ISLAMABAD: The ruling coalition may lose its partner, the Awami National Party (ANP), if it decided to pull itself out both at the centre and in Sindh. Top ANP leaders are to meet later this week amidst growing tensions with the government over the revival of the local bodies system in Sindh.
The Central Executive Committee of the Pakhtun nationalist group is scheduled to meet either in Peshawar or Islamabad to prepare a response to Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) 180 degree turn on what system should govern local administrations in Sindh.
ANP reacted angrily last week in the wake of PPP’s agreement with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to revive the Local Government (LG) system of 2001. The system is to be initiated in Karachi and Hyderabad and will eventually incorporate the whole of Sindh.
Shahi Syed, president of ANP’s Sindh chapter, had earlier expressed serious concern over the restoration of the local government system in Karachi and Hyderabad and even stopped Ameer Nawab from performing duties as provincial minister on Sunday.
“If things do not change soon, it will become difficult for the ANP to work with PPP., he had said.
A major player in Karachi’s complicated politics, ANP fears that the LG system will increase their rivals’ (MQM’s) influence by ensuring their control over the city’s bureaucracy. “Our options are still open. We will see what suits us,” a top ANP leader told The Express Tribune on Sunday. The leader remained vague, however, as to what alternatives the party had in mind.
Another leader explained that the party would soon announce departure from the Sindh coalition but would remain part of the federal administration.
Nevertheless, neither of the two said a word about whether the ANP was also considering parting ways with the PPP in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the power base of the party.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.