Editorial : Coalition politics - Friday 29th April 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/29/coalition-politics.html

ON Wednesday, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain told newsmen that his PML-Q “will soon decide” on the offer to join the PPP coalition at the centre. Just how soon was indicated by his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Thursday. The Q-League appears set to join the coalition — “not for ministries, but to forward a national agenda”. Given the flurry of front-page leads in all newspapers and their predictions, a PML-Q refusal to join the Zardari set-up now would have appeared a volte-face. But a volte-face it is in any case. The expression has lost some of its shine from overuse, but, for lack of an alternative, the Chaudhry-Bhutto rivalry has to be described as legendary. There is, however some evidence of a failed Benazir Bhutto move to win over the Chaudhries in her battles with the Sharifs. Mr Zardari`s successful wooing of the Q-League has been termed by his supporters as proof of the superiority of his tactics over those applied by Ms Bhutto. In reality, the much-anticipated union can only be a result of changed times. When Ms Bhutto made her ceasefire call to the Chaudhries of Gujrat long ago, Moonis Elahi was a young lad. He is now old enough to be tried on corruption charges. This creates its own demands.
Meanwhile, the PPP has taken its own haphazard route to growth, blessed as it is with the remarkable gift of partnering with just about anyone. As it moves forward, it leaves in its trail ever new lessons for those who are still struggling to come to terms with the coalition politics that appears set to rule Pakistan for many years to come. While the PPP strives boldly to consolidate before the crucial Senate elections next year, the Q-League finds it expedient to camouflage its need in the popular slogan for a national agenda. This slogan is not at all dissimilar to the unachievable PML-N agenda of the past. Even then, circumstances do indicate that once they are in the coalition, the PML-Q men would be less inclined to make an exit and make identification of camps on the country`s political landscape that much easier.

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