MQM: Let the games begin
MQM has quit the government before but this time it has begun posturing for the next national election.
That the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) isn’t by now used to the “chicanery” of its senior partner in the coalition government portrays either naivete or clever calculation.
In MQM’s case, naivete should more or less be discounted because the party has spent the better part of eight and a half years in power corridors – counting, of course, its five-year stint with the previous regime. It is hard not to understand, if not master, the laws of power, no matter how dysfunctional they may seem in our polity, in such a consecutive period. And yes the party has had its share of failings, as have all other political players on our national chessboard.
Many feel the MQM has not always shown the kind of maturity required of a top-notch political entity (but then neither have others), choosing to turn every slight suffered at the hands of its opponents into a make-or-break political issue. One cannot brandish the threat of jumping off a political cliff too often, because at one point someone will call one’s bluff. And then what does one do? The risks multiply when a ruling party has an ally in waiting (at least that is what the status of PML-Q was in early January) and also has a few more political tricks up its sleeve.
On Monday, when this junior partner pulled out of the government – for the second time in six months – the separation seemed almost irreversible, unlike in January 2011 when the possibility of a patch-up still existed weeks after. This time the MQM faulted the rupture on the PPP’s “undemocratic and dictatorial behaviour” and the two parties’ differences over the elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). But those are only triggers for the action, not the actual cause.
It is safe to assume that the MQM has begun posturing for the next national election, even if it is a few weeks later than the mainstream Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the more fringe Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Now is definitely the season for rallying and testing one’s forces in the political trenches.
As it is, the last year and a half of any government tenure is always ripe for gamesmanship, with public appeal glossing over political expediencies. This is the critical time when all parties believe they can win over the hearts and minds of the people.