The breakup(s)


The MQM has parted ways with the PPP several times during the last three and a half years only to return to the fold sometimes within days, at others within weeks. If the past is any indicator, the present parting of ways may turn out to be temporary. The Governor’s resignation and the party’s goodbye to the Sindh cabinet were, however, never a part of the well-rehearsed script in the past. Will Ch Shujaat’s face saving intercession bring back the MQM again? Would Rehman Malik’s magic wand do the trick? Will a possible meeting between Zardari and Altaf settle the dispute? Or will Zardari listen to ANP, PPP’s crucial ally in KP, which is pressing him to call MQM’s bluff?

There are vital clashes of interest between the PPP and MQM in Sindh and, as the elections draw near, these are likely to erupt into the open. The PPP is keen to make encroachments on what the MQM considers its exclusive enclave of urban Sindh. For this, the PPP has to do away with the gerrymandering of the constituencies and ensure a free and secure environment where voters are able to cast their votes as they like. Neither of the two measures would please the MQM. Most Sindhis resent the way Musharraf created new districts by bifurcating them to strengthen MQM’s electoral position. They want the decision to be undone. Again, the PPP and MQM are poles apart on the issue of the constitution of the local bodies. A lobby in the PPP, particularly in Punjab, would however like the MQM to remain in the fold to balance the PML(Q). This explains the differences in the stance between leaders like Jahangir Badar and Firdous Ashiq Awan who would prefer to ‘remove the misgivings’ and Khurshid Shah, Maula Bux Chandio and Sharjeel Memon who would prefer to see MQM’s back sooner than later.

The PML(N)’s reaction has understandably been tentative. It has vowed to welcome the MQM into the opposition in case it sticks to the decision to quit the government. All depends on what Zardari decides. One thing is amply clear. The PPP leadership is more relaxed now than during earlier announcements of a breakup by the MQM.



  1. There should be no doubt that the engineered constituencies created by Musharraf, need to be undone and replaced by constituencies which seem more realistic and based on geographical homogenity, instead of ethnic divides. The PPP has to create an independent Election Commission, which has credibility, if it wants the elections to be acceptable. The appointment of a controversial man like Wattoo, who has a history of indulgence in crookery can only add to its woes. PPP should beware the wrath of the people, who have not got any relief during last 3 years, especially the abusees they suffered during recent floods. There was not even an attempt by the PPP to deliver on its manifesto, instead it only served the interests of the feudals, big business, corruption and land mafia.

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