Saturday, 25 May 2013

Pakistan: Limited Options for MQM

While Mian Nawaz Sharif, Chief of PML-N is anxious to assume charge of Prime Minister for the third time and create history, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) seems completely in quandary. It has not decided as yet whether to sit on opposition benches in National Assembly or become ‘me too’ by joining hands with PML-N.

The dissolution of Coordination Committee by founder and leader of MQM, Altaf Hussain and delay is announcement of new team is certainly making its vote bank uncomfortable, especially those who don’t wish to indulge in ‘confrontation’. Many in MQM believe that if something has to be done for the vote bank it can come only by maintaining amicable relationship with the ruling junta.

Many political pundits say, “Under the prevailing conditions, MQM is left with one option only that is to follow the decision of PPP, which has already nominated Khursheed Shah as leader of opposition in the National Assembly and also to become part of ruling junta in Sindh province”.

Political analysts also believe that if PTI, PPP, MQM and ANP join hands in National Assembly they can form a real strong opposition that will not allow Mian Sahib to do ‘whatever he wishes’. Certainly two of the biggest issues for Sindh and Karachi are: 1) overcoming energy crisis and 2) maintaining law and order.

PTI is likely to form government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwah and Dr. Arif Alvi elected on NA-250 from Karachi will have to play the role most prudently. Dr Alvi has emerged victorious after defeating MQM and JI candidates and now his responsibility should be to protect the rights of PTI vote bank.

Development of Sindh in general and Karachi in particular is linked with robust economic activities and ensuring peace. MQM is likely to learn a lesson from erosion in its vote bank and play the role of facilitator to peace and prosperity.

Historically, PML-N and MQM have hardly enjoyed enviable relationship. MQM leaders and workers have not forgotten Mian Sahib’s statement, “If we come in power we will establish Military Court to punish the culprits”. MQM rank and file still remembers operation undertaken during two of the past regimes of Mian Sahib.

It may be said that PPP has also undertaken operation against MQM in the past, but the two parties succeeded in maintaining good relationship as President Asif Ali Zardari and Governor Sindh Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad made the best effort to keep the coalition intact despite some difficult times.

With Pakistan facing internal and external threats all the political parties, which will enjoy double role, opposition in National Assembly and ruling junta at province levels must keep one point in mind that strengthening Pakistan should be their top priority. They should also remember that the leader of opposition is nothing less than the leader of the house.

Therefore, the logical choice of MQM should be to sit on opposition benches in National Assembly and join hands with PPP in Sindh. The earlier this decision is announced the better it will be for the MQM and its vote bank.

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