The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Tuesday finally re-joined the central government with the induction of its three legislators in the federal cabinet. The development has shored up the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government ahead of next year’s budget.
Dr Farooq Sattar and Babar Khan Ghouri took oath as federal ministers while Dr Nadeem Ihsan as minister of state in a ceremony held at the Presidency.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and MQM had quit the federal government earlier this year, leaving Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s government on the verge of collapse as it lost the numerical majority in parliament.
PPP first secured the support of a new ally, the Chaudhry Shujaat-led faction of PML-Q, and kept persuading the MQM and JUI-F to rejoin the government.
It has succeeded in winning back MQM which has given the ruling coalition an overwhelming majority in the parliament that can easily sideline the Opposition groups led by Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
With the induction of MQM the ruling coalition now comprises PPP, PML-Q, MQM, ANP, and PML-Functional. It also claims support of some independent members belonging to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
The joining of PML-Q in the ruling alliance earlier this month compromised the bargaining power of MQM as it had to rely on only three ministries, including one state minister against their earlier demand of six ministries. It is learnt that MQM also wanted induction of Haider Abbas Rizvi and Waseem Akhtar as federal ministers but the PPP declined the demand at the eleventh hour.
Before the PML-Q joined the cabinet the MQM was also a candidate for the office of foreign minister and had proposed the name of Dr Farooq Sattar for the post.
A formal notification on portfolios of new ministers was not issued till filing of this report but it is likely that the MQM ministers will get ministries of ports and shipping, and labour and manpower. Their state minister would also be adjusted in one of these ministries as junior minister to one of his party’s federal minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ