MQM’s pullout – Is it too late to have an impact ?

By Reuters Staff
July 1, 2011

By Faisal Aziz

For once, the government of President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party does not seem too bothered about the decision of its junior partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), to say good-bye to the ruling coalition.

Perhaps it is too late a call by the MQM to pile pressure on the government, and that too if it sticks to its decision. The MQM, which has long dominated urban parts of Sindh province and is now aspiring to make a mark at the national level, is not new to such resignations, and has done so in the past, in what has been an uneasy relationship with the PPP. But the sweet talk by the PPP has been able to lure back its partner one way or the other.

While the recent decision by the party looks more serious this time, it does not pose a threat to the government in terms of numbers. The government already has in the coalition wings the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), once the loyal soldiers of former president Pervez Musharraf, so that nullifies the impact of the MQM’s move.

However, a deep downturn in the economy and the poor security situation in the country have put the government on the back foot and if the MQM can join hands with the other opposition parties and is able to mobilize the public, bringing them out on the streets, that can be the start of a move to topple the government and go for an early elections.

But it’s not as simple.  It is not yet clear how the MQM will work with the main opposition party of former premier Nawaz Sharif and if it will start a movement, but if it does that will certainly be a hard job for the government to handle.

In the favour of the government is that fact that the MQM does not enjoy a cordial relationship with Sharif or, for that matter, with most of the other political parties around. Still the fact remains that it is one party which has the power to bring out people on the streets. Such is the loyalty of the MQM workers that a one-day notice by its leader Altaf Hussain can result in tens of thousands of people to come out on the road,. There is hardly a culture of questioning the leadership in MQM, and that is where it draws its strength from.

In an address to party workers, the self exiled Hussain thrashed the government for “stabbing its partner in the back” and warned that the “downfall of the government” had started now.  Despite the harsh talk, political observers are unsure as to how long the MQM’s decision will last, though the tone of the speech of Hussain, and the fiery announcement of the decision to quit the government by MQM’s Pakistan based leaders, indicates that things are much wrong this time.

The moves also adds concerns that it may lead to a further rise in instability in the Pakistan’s commercial capital Karachi, where the MQM draws its strength from and which is already prone to regular bouts of political and ethnic killings. As an editorial in the Daily Times points out the reasons for the MQM’s withdrawal of support for the PPP look far more than a disagreement on the elections in the Pakistani part of Kashmir.

Not only has the MQM pulled out of the federal as well as the Sindh provincial government, it’s member and the longest-serving governor of any Pakistani province, Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, has also resigned this time and flown to London to meet his leader, Hussain. But with a past tarnished by charges of violent politics, and military actions that followed against workers, many believe that the MQM is better off in the government, or else the stability of the biggest city of the country is in doubt. Not that it is a peaceful city anyways, but the chances of maintaining peace are brighter if the strongest party in town, the MQM, is in power.

The country’s leading newspaper Dawn pointed out in an editorial that the concerns with MQM parting ways are much more than political, as it is more likely to have a bearing on the law and order situation than any such move by any party in other provinces.Concerns amongst the public about the impact of the decision are also high, with many fearing the worst for Karachi. A sample of some Twitter feeds on the decision is an example. But the way the Pakistani politics works, there is still a chance that the MQM may rejoin the government, or that President Zardari and his allies walk away of this crisis, just the way they have over the past few years.

Comments

What does it matter whether it is MQM, PPP or any other govt. The names and the symbols will change, lives of people wont. New names will be followed by the same old jihadi talk, Holy muslim land being defiled by foreigners, how India and US is the cause of all their problems etc.
I think as a religion Islam has failed to give peace, freedom, gender equality, democracy and above all love for all human beings.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive
 

rrdas
Islam still remains the fastest growing religion in the world, a complete code of life, Islam gives women rights not even imagined by hindus for example. So keep your biased and bigoted views to yourself, Islam has given, brotherhood, peace and light to many. Actions of few misguided individuals do not speak of Islam as a whole.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

rrdas,

This is a political matter within Pakistan. Everything with Pakistan is not bad or terrible. It is their domestic affair. I think we should not get involved in this. We should only get involved if any event in Pakistan impacts us and our security. Kindly do not build unnecessary bias against everything Pakistani. Their democracy for the first time is getting a chance to sprout and grow. Let us welcome that and help them by not interfering in their political matters. These kinds of affairs go on in every country. Look at our Lokpal issue. If we look at everything done from a paranoiac view, then it will be self-defeating.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

The slow but steady realization that pakistani polity is experiencing is heartening. I wish it is not temporary phenomenon but is permenant in nature.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world  /pakistan/We-cannot-match-India-militar ily-Pak-defence-minister/opinions/902673 9.cms

Defence minister of pakistan said in this respect that Pakistan cannot compete militarily with India there by revealing the process that is hastening in the country.
Just like India wont compete with china or US militarily but displays quite different priorities at this point of time, politicians even with their squabbling,disunity and lack of vision have displayed acute sense of political maturity.

KP, Do you think this reconciliation that the state is experiencing could have happened if Army had been morally and materially strong? If Americans were to leave and Pakistan somehow succeeds in putting economy on tracks, what would be India’s strategy to continue its reconciliation process.

Or putting it this way. If Americans were to leave (with the exception of small force) and assuming this is the pakistan’s wish. How could we ensure that dialogue process with pakistan continues without the Army putting the spanners.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

sensiblepatriot: “Do you think this reconciliation that the state is experiencing could have happened if Army had been morally and materially strong?”

No. Case point is 1989 – Pakistan was the darling of the West at the time, having helped them defeat the USSR. It
had the nukes, the freshly baked militants and lot of money that had poured in from the US and Saudi Arabia. And the military decided to engage in conflict with India by launching into Jihad.

Now the situation is diametrically opposite. Pakistan is broke and is surviving on life support. It has turned against its traditional ally, the US. This is the first time, the US and Pakistan are on opposite camps in the entire history of Pakistan. Militancy has become infectious and is hurting Pakistan itself. And India has made steady progress economically. It cannot be brought down anymore by the methods that have been tried. And Pakistan is on the spotlight. Its military simply cannot orchestrate events like it did before. As a result, Pakistani leaders are able to look at the alternative ways to come out of the rut – why not make it up with India and try a friendly approach? And if this gets serious, I welcome it. At least circumstances are forcing them to see the light. It is extremely important for the nations in the region not to be enemies first. Negotiations, settlement etc can only happen in a friendly atmosphere. I hope Pakistan realized the situation and moves in the right direction. This is the most opportune time to beat the military’s dominance back and help the civilian system to gain strength and power.

“If Americans were to leave and Pakistan somehow succeeds in putting economy on tracks, what would be India’s strategy to continue its reconciliation process.”

If interdependency is established between India-Pakistan and even Afghanistan, conflicts will be the last thing in anyone’s mind. Therefore efforts must be made in opening up trade between the three countries and allow people level interactions. If economic growth brings back the old arrogance, Pakistan will lose big time. They have seen what India has done economically and see the benefits of it. Guns do not bring prosperity. Money does. For that to happen, the militant atmosphere has to be significantly diffused and progress has to happen in all fronts. Democratic system has to prevail for all this to mature. Let us hope it all works out in that direction.

Or putting it this way. If Americans were to leave (with the exception of small force) and assuming this is the pakistan’s wish. How could we ensure that dialogue process with pakistan continues without the Army putting the spanners.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“If Americans were to leave (with the exception of small force) and assuming this is the pakistan’s wish. How could we ensure that dialogue process with pakistan continues without the Army putting the spanners.”

It is up to the Pakistanis to ensure that their army does not take control of their destiny. They should realize that it is their army that has brought them to the brink. And they have failed to protect Pakistan. They lost East Pakistan, drones are killing their assets and civilians with impunity, US could send its navy seals and take out OBL, militancy has grown out of control due to army/ISI support. Military can fight wars. It cannot run governments. That realization is very important.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

umairpk,

i wish what you say were true. But facts tell a different story. There are 57 countries where there is either muslim majority or is an Islamic country. Practically all barring a few countries are the most troubled areas in this world. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon… the list only grows longer (Is this list a few misguided individuals) . And please be specific and tell us the rights women enjoy ? Stoning them to death!! Also what brotherhood and Peace are you talking about. Practically in every muslim country minorities are being eradicated mercilessly. For the safety of millions of muslims and non muslim it would be best to discard these mullahs and political parties and even countries who only spew hate in the name of religion.

KP Singh,

This blog is to express views on all things Pakistan. And honest views whether internal affair or not should be discussed in a straight and forthright manner. There is no need to be politically correct. Besides if you equate corruption in India with the genocide of thousands in Pakistan (including blowing up devout uslims praying in mosques)you are comparing apples and oranges.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive
 

rrdas

lets do a simple exercse, lets compare some statistics, how many car jackings, armed robberies, rape, drunk driving, domestic assault, suicides, violent crimes take place in Muslim vs Non-muslim countries? now do not take me wrong, I am not implying who is superior, I want facts and lets talk stats. Pakistan and Afghanistan are unique conservative muslim nations/societies, in Iran and Iraq many historical shrines and sacred places, the horn of Africa Somalia has its own history, Yemen with its historic Arab tribes, traditions of hospitality in Bahrain, the rich culture and history of the ‘Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’, and the pharoas of Egypt speak for themselves, the pyramids etc. so is Lebanon, Tunisia, and Libya etc. I have been to Saudi Arabia, Dubai, love to go to Istanbul Turkey to see the magnificent Mosques. Not to mention Malaysia which is a model of success economically and emerging fast. Be it Southeast asia, South Asia, Africa, America, Australia, or Europe find a continent where there are no Muslims, regular folks, working hard going about their daily lives according to their faith in a balanced way. Muslims gave science and technology, architecture, calligraphy etc in the earlier era.
IF YOU REVISIT what you wrote, you will find hatred in your words, that is about it. Islam preaches love and respect for humanity, not hatred. so please, next time think before you state anything, hopefully I made it clear to you this time.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

rrdas,
Why do you go far, first see your own slums, sham marraiges, hindu caste system, farmer suicides, malnutrition, poverty, corruption in your own country. You seem to care about the problems of every other country, except your own country has countless flaws, unless you live in a perfect society, do not find fault with others.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

“Islam still remains the fastest growing religion in the world” Posted by Umairpk

I heard this from you before, so lets get the facts straight here. Islam is the fastest growing religion, NOT because people are falling head over heels to convert but because the rate of reproduction among muslims in the world is almost twice that of non-muslims. In fact, as per recent studies, muslims are abandoning their faith faster than people of other faiths. I agree with you that Islam is as perfect (or imperfect) as any other religion but let’s not distort reality.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk says that Islam remains the fastes growing religion in the world. Very true, since most christians and non believers are adopting Islam as their faith and way of life. The fastest population growth, however, among the non believers ie. people who do not have a religion but practice hinduism, budhism, shintuism or communism and other several isms, is in India is which by 2030 is going to be the country with the largest population in the world.
Despite several warnings from the International organisations India has not taken any steps to curb its uncontrolled growth(Chinese method is one solution) and relied on exportof labour to most countries of the world. India has now embarked on sterilization program!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

PS
ABS.CBN. com has some info on some steps to encourage sterilization in India.Too little and too late.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

The million $ question is: What is Germany doing to control the population (or rather infestation) of rats in their country. At least one of them, seems to have found a way to log on on to the internet from inside his hole. How about investing in some pest control, Chancellor Merkel?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

According to world News.com of April 24,211, New York rat population is out of control and according to Huffington Post rat epidemic could invade New York this summer. I wonder if the number included foreign rats from Asia as well? Not an ideal town for the MQM leaders to visit New York this summer?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

umairpk,

hatred is in the quaran. It hates believers of other religions. It considers women nothing but sex machines.
There is no compassion. Hence it believes in stoning people to death. Raped women have no justice in any muslim country. Women are not even allowed to drive in Saudi.
This is a religion which is not good for any right thinking muslim and his family. Thats why the minority population in every muslim country is falling rapidly. They are either killed or coerced to change their religion.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive
 

rrdas

I challenge you, Quran never preaches hatred. It is in the western society that women are treated as sex object. Women have equal rights in Islam, as well as justice. Pakistan had the first women Prime minister in the Muslim world, in Saudi Arabia too they have gradually started the reforms, Prince Waleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom holding company employ many women, they have started to make progress and drive too. Islam is a complete code of life, billions of Muslims around the world live according to their faith.
It is only you who have been blinded by hatred for Islam.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

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