KARACHI: The coalition government came under further pressure Tuesday with its second-largest partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Farooq Sattar submitting his resignation to President Asif Ali Zardari.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said yesterday that it was withdrawing its two ministers from the federal cabinet in a move that could threaten the narrow parliamentary majority of President Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
Talking to Express 24/7, Sattar said that he had resigned because the government failed in solving the problems faced by the people of Pakistan. He said that the government did not consult his party on policy decisions.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has also called for a meeting of the federal cabinet to discuss political developments.
MQM has 25 lawmakers in the national assembly but only two ministers in the federal cabinet, Babar Ghauri for ports and shipping and Farooq Sattar for overseas Pakistanis.
Support from the MQM, which represents the Urdu-speaking majority in Pakistan's financial capital of Karachi, is crucial to the government.
The loss of its 25 lawmakers would leave the coalition in a parliamentary minority and could bring down the government.
Announcing the imminent resignations late Monday, MQM accused the government of failing to curb corruption and control inflation.
Its relations with the PPP have soured over an explosion of political violence in Karachi, which saw more than 155 people killed earlier this year.
"The decision has been taken because the government did not pay any heed to our complaints about the remarks of Sindh home minister maligning the MQM," Faisal Sabzwari told reporters.
The party complained to Gilani and Zardari about it, but were unhappy with their response.
The resignations will also be a blow for the PPP just weeks after Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party took its three cabinet ministers and seven lawmakers out of the government, sparking fears of a domino effect.
The departure of JUI-F reduced the PPP's coalition to 185 seats in the 342-member national assembly, just 13 higher than the required 172.
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