Day of reckoning?

One wonders whether the headline applies as much as to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as the Sindh government.

Editorial January 02, 2011

One may ask whether the headline of this editorial applies as much as to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as the Sindh government. The former for sure will find it difficult to survive unless the PPP quickly finds a way to either convince its former allies to return to the fold, or forge fresh alliances. While the government is not immediately under threat in Sindh, it could very well be the next step of this gradual erosion of support for the PPP.

Going by the make-up of the province, the most stable government for Sindh would always been one where the MQM and the PPP share a coalition. The province and Karachi in particular may also be looking to some very uncertain days in the not-so-distant future. As for the federal level, the MQM has a hefty 25 seats in the National Assembly and Prime Minister Gilani will find it increasingly hard to command to the leadership of the house.

The MQM has said that its decision to sit in the opposition and in effect leave the government at the centre, is based on decisions such as increase in oil price announced on January 1 and the PPP’s insistence on the reformed GST. However, in the past couple of years, while the party has been in power, petrol prices have been raised several times so the cynic may wonder whether there is more to this decision than meets the eye. As for the RGST, the PPP has been unable to force a vote on it in parliament and the tax doesn’t in fact raise the rate of taxation but only broadens it to sectors of the economy that till now were outside the GST’s pale. Perhaps, points of conflict could have been the end of the nazim system for Karachi and the planned, but-now-delayed, decision to reintroduce commissioners. Also, the party has been of late complaining that some elements in the PPP were accusing it of being behind the violence in the city. That could also have been a bone an issue. One thing is for sure: the next few days will be tough for the PPP in Sindh and for the prime minister at the centre.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2011.


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Feroz Khan | 10 years ago | Reply In normal parliamentary coalition politics, when ever a government in power loses the confidence of the house or its coalition partners withdraw from the coalition, the government faces a problem of confidence and legitimacy as to its right to continue in power. The PPP government is severely weakened by its allies leaving it and sitting on the opposition benches. It is a minority government in the sense that it does not have a majority in the house in order to form its own government and has to rely on other parties to form a majority in the house. In the present case, PPP government does not have the votes needed to pass any piece of legislation and is basically a lame-duck government held hostage to the whims of the opposition, which can either support it or make trouble for it. The best option for PPP, in the present circumtances, is to call for a vote of confidence on the floor of the house and if it loses such a vote, then to it should announce a date for the next general elections. The idea that because it is elected in an election, does not mean it should finish its term of office if it loses the confidence of the house, and that it is its democratic right to finish its term despite losing the confidence of the house. No such right exists in a democratic parliamentary system and indeed, it is the requirement of a democratic system that when a government in power loses the confidence of the house; it has no right to be a government. For PPP to claim that it will finish its term regardless of what happens, is a very undemocratic statement to make and proves that our politicans have no clue as to what parliamentary democracy is and how coalition governments work within a system of parliamentary democracy. The heavens will not fall if there is an election before February 2013 and it will certainly end the politics of uncertainty, which not do Pakistan any good at a time, when it needs a clarity of purpose and direction in its politics more than anything else.
Khalid Aziz | 10 years ago | Reply Pro people vs pro establishment- everyone taking positions. Lets see if PML-N, who now a days claims to be anti establishment, which side they fall in.
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