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بدھ، 29 دسمبر، 2010

The humiliated MQM reacts

MQM, a key coalition partner of the PPP has announced to part ways with the Federal Government and would decide about its future with the Sindh Government at a later stage. The MQM was left with no choice after Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza blamed the Party of being involved in Karachi target killings and other activities leading to serious law and order problem in the city.

That was a humiliation for the MQM and it had given ten days notice to the PPP to take action against the Minister otherwise it would react. Announcing the decision to quit the Federal Cabinet, MQM leader Faisal Sabzwari however said that the Party would continue cooperation to the Government for the time being as it does not want to destabilize the present set-up. Endorsing the decision of Central Coordination Committee, MQM supremo Altaf Hussain warned the PPP to mend its ways or else the Party would be forced to part ways with the Sindh coalition too. Though the government spokesmen are saying that they will address the grievances of MQM, the way MQM was being treated for the last several months gives the impression that the ruling PPP in Sindh was bent upon bringing MQM under pressure. The address to a large gathering by Altaf Hussain at Bhitshah on Saturday gave the first indication that MQM was considering to leave the Government when he sought a mandate from the people asking them whether to quit the present set-up. The departure of MQM after JUI(F) would bring more pressure on the Government though Labour Minister Khursheed Shah hoped that the breaches appeared in the coalition would soon be filled through dialogue. The PPP Government is near completing three years in office and disaffection among the coalition partners and the people does not augur well for it. Though the PML-N appears to be in no mood to support any no-confidence move yet it would be difficult for the PPP to pull on with razor thin majority during the next two years. Therefore there is a need to bring down the political temperature and for that the Government will have to take serious initiatives to address the grievances of the estranged partners.

 The Sindh Home Minister Zulifqar Mirza, a confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari has finally agreed to quit his present position and decided to join as Minister in the centre, an insider privy to the developments told this scribe.

The acerbic Mirza was under pressure from the party head to offer sacrifice to pacify the most needed MQM which had put up demand for his removal as Sindh Home Minister due to his antagonising statements as described by the coalition partner.Zulifqar Mirza had stated on two occasions that twenty six out of sixty suspects arrested for alleged target killings in Karachi belonged to MQM.

Pakistan Observer had already run a story about the decision of the government for removal of Zulifqar Mirza.

The PPP, which was struggling for survival in the face of departure of JUI (F) requires magic figure of 172 in the Parliament. MQM has 25 members in National Assembly.

After the statements, the MQM delegation, on the directive of MQM leader Altaf Hussain, held long meetings with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on December 19 and President Zardari the next day demanding disciplinary action against Zulifqar Mirza and also public apology from him.

However, according to party sources, he had refused to tender public apology over his statements.

The tension between Zulifqar Mirza and MQM in Karachi was not new. The law and order situation in the commercial hub, terror activities and target killings had soured relations between the Home Minister and MQM soon after formation of coalition government in Sindh.
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