EDITORIAL: Welcoming back the MQM - Friday, May 06, 2011

Source : http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\05\06\story_6-5-2011_pg3_1

The PPP and the MQM had been on somewhat estranged terms since late last year, when the Sindh based party decided to part ways with the government after scalding remarks made against it by the then Home Minister, Zulfiqar Mirza. It was a devastating retreat from the coalition as the JUI-F had also left the PPP high and dry after the sacking of Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi following the Hajj scandal. The MQM’s decision to quit the coalition was a huge blow that saw the PPP turn to the PML-Q to preserve its teetering numbers in the house. However, all that seems to be a thing of the past now as the MQM’s senior leaders, which included its Deputy Convener, Dr Farooq Sattar, met with the PPP members such as Interior Minister Rehman Malik in the Governor House in Karachi to once again embrace the federal cabinet. The MQM had been mending fences recently with Altaf Hussain’s party by continuing to sit in the treasury benches but also keeping the PPP on edge by withholding their 25 seats in the federal cabinet. The MQM made a hue and cry about the many issues facing the nation and issued an agenda that attempted to tackle a labyrinth of problems such as corruption, law and order, inflation, power shortage etc. However, staying true to the Pakistani politicians’ flair for making loud noises with little content, this nine-point agenda did not outline how the MQM planned to wipe out these problems. Now after tooting the social welfare horn, it looks like the MQM has once again decided to give the cabinet a shot — it is being claimed that the party was offered three rather important federal ministries such as ports and shipping, labour and manpower, and the provincial home department, although the PPP is remaining hush over these claims. The MQM has voiced its satisfaction with the PPP who, it says, is willing to solve the problems listed in the agenda and work towards fixing the law and order situation in Karachi. All in all, the meeting was the usual rhetoric of a jovial political coalition once again re-establishing its dominance in the numbers game.

Once the PPP had taken favour from the PML-Q, it was anticipated that the Chaudhry brothers would be paramount in helping better the ties between the PPP and the MQM. This is because, without the 25 seats belonging to the MQM, the coalition rested on very fragile foundations with the departure of the PML-N and the JUI-F.

Concerning the deteriorating situation in Karachi with each new cycle of violence, the MQM is being scrutinised and asked to account for the bloodshed in the city. It is the major coalition party in Sindh and is responsible for the welfare of the people. Karachi descends into violence at breakneck speed almost every second day, with its people asking if the MQM is part of the solution or part of the problem. We have heard one too many times that the government is working to decrease the tension in Karachi and this meeting at the Governor House is no different. Claims need be implemented but never have been. If the MQM and other political parties are serious about sorting out the Karachi situation they must make the law enforcement agencies independent of all political affiliations so that they can reign in the gunmen who have made life a living hell for the citizens. No matter whom the gunmen belong to and how far back their political linkages may go they must be held accountable. Soft-pedalling and the usual rhetoric will get Karachi nowhere. *

SECOND EDITORIAL: A change may be coming

The conflict between Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian parties, began when Hamas refused to agree to Fatah’s approach on the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to make peace with Israel. The conflict intensified when Hamas won the elections of 2006. The EU and US cut off aid to the Palestinian territories because both designated Hamas as a terrorist group and, therefore, Hamas was not allowed to take power.

However, when the US administration used its veto power in the UN Security Council to block a draft resolution condemning Israel’s continued settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President, realised that they would never be able to achieve the status of an independent state until Hamas and Fatah resolved their conflicts. Moreover, there was tremendous pressure from the Palestinians who urged the two parties to resolve their issues, as they firmly believed it was the only way to combat Israel.

Back in 2007, under Mubarak’s regime, Egypt too was supporting Israel and had sealed off the Gaza Strip, which meant that the Palestinians in Gaza were cut off, even from supplies . Now, after Mubarak’s overthrow, the new government has been of immense support to Palestine and has played a major role in bringing Hamas and Fatah together. Therefore, the change in Egypt, the hardline stance taken by Israel and the US’s support to Israel all combined to persuade Mahmoud Abbas that the only way to progress in their struggle for independence was by uniting. Hence, the accord in Cairo where both parties reached a truce.

For long, the Palestinians have been suffering due to the constant fighting between Hamas and Fatah. The two factions of the Palestinian resistance movement virtually became entities unto themselves in their own territories. Therefore, nothing could have been better for the Palestinians than overcoming the rifts that led to conflict and fighting. They can finally speak with one voice now, which will lend weight to their position and take them one step ahead in achieving their goal of enjoying the status of an independent state.

However, the fact remains that unless and until Palestine establishes itself as a state according to the 1967 borders, peace with Israel is highly unlikely and a continuation of that conflict is bound to inflame the Middle East even more than it already is and will prove detrimental to US interests as Obama has already disappointed his people by taking Israel’s side one too many times. *

No comments:

Post a Comment