MQM, PTI leaders reconcile for peaceful by-polls in Karachi

KARACHI: Leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Wednesday held negotiations in Governor House and vowed to forge peace and political harmony in the city.

Leaders of both the parties, who were invited by Governor Sindh Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan at the Governor House, deplored yesterday’s standoff between party supporters in Jinnah Ground.

The Governor played his role as mediator on directions of MQM chief Altaf Hussain who earlier today offered PTI to hold its rally at Jinnah Ground in connection with by-elections on NA-246.

The talks were joined by MQM’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Kanwar Naveed Jamil, and PTI’s Imran Ismail, Dr. Arif Alvi along with other party leaders.

“Altaf Hussain took notice of yesterday’s unpleasant situation and directed me to play role and defuse tension. I request both parties to maintain harmony and strictly follow code of conduct during by-elections,” the governor said while speaking to media persons after meeting PTI and MQM leaders.

“In his statement, MQM leader Altaf Hussain has welcomed PTI for its rally it wishes to hold anywhere in the city. He has also directed party workers to refrain from confrontation. This is a strong message from him,” Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan said.

PTI’s Imran Ismail, who is party’s candidate from NA-246, thanked the governor and Altaf Hussain for their efforts to deescalate political tension in Karachi.

“There shouldn’t be any importance of a single seat for PTI or MQM but the thing is that none should take it as matter of ego. We are peaceful people and want this election to be held in a peaceful, free and fair manner…. We are striving to break up atmosphere of fear prevailing in Karachi,” Ismail told reporters.

Earlier today, Altaf Hussain offered olive branch to opponents of PTI, saying that he would have no objection if Imran Khan held a peaceful public gathering in Karachi. DNA

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