ISLAMABAD: The statement by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain urging top military hierarchy to take action against “corrupt” politicians is likely to bring ‘rapid and dramatic’ realignment in the ‘complicated’ political scene both at the centre and in Sindh, top government officials said.
Some leaders in the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) are enraged by Hussain’s remarks. They said it amounts to favouring the imposition of martial law and they want their top leadership to rethink the party’s political alliance with the MQM.
“Some of us are really upset…It is not for the first time that Altaf (Hussain) has let us down. Such behaviour is a routine matter,” at least two of PPP leaders told The Express Tribune here on Thursday. Both of them did not want their names mentioned.
The MQM chief’s assertion was widely criticised by not only political parties but also by national media, which now have a greater say in country’s politics.
The most significant aspect of the statement appears to be its timing: It comes amid reports that Pakistan’s powerful security establishment wants to install a national government. There is no direct evidence though.
The PPP leaders said a group within the party is pushing President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to rethink the party’s alliance with the MQM.
“We have told them (Zardari and Gilani) that enough is enough. There is no reason…to have MQM in the ruling coalition,” a PPP leader from Sindh said.
According to them, Zardari had assured the angry party members that the matter would be placed before the PPP’s central executive committee and the federal council scheduled to meet sometime early next month.
Observers, however, believe it would be difficult for the PPP leadership to opt for completely severing ties with the MQM because of the group’s political influence in the Sindh legislature.
Although the PPP and the MQM have so far been able to maintain their ‘often-troubled’ alliance both at the centre and in Sindh, PPP’s provincial leadership has never been comfortable with the arrangement.
Altaf Hussain, they said, has never missed any opportunity to embarrass the PPP.
To substantiate their concern, they put forward the example of his statement against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
Hussain was the first leader to criticise the controversial ordinance former president Pervez Musharraf issued back in 2007.
These incidents, PPP stalwarts said, were a source of irritation among the party leaders, especially from rural Sindh.
“And now this statement,” one of them added, “has really complicated things and we want a decision.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2010.