MQM has a history of riding the winning horse and jumping off the sinking boat. Khalid Maqbool resigned because MQM wanted a third ministry–maritime affairs, power or railways. They never accepted Farough Naseem as their own and claimed he was not their minister. On the other hand, Farough multiple times claimed his loyalties with Prime Minister Imran Khan, unfastening himself from MQM. He claimed the same when he came to my office during the governorship. He often addressed Imran Khan as his elder brother, but I was always sceptical about it and considered it a political posturing. It was just rhetoric, and I never had good vibes from it. Regarding appointments of lawyers in different institutions, I requested the PM to ask Farough to accommodate PTI lawyers, to which the PM called us for a joint meeting at his office at 2 pm. While waiting in the lounge for the meeting, Farough asked about the agenda. I told him the subject, which made him upset. He said the PM’s involvement was not required in this matter, and we could have settled it ourselves. He claimed that he considered me his younger brother. He emotionally reasserted his commitment and brotherly love for PM. The meeting with PM started after five minutes. He greeted me in a deep voice as we entered the PM chamber. “Aao Imran,” the PM said. We shook hands and sat across the table. After a few formal exchanges, I came to the point and started discussing the agenda regarding ILF lawyers. The PM was interested and attentive. After listening to us, he addressed Farough and said, “I don’t expect you to do something which is not on merit, but you should devise a mechanism to bring in the deserving lawyers instead.” It was not a shock, but rather obvious, as I knew him as “Merit Khan” from Shaukat Khanum days. On the other hand, the meeting outcome was quite contrary to the discussion we had in the waiting lounge. The next day, I gave him a list of lawyers. Farough assured me it would be done, but shockingly no one from PTI was adjusted, but 100 per cent of appointments were based on MQM or his affiliation, likings, and dislikings. No merit whatsoever was followed and was belatedly thrown to dust. Even the PM’s instructions to follow merit were ignored. This act endorsed my suspicion about him. Additionally, several welfare amendments that PMIK told him to prepare were ignored. It was his or his handler’s idea to file a reference against Justice Qazi Faiz Essa and had nothing to do with the PTI Government. He knew about PMIK’s stance against corruption and convinced him about the alleged corrupt practices of Mr Justice. Despite resistance from Fawad Chaudhry, the reference was sent. As MQM pressured for another ministry, I was called by the PM. He asked me to tell MQM that if we give them another ministry, we have to remove Farough, to which MQM agreed happily, and we started negotiating portfolios. Naturally, MQM was aiming for the best possible, and they gave me a list, which is as follows if I remember correctly: 1) Maritime Affairs 2) Commerce 3) Planning 4) Railway 5) Power 6) Industry We were negotiating when I received a call from Gen Faiz saying he was in Karachi and wanted to meet over a cup of tea, and I accepted. We met in our office, and he asked me about the possible changes in the cabinet. I told him the whole story about MQM demanding another ministry, to which he took a deep breath and said, they won’t force you. Let Farough be there. MQM will not object to this anymore. I agreed to discuss it with the PM as I was following the PM’s orders. We exchanged pleasantries, and he departed. Strangely after that, our allies, MQM, never mentioned another ministry, and I wondered why. During my three-and-half years in the Governor’s office, I spent considerable time handling tantrums of MQM. I can confidently say that they always waited for a phone call for further instructions. I have many friends in MQM, like Faisal Sabzwari, Raza Haroon, and Khawaja Izhar. This friendship never ended. We had several casual, friendly meetings. We visited each other’s houses, especially Raza Haroon, who used to live in PECHS. I still enjoy the friendship of a few, but when it comes to politics, I firmly stood with my party and its narrative for the betterment of the country. On the contrary, they stood with their party and handlers. When no-confidence was tabled, the PM was in disbelief that Gen Bajwa was planning to bring thugs into power. He used to question how he could bring in Shahbaz. Gen Bajwa assured the PM that he was not behind the manoeuvre. It was very difficult for the PM to absorb and comprehend that the game was sponsored by none other than Gen Bajwa. Despite our 24 MNA turncoats sitting in Sindh’s house behind a tent bifurcating the CM annexe and Governor’s residence, he still believed what Qamar Javed Bajwa told him. I was tasked to talk to MQM and try to lure their support. So, I had three to four long session meetings with MQM’s Mehmood Molvi, minister of state for the Ministry of maritime affairs, and Zubair Gillani, Ex-Chairman BOI. Both are my dear friends and trusted colleagues. The dialogue started with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Amin ul Haq, and Waseem Akhtar, but the outcome was vague. They were indecisive and wanted us to ensure the numbers. At that point, they had the news that 10 PTI MNAs had shifted their loyalties towards PDM. Hence, even with the support of MQM, the PTI government was destined to fall. As I said earlier, MQM has a history of jumping off a sinking ship in troubled waters. The second round of talks was in Amin ul Haq’s apartment in Parliament Lodges on March 28, 2022, with Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the lead. The participants included Asad Umar, Amir Dogger, Ali Zaidi, and myself from PTi and Khalid Maqbool leading MQM and Waseem Akhtar, Amin ul Haq Faisal Sabwzwari and Farough Naeem. This time, I felt a different atmosphere in the room. I had strong feelings that they had decided already. It was obvious from their body language and attitude. This time, Farough was leading the negotiations instead of Khalid Bhai. Farough was sitting on the sofa and was fully in command. “Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui is my boss and my brother. I will only do as my boss says as I am a thoroughbred MQM”, said Farough while smoking his cigar. I looked at him with disbelief as he used to say the same for PM Khan till a few days earlier. However, we moved further and asked MQM conditions to stay with PTI. They asked for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Governorship of Sindh, to which Ali Zaidi and I agreed instantly. This time, it was not a shock as we had expected this demand. It was obvious that Khalid Bhai was uncomfortable and strolling in the lounge. I approached him and asked him to decide so that we could talk to the media, anxiously waiting for the meeting’s outcome. Honestly, I wanted to send a strong message through the media once MQM decided to stay as PTI’s government ally. Khalid Bhai put his hand on my shoulder and said, there is no phone call yet, and we are unsure what to decide. Let’s wait till the call. I don’t know if the call ever came, and if it came, what was the message he was waiting for? The writer is former governor of Sindh.