Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman, whose party pulled out of the ruling coalition earlier this month, has demanded that President Asif Ali Zardari replace Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who “sabotaged the reconciliation process”.
The demand came at a time when the embattled PPP is trying to accost another estranged ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which decided on Monday to part ways with the ruling coalition.
“President Zardari should change the prime minister or take action against him. His (prime minister’s) actions have put the ruling coalition in jeopardy,” the cleric told a news conference on Tuesday.
It is the first time that a political party, particularly an erstwhile ally of the ruling party, has come up with a demand for the dismissal of the prime minister who had been considered more amenable among political circles and was unanimously elected as Leader of the House.
Prime Minister Gilani has, meanwhile, convened a meeting of the federal cabinet to discuss the volatile political situation in the country.
The MQM, the second largest party in the ruling coalition after the PPP itself, has submitted the resignations of its ministers to President Zardari instead of Prime Minister Gilani, who is head of the federal cabinet.
Still sitting on the treasury benches, the MQM is also mounting pressure on the beleaguered PPP by extending its demands.
President Zardari has constituted a two-member committee, comprising Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, to hold negotiations with the MQM.
On the other hand, a war of words between the PML-N and the MQM has been aggravated amid a fresh blame game an indirect political mileage for the PPP.
The JUI-F chief claims that the MQM would have parted ways with the PPP, had the PML-N not started a verbal duel with the latter.
The new condition of Maulana Fazlur Rehman to replace the prime minister is likely to complicate matters for the PPP as many of its leaders think such a move could be aimed at creating chaos in the party’s rank.
The JUI-F chief said that if the president did not replace the prime minister the entire democratic process could be derailed, a claim that he did not substantiate when asked to explain.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2010.
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