The PPP has crossed the Rubicon by successfully navigating three controversial bills in Sindh Assembly in the teeth of strong opposition from the MQM. The visit to Nine Zero by Shujaat has failed to bring back the party to the fold. With the PPP-led government no more dependent on the MQM for survival, it decided to go ahead to meet the demands of its voters in Sindh even if this was unacceptable to its erstwhile ally. The commissionerate system thus stands revived; though with the controversy surrounding the three acts, there is every likelihood of the matter being taken to the courts.
The MQM has discovered to its chagrin that there is no opposition to the measures from any other political party including its newest ally, the PML(N). Altaf, therefore, has chosen to appeal to the ultra-nationalist lobby by accusing the PPP of conspiring against the army and ISI. Finding no other excuse to malign the PPP, the MQM Coordination Committee has criticised the Sindh government for shifting the imprisoned MQM workers arrested recently on charges of violence to jails in interior Sindh, knowing well that it had to be done as prisons in Karachi and Hyderabad were bursting at the seams.
The PPP-led administrations at the center and in Sindh are using dual tactics. President Zardari has not yet accepted the resignation of Ishratul Ibad from the gubernatorial post and the Speaker Sindh Assembly has not assigned opposition seats to the MQM legislators. On the other hand, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan has hinted at an ‘operation’ being imminent in Karachi, in case soft tactics failed to deliver within a weak. The intent behind the PPP policy is clear. The MQM can still come back albeit on PPP’s terms. Farooq Sattar says his party wants some space to play the role of the opposition. While the government must provide all opportunities to the opposition to put forth its point of view, all opposition parties in the province have to ensure that the political struggle does not transcend parliamentary norms. No one should be allowed to upset peace in the province, particularly in Karachi.