Pakistan government reduced to minority

The federal government in Pakistan was reduced to a minority on Sunday evening with its biggest ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), withdrawing support a week after it pulled out its two Ministers from the Cabinet.

However, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and political analysts do not see an immediate threat to the government, primarily because the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), has made it clear that it is not interested in pulling down the Pakistan People's Party-led ruling dispensation.

Speaking to reporters in Lahore immediately after the MQM announced its decision, Mr. Gilani maintained that no formal communication had been received as yet. However, he was confident that the “government will remain”.

As to whether he would seek the support of the former Prime Minister and PML(N) chief, Nawaz Sharif, Mr. Gilani said: “We have good relations with Mian Sahab [Mr. Sharif] and he has always shown maturity on national issues.”

While announcing its decision in Karachi, the MQM cited public pressure as reason for withdrawing support to the federal government.

When it asked its two Ministers in the federal cabinet to step down last Monday, the MQM had said that it was continuing with its outside support for the government in the interest of democracy. However, it had warned that a decision on support to the government would be taken soon.

The MQM has been particularly upset with the PPP since mid-December for not reining in its Sindh Home Minister, Zulfiqar Mirza, who had recently lashed out at the party for its role in the killings in Pakistan's commercial capital, Karachi. And, since Saturday, it has been stiffly opposing the steep rise in petrol prices, questioning the PPP's claim of heading a people-friendly government.

Over the past month, the PPP has lost two allies in quick succession — first the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) and now the MQM. The MQM's departure with its 25 members in the National Assembly has triggered yet another round of speculation and politicking as the federal government began scouting for new allies while working back channels to prevent a no confidence motion being moved in the National Assembly.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 1:52:04 AM |

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