PPP-MQM Coalition: Deadline expires, alliance survives

President successful in allaying MQM's concerns, most reservations addressed.

Irfan Aligi March 15, 2011


After a week-long separation stint, the coalition partners Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) are back together, yet again.

Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House late Monday evening, in a meeting termed “cordial” by the president’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who flew into Karachi Monday evening after meeting MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London, was also present at the meeting.

The participants reiterated the resolve that political reconciliation will continue for the sake of political stability, Babar said while addressing the post-meeting press briefing.

They also agreed that strict action will be taken against criminals, irrespective of political, religious or institutional affiliations, he added.

Earlier, Malik briefed the president on his meeting with the MQM chief in London.

Sources present at the meeting said the president was able to allay MQM’s concerns while most of their reservations have been addressed.

The commissioner system and the local bodies’ elections in the province were also discussed, even though no timeframe was mentioned at the meeting, sources added.

The breakthrough had already been made in London on Sunday, during Malik’s meeting with Hussain that was followed by the message that PPP-MQM alliance would continue, sources said.

A meeting between an MQM delegation and the president is likely on Tuesday, after which a joint statement by the coalition partners is expected, they added.

The MQM would also end boycotting sessions of the Senate, the National and provincial assemblies, sources added.

The recent rift between the two parties had emerged in reaction to an announcement by the Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiquar Mirza that People’s Amn Committee (PAC) is a subsidiary of the PPP.

The public admission prompted MQM to declare a review of its position as a coalition partner to the PPP. A week-long deadline that expired at midnight on Monday was set by the party for the PPP to renounce its patronage of the PAC.

While the government has yet to disown the PAC, sources say it has been able to tactfully maneuver the situation and keep the alliance with the MQM intact.

MQM hails judicial commission for loan recovery

The coordination committee (CC) of the MQM has warmly welcomed the suggestion by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to establish a commission for taking action against those who availed loans worth more than Rs100 million from the national exchequer, and had them written off.

The recovery of such loans, demanded consistently by the MQM chief, would help the anemic economy of the country, the committee added.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2011.

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