Coalition blues


The faction ridden PML(Q) is facing internal schisms after joining the PPP-led coalition while the MQM is yet waiting for some of its reservations to be addressed before its ministers are sworn in. The government has to yield to their demands as it badly needs support from allies during the crucial budget session beginning 28 May. The Chaudhrys had joined the coalition maintaining that they were doing so in greater national interest. Within days, however, they faced a mini rebellion in their party over the portfolios allotted, with dissatisfied leaders accusing the leadership of selling them to the PPP for peanuts. While Prime Minister Gillani has pacified one of the PML(Q) malcontents by changing his portfolio, another one has threatened to resign if he was not allotted a better ministry. Some of those who failed to get any post have meanwhile decided to sit on the opposition benches in defiance of the PML(Q) leadership’s decision.

The government has reportedly conceded one of the major demands of the MQM by re-introducing the Pervez Musharraf era Local Government system. To further placate the MQM the PPP has canceled its plans to divide Karachi into four districts on the pattern of Hyderabad. The MQM is reportedly still unhappy as the ministries of Housing and Overseas Pakistanis have been handed over to the PML(Q). To ensure smooth sailing during the budget session another attempt was reportedly made by Rehman Malik to bring back the JUI(F) into the coalition when he met Fazlur Rehman in Riyadh last week.

Every time a new party joins the ruling coalition or an erstwhile estranged ally returns to the fold high sounding principles and altruistic aims are cited as the reasons for joining the government. It soon transpires, however, that what had in fact led these parties into the government’s arms was the pursuit of personal needs or narrow party agendas. The feeling that things are not happening to an ally’s satisfaction leads to bickering and at times to the parting of ways.