Beginning of the end?


Who would have thought the JUI (F) would be the first one to go? Sure, tensions were simmering between the religious party and the PPP, but not anywhere near the situation with the MQM in Karachi. Mild mannered Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, as always, had been very subtle and private about his reservations. The wily politician has also built a very strong case for his parting of ways; the PPP had unilaterally sacked both Senator Azam Swati and Hamid Saeed Kazmi from their respective ministries. With the latter, they could have done whatever they wanted, but with Swati, such haste was perhaps uncalled for. A case of mismanagement by the PPP? That too in the presence of firefighter extraordinaire Yousuf Raza Gillani?

The numbers game was never good for the PPP but it just got worse. Coincidentally, this also happens to be the worst time for the MQMs bargaining position to drastically improve. Sindh Home Minister might have to eat humble pie in the aftermath of a refreshing speech of saying-it-like-it-is at a dinner by traders in Karachi. The MQM had expressed dismay; and with the new situation in Islamabad, they could probably even carry out Mirzas termination (his job, that is). By now, it is clear that opposition to the RGST, be it by any party, is mere politicking; neither the allies nor the opposition members have been able to make a clear, economic case against the tax. The RGST issue is being used only for bargaining. The question: what more could the MQM possibly want? More specifically, regarding Karachi, what more could it want that would not offend the only coalition member that hasnt yet given trouble to the government i.e., the ANP? The PML(Q) could also play harder to get now and the other League can also afford to be far more belligerent. This is, to state the obvious, not a good time for the ruling party.

These are unchartered waters for our democracy. The coalition that formed after the 2008 elections was a first. The consensus on the 18th amendment was also treading new ground. The PPP seems to have practiced the politics of reconciliation well so far. It would do them good to make efforts to keep the coalition intact. Even if it is through constitutional means, a truncation of the governments tenure would not bode well for our nascent democracy.