ministry issued transfers and postings orders to the city government which were then resisted by the city and district nazim, Naimatullah Khan, who was Karachi’s chief of the Jamaat, before assuming the current post.
A famous case was that of Arshad Siddiqui, the Director of Medical Services, who was transferred by Mr Hussain. But, disregarding the order, Mr Khan retained Mr Siddiqui on the post.
Although the MQM is bringing Mr Bukhari into the game, the Jamaat-e-Islami has also been preparing to handle any pressure, a source within the Jamaat said. “We will resist any undue demand and run the matters according to powers envisaged in the Local Government Ordinance,” a source said.
The tussle between the two parties has also become bloody this year when two MQM workers were killed on the night of a crucial bye-election on January 15. The MQM accused a Jamaat-e-Islami’s worker, Faizanullah, also a town nazim, currently is facing trial these days.
Last month a town nazim, Dr Pervez Mehmood, who is also a Jamaat worker, had held a press conference where he accused the MQM of attacking his house. He also appealed to the corps commander of Sindh to play a role and stop the Local Government ministry’s intervention in the Local Government’s business.
Some senior leaders of the two parties predict that the political atmosphere could heat up in the foreseeable future.