News Analysis: Turbulent Pakistani government faces another political crisis

10:05, March 15, 2011      

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By Jamil Bhatti

Pakistani government led by Pakistan People's Party (PPP) is facing another political crisis since government's ally MQM threatened to quit if its demands are not met.

Relations between PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also known as United National Movement, the dominating political party in southern coastal city of Karachi, become strained over the government policies.

The tension resulted in armed clashes in the city, leaving 45 people dead, dozens of others injured and many vehicles set ablaze in last five days despite the presence of PPP leader and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari.

Sources told Xinhua that if the president failed to address their grievances, MQM could split with the PPP.

Among the MQM demands are the government's disassociation from an allegedly criminal-political group People's Aman Committee, action against 300 criminals and PPP's provincial leader Zulfiqar Mirza.

MQM withdrew from the ruling coalition in early January in protest against fuel price hike but later rejoined the government after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani gave up the decision.

PPP-led government needs 25 seats of MQM to preserve its majority in the 342-seat National Assembly (lower house of parliament).

To prevent the coalition from collapsing in case MQM quits, Zardari is trying to make alliance with opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), which holds 51 seats in the National Assembly.

Riaz Hussain Pirzada, a PML-Q leader, told Xinhua on Monday they would pledge full support to the PPP and not allow anyone to destabilize the government.

Political analysts believed that this agreement will not materialize because of objection from lawmakers of both parties.

In fact the political think-tanks are expecting early elections at the end of this year as the opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), the favorite party of the young generation, have launched a campaign against the government throughout the country.

"The current move of the president Zardari may succeed in keeping his government intact but this will not sustain as the public sentiments are growing against the PPP-led government and opposition parties will use them," analysts added.

Source: Xinhua

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