MQM-P postpones conference after no-show by national parties

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) on Tuesday postponed a multi-party conference (MPC) scheduled for the same day after major parties turned down invitations at the eleventh hour.

Earlier this week, MQM-P had decided to hold the conference to discuss “conspiracies against the solidarity of Pakistan, elimination of corruption and empowerment of local governments”.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami, Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, All Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan Peoples Party had been invited to attend.

However, on Tuesday morning, almost all of these parties stated that they would not be attending the MPC.

Addressing a press conference, MQM-P supremo Farooq Sattar regretted the "major, important parties' decision" to "boycott" the conference.

"Our MPC has turned into a press conference," Sattar said as he began addressing the media.

"We had called the conference today to discuss matters of national importance. We made an effort to contact all parties and sent representatives to extend invitations," he recalled.

Sattar claimed that all parties had confirmed that they would attend the MPC on Monday night, but on Tuesday, "one by one", they "suddenly" announced through the media that they would not be attending.

He said that the MQM-P was caught unawares.

Earlier in the week, MQM-P had also made party-level contact with its nemeses — Pak Sarzameen Party and the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, better known as the MQM-Haqiqi ─ and invited leaders of the two breakaway factions to the event MPC.

During his press conference, Sattar took time to thank the PSP and MQM-H, who he said were still ready to attend. Sattar also said a delegation of the ruling PML-N had been heading to the event before the MQM-P decided to postpone it.

"Last year we were on the footpath outside Karachi Press Club. On August 22, 2016 we demonstrated our solidarity with Pakistan — its security, Constitution and state — and we made an announcement to this effect on August 23, 2016," Sattar said

"In order to reincarnate the spirit of August 23, we set aside political differences and sent our delegation to the offices of PSP," he added. "We also sent a delegation to the house and offices of [MQM-H chief] Afaq Ahmed."

"Did the other political parites not appreciate our initiative? They could have attended the conference today and made it a success," Sattar said.

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