Govt committed to ‘uneasy’ alliance with MQM

Top PPP leaders observe alliance with MQM as important to save Karachi from further bloodshed.

Zia Khan October 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Top Pakistan Peoples Party leaders on Tuesday regretted what they perceived as the ‘hostile’ attitude of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) but decided to continue an ‘uneasy’ alliance with the party despite all odds.

Meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, the PPP core committee observed the alliance with the MQM as important, at least for the time being, to save Karachi from further bloodshed. This development has come two days after the MQM threatened to quit the ruling coalition in protest at the government’s failure to curb target killings of its workers.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik reportedly briefed the meeting about the latest spate of killings in the city and sought more powers for law-enforcement agencies.

However, the demand made by one of PPP stalwarts as well as the Awami National Party (ANP) to hand over the city to either the military or the paramilitary rangers was cold shouldered.“This is out of question … the statement of one of our party colleagues about this was his personal opinion,” a participant of the  meeting told The Express Tribune. The growing hostilities between the PPP and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz in Punjab were also the focus of the meeting. The meeting weighed several options to counter the ‘undemocratic forces attempting to topple the government’.

Another participant said the party leadership had decided not to enter into any hostility with the MQM to ‘save Karachi from further violence’. “We won’t let the situation reach the point of no return. We will continue our policy of reconciliation,” one of Zardari’s close aides quoted him as saying. The president directed the interior minister to submit a comprehensive report on the situation in Karachi and said that those behind the killings be brought to justice regardless of their political affiliations.

‘Call in the military’

Earlier in the day, one of PPP leaders, Nabeel Gabol, said Karachi should be handed over to the army, adding that the government has failed to curb target killings. Speaking in a private TV programme, he said reconciliation needs to be put aside and the Karachi situation focused.

President of ANP’s Sindh chapter, Shahi Syed, also demanded the deployment of the Army in the city. Condemning the killings of a large number of labourers and daily-wage earners, he said the government has failed to check killings and political extremism because of its policy of compromise.

PM Gilani

Alarmed by the ongoing wave of violence in Karachi, Gilani on Tuesday ordered strict vigilance by law enforcers. The premier rang up the interior minister, governor, chief minister and home minister of Sindh and directed them to “sit together to resolve the issue,” said a statement issued by the prime minister’s media office.

This comes amid reports that peace in Karachi is a big factor in determining the fate of political setups in Pakistan. A couple of days back a leading Middle Eastern newspaper saw in the latest spree of violence in the multi-ethnic city a familiar pattern that has been behind the fall of governments in the 90s.

MQM MNA Dr Farooq Sattar also telephoned Gilani and discussed the ongoing wave of target killings in Karachi.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 2010.


Liaquat Ali | 11 years ago | Reply @Hira Mir Here is one point of view about the terrorism in Karachi: Most if not all of the police force in Pakistan is recruited out of "men who lack basic needs, from the rural area" as well. So are you saying that if all people become well-fed they will stop joining the police force?
Hira Mir | 11 years ago | Reply @liaquat. I do not believe terrorism to be a political strategy. We have been saying this for many years and now we are suffereing due to this denial mode. As far as poverty is concerned, majority of recruitment militants are men who lack basic needs, from the rural area.
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