Editorial - Political drama - Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34861&Cat=8

There is never a dull moment in Pakistan’s politics. Only weeks after the MQM and the PML-N had been persuaded by the PPP not to withdraw support for its government in the centre, a new and potentially more bitter fracas has broken out. While the PML-N, angered by the failure to implement its 10-point agenda, has already parted ways with the PPP and shoved its ministers out of the Punjab coalition, the MQM stated at a media conference on Monday that it too might end its coalition with the ruling party. The MQM, following meetings in Karachi and London, has already begun a boycott of the Sindh Assembly. As in the past, the fracas arises from comments made by the Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza, stating that the Lyari-based People’s Aman Committee was affiliated with the PPP and its members were ‘children’ of the party. The PPP has in the past, repeatedly denied any link with the group accused by the MQM of being involved in Lyari’s gang wars and the murder of its activists. The MQM, in turn, also stands accused by this group and some others. It is hard to say what prompted the home minister to make comments that were bound to rile the MQM. He is either especially prone to blunder or engaged in some power game of his own. Despite attempts by the interior minister and other PPP leaders to defuse the situation, the MQM has accused Dr Mirza of patronising criminals while announcing its decision to quit the coalition.

The PPP stands on a very sticky wicket, with seemingly few expert players in its line-up to tackle the situation. It faces an onslaught on other fronts too. Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif has reiterated a suggestion that major parties in the country sit together, alongside the military leadership and the judiciary, to work out a plan to prevent further deterioration in the country’s situation. He has also said the prime minister had been contacted in this regard. The PML-N is clearly displeased at the absence of a prompt response to its magnanimous suggestion and the apparent failure to even realise just how grave matters are. The law and order situation worsens by the day, and it seems obvious the government is clueless about what to do. The latest twist in affairs in Sindh will obviously not help matters. We wonder how long they can continue on this strained note, with the clouds growing darker across the skies and threatening to bring an especially angry storm crashing down upon us.

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