MQM’s warning signal

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THERE is understandable unease in the Government camp
following announcement of the MQM (P) to review some
aspects of its alliance with the ruling party at the Centre. Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who is also Convenor of the Party, announced his decision to leave the Federal Cabinet over “unfulfilled promises” but at the same time hastened to add that the Party was not abandoning PTI’s Federal Government.
No doubt, MQM has a track record of quitting governments in the past and reviewing the decision later, therefore, the latest move can also be construed as pressure tactics to get more from the Federal Government. However, as the announcement comes in the wake of an offer made by PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to MQM a few days back to sever cooperation with the PTI government and instead join the Sindh government of PPP, there is anxiety among the ruling party and its leadership swing into action to woo back the MQM. It is mainly because of the razor thin majority that the Government has at the Centre and shifting of even a few votes could make a big difference. It is also understood that most of the problems of MQM voters have provincial dimension and it makes sense that the party enters into some cooperative arrangements with PPP as well. There are, however, bright chances that the Government would succeed in satisfying MQM, which has not gone too far and instead preferred keeping its door open for dialogue and discussion. The very fact that the MQM has offered resignation just from one ministry and is presenting unconvincing arguments for not withdrawing its man from the Law Ministry is itself an indication that the party is more than willing to continue its cooperation with the PTI but only wants more share in the power and apparently some funds for Karachi and Hyderabad as was also hinted by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui during his press conference. Despite all this, it seems that there is no smooth sailing for the Government as another coalition partner BNP (Mengal) has also convened a meeting of its Core Committee to review its alliance with PTI complaining about non-fulfilment of the pledges made with the Party. We believe that instead of just opting for damage control when the damage is imminent, there should be regular consultations with allies and their genuine grievances taken care of in a timely manner.