MQM signals joining PML-N grand alliance

Parties have indicated to work jointly for minimum ‘common agenda’.

Zia Khan/qamar Zaman July 04, 2011


The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has for the first time ever hinted at ‘joining’ a proposed grand opposition alliance led by Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif, indicating tough times ahead for the struggling government.

Acknowledging the PML-N’s stature among opposition parties, an MQM spokesperson Wasay Jaleel told The Express Tribune: “The PML-N is a major opposition party…we are in a process of looking into the prospects of cooperating with it for a shared objective.”

The comments came on the heels of Nawaz Sharif’s weekend statement in which he said his party would be “willing to include the MQM” in the alliance to rid the country of “a corrupt and discredited administration”.

Nawaz Sharif’s highly indicative ‘desire’ and Wasay Jaleel’s statement coincided, indicating a ‘change of hearts’ on both sides.

Also on early Sunday morning, Nawaz’s younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif flew to London from Islamabad and some reports suggested he might hold a meeting with MQM chief Altaf Hussain.

There were reports last week that Sharif’s PML-N had decided to gather all political groups hostile to the government, including the MQM on a ‘minimum common agenda’ of dislodging the government.

In recent years, the PML-N and MQM leaders have engaged in bitter verbal duels.

According to a report in this newspaper, Nawaz had assigned Shahbaz to establish direct contacts with Altaf.

Before his departure, Shahbaz himself, however, ruled out the possibility of a meeting with Altaf.

But things are appearing to be changing since the MQM quit the coalition led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Jaleel said: “We will announce our policy in this regard in next two or three days,” he added.

The MQM had recently quit the coalition governments in Sindh and at the centre over the postponement of elections on two seats of the AJK Legislative Assembly.

Governor Sindh Dr Ishartul Ebad, federal ministers along with 13 provincial ministers and an adviser have also tendered their resignations.

However, no decision had been taken so far over the resignations of the MQM since PPP is hopeful that it would be able to persuade the MQM to return as a coalition partner.

“MQM ministers [federal and provincial] have tendered resignations, but it is the prerogative of the government to accept or reject them,” said Jaleel.

Responding to a question whether MQM chief Altaf Hussain and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif were scheduled to meet in London, Jaleel said: “They are not going to meet.”

MQM leaders Waseem Akhtar and Mustafa Azizabadi have said that their party was still in contact with the government, with Zardari having telephoned MQM chief Altaf Hussain. “Political dialogue is (still) possible. We will not become part of any effort to dislodge the government,” they said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2011.


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Jameela | 9 years ago | Reply Pakistan’s political playhouse is hot these days. The PML-N has not learnt from the decade of the 1990s that political disunity benefits the undemocratic forces. Rather than undermining the democracy and cursing establishment, PML-N first kick off process of accountability from its own party as it is said charity begins at home. Mian Nawaz Sharif should disband internal party network that supports right wing elements playing havoc with the lives of innocent people of Punjab. The MQM should also show maturity now and decide its future as well, whether it wants to have some national role or it wants to be a parasitic party every time changing its political loyalty in the middle of governments’ tenure. It loves democracy or autocracy. MQM should take a final decision to stand with democratic leaders or to sit in the laps of generals because track record of MQM is speaks louder in this regard. If MQM wants a bright political future it would have to shun the old bad ways of supporting dictators and derailing democracy. It is time to take the final decision. The moderates across the political divide must come forward and reconcile on the Charter of Democracy. One must learn from Bangladesh. Political upheaval in the form of long marches and negative grand alliances are not the need of the hour nor can demolition of corruption be achieved by removing any government illegally. Rather, it is an evolutionary process. Corruption is a ‘childhood disease’ in the lifespan of a developing nation; the true remedy for it is a continuous political process. The election should be held at its scheduled time.
Naeem Malik | 9 years ago | Reply The PPP has learnt the art of politics of alliances better than any other political party in the country and this is the reason behind it’s collecting dividends of staying in power against unprecedented odds never faced by any previous democratically elected government before and after the two military rules of Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf and General Ziaul Haq. Capitalizing heavily on a dithering opposition with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) proving to be the last straw on the camel’s back, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has been getting more and more resolute about political moves it has planned to play until it goes to the next general elections after one and a half year. The PPP has been emboldened by the results of recently conducted general elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is confident of getting similar support from other parts of the country whether it had to seek an early election in the country. In fact, the MQM would prove to be a second and equal tough hurdle in the way of formation of any such alliance since the PML-N and MQM had more points to score against each other than to agree on. With the MQM sitting on opposition benches, the chances of forming an opposition alliance would get bleak and remote more than predicted by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman the other day citing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as the only hurdle.
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