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Karachi’s deputy mayor quits MQM-P, joins PSP

Karachi’s deputy mayor quits MQM-P, joins PSP

KARACHI: In a major blow to the Dr Farooq Sattar-led Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Karachi’s Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra quit his party and joined the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) on Sunday.

Mr Vohra, who is being treated by the Federal Investigation Agency as a suspect in a money laundering investigation against MQM founder Altaf Hussain and others, claimed at a press conference held at the PSP headquarters that his switching sides had nothing to do with either the money laundering case or some pressure.

The news of his joining the PSP was doing rounds for the past two weeks. Still, his announcement shocked the MQM-P leadership, which chose to make no negative comments against him.

Only last week, Dr Sattar warned the authorities that his federal and provincial lawmakers would resign if one more legislator switched sides. However, on Sunday he faced the media, but parried all questions about Mr Vohra and any en bloc resign plans.

Aminul Haq says Vohra’s problems multiplied after he was charged with money laundering

At the press conference, Mr Vohra said that he did not want to criticise his former party but he believed that the MQM-P had no vision and it failed to fulfil its promises it had made with the people of Karachi.

He said that even under the given resources, the party could have served the people of Karachi far better during the past one year, but its leadership did nothing.

He said that he could not face the people of Karachi who had voted for him.

Mr Vohra, who is a PhD and a well-known industrialist, was full of praise for former Karachi mayor and PSP chairman Mustafa Kamal.

He said Mr Kamal worked for Karachi and the incumbents should have followed him and fulfil their responsibilities. “I don’t want to criticise anyone, but if I can’t follow through on my responsibilities then it’s better to leave the seat.”

However, he did not give a clear reply when asked whether he would leave the post of deputy mayor. “We will adopt whatever the legal course is.”

He said that many MQM-P personalities were willing to quit the party because of differences and very soon they might join the PSP.

When asked about the FIA probe into the money laundering case and whether he changed his loyalty because of it, he said that he was ready to face any kind of investigations and would face the case. “I will not leave the country to go abroad,” he said, insisting that his decision to leave the MQM-P was not motivated by any pressure.

Speaking on the occasion, PSP president Anis Kaimkhani mocked MQM-P chief Dr Sattar’s last week threat that if any of his members switched sides, his lawmakers would resign from parliament.

He asked Dr Sattar to keep his words and resign from parliament. “We will take part in all by-elections if the MQM-Pakistan resigned,” he added.

In 2015, MQM founder Altaf Hussain nominated Mr Vohra for the office of Karachi’s deputy mayor. He was a former chairman of Site Association. He also remained a member of the Sindh Assembly.

Terming Mr Vohra a gentleman, MQM-P leader Aminul Haq told Dawn that his problems had increased after an FIR pertaining to money laundering was lodged against him and party MNA Khawja Sohail Mansoor.

“MQM-Pakistan was not in a position to solve his problems,” he said. “We hope for the early solution of all his problems.”

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2017

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