* Decides to sit on opposition benches in National Assembly and Senate

* Haider Abbas says decision triggered by ‘petrol bomb’ dropped by govt on New Year’s Eve

* Govt doing nothing to improve economy

* Doors for negotiation, reconciliation always open

* MQM to support positive steps of govt from opposition benches




The Muttahida Quami Movement Coordination Committee on Sunday threw the government off balance by announcing its decision to sit on the opposition benches in the Senate and the National Assembly. MQM chief Altaf Hussain ratified the decision of the Coordination Committee. In a joint meeting of the committee, simultaneously held in London and Karachi, the overall political and economic situation in the country came under detailed discussion.

MQM MNA Haider Abbas Rizvi, briefing the media at the MQM Headquarter in Nine-Zero, said the meeting condemned the increase in prices of petroleum products and noted with concern that the poor and middle class were already facing misery and hardships. “The fresh increment in the prices of POL products at the onset of the New Year is not only unjust, but is tantamount to cruelty. With the increase in POL prices, transport fares and prices of other essential commodities are on the rise. On the one hand, the government is imposing indirect taxes on the people and on the other hand mini-budgets are being introduced in the shape of increase in prices on almost a daily basis,” the meeting observed.

The MNA said that the main catalyst for the party’s decision to leave the coalition government was the “petrol bomb” that the government had thrown on the public, however, he added that the doors for reconciliation and negotiations were always open.

The meeting said that while an increase in oil prices in the international market was being cited as a reason for increasing POL prices, no effort was being made to improve the economic condition of the country by bringing agricultural income of feudal lords under the tax net.

“The MQM’s representatives feel themselves accountable before the public, as they lived in their midst. Pressure is mounting on the elected representatives because of the increase in POL prices,” the meeting said. “Nonetheless, we will continue to support the positive steps of the government,” it added.