KARACHI – The leaders of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) on Wednesday announced a merger between the two political forces and said that they will contest the 2018 general elections under “one name, one symbol and one party platform,” they were addressing the joint press conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC).

“The modalities of this alliance will be decided in the days to come,” said MQM chief Dr Farooq Sattar while addressing the much-awaited joint press conference at Karachi Press Club.

“Today is a momentous occasion,” MQM chief Farooq Sattar said.

“Pakistan, the province of Sindh and Karachi have been besieged in many crises. In particular, the parties active in Karachi and Sindh have felt that we not only have to address problems concerning Karachi and Sindh, but also those that concern the wider country,” the MQM chief said.

“We should ensure that Karachi never faces the kind of political violence it witnessed in the past.

“We seek a good working relationship and a political alliance with each other, and this is what we wanted to talk to you all about.

“PSP and MQM had been deliberating these points in the recent past. We need good statesmanship at this juncture. To this end, we need a positive and combined effort,” Sattar said.

The MQM chief urged that a united Karachi was necessary for Pakistan.

We will present the narrative of our aims and purposes after meeting each other and deciding on key points, he said.

The press conference faced continued delays as reporters and party workers have filled the Karachi Press Club beyond capacity.

“Farooq Sattar Bhai, all the people who are here with him — I greet and welcome you all here,” said the PSP chief, Mustafa Kamal.

“On behalf of the Pak Sarzameen Party, I endorse Farooq Sattar Bhai’s position when he says that we want to continue our struggle under one symbol and one party,” Kamal said.

“The gist of Farooq Bhai’s speech is that we need one manifesto, one symbol and one party to continue our struggle for the people of Pakistan,” he asserted.

The PSP chief said that if a Muhajir is not ready to embrace others as a leader, he will encourage more hatred against the Muhajir community. This has been the reason why Karachi has been so wracked by violence.

“It is for the sake of Pakistan; for the sake of the Muhajir community that I do not want my politics to be solely about Muhajirs. There should be no areas in the city that are inaccessible to members of one ethnic group or the other.

“I appreciate that Farooq Bhai took such a major step. That he set his ego aside. We took these decisions not because of how much we would individually gain or lose, but how much our people would gain or lose,” maintained Mustafa Kamal.

Without naming the MQM founder, Kamal said that one man was pushing the Muhajirs into the abyss.

“Drunk out of his senses, he would demand the splitting of a province. The Muhajir community was the one suffering, they would be the one who would face the embarrassment of his speeches.”

“Today, we are entering this historic agreement. I thank the workers of both parties for enabling this,” Kamal said, adding that we have left our personal liking and disliking far behind; “now, we are focused on the people of this city”.

At the end of his address, Kamal said: “If I have ever offended or hurt any member of the MQM with anything I said in the past, I apologise profusely for it.”

“I am not backing down from what I stand for — we came to bring down Altaf Hussain and destroy his toxic legacy. But I apologise if I have offended Farooq Bhai or those close to him with anything I have said.”

As Sattar and Kamal were announcing their joint political ambitions, MQM leader and lawmaker Ali Raza Abidi announced to part ways from the party and the decision to resign from his National Assembly seat.