The fragile coalition of the PTI government seems to be hanging by a thread after the resignation of MQM’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as federal minister. Ever since the government came to power, there was a possibility that the house of cards could collapse anytime.
The MQM remains a government ally and still retains the law ministry. The party’s convener said they assisted PTI in formation of the government and will not abandon them despite reservations. The party is disappointed that there has been no progress in resolving the issues of Karachi.
While Karachi remains in the grip of a cold wave, the announcement has raised political temperatures over speculations whether the MQM is mulling to join the Sindh government. Bilawal recently offered two ministries in the provincial government to the MQM if the federal coalition collapses. The offer still stands; Bilawal is expected to visit the MQM headquarters and meet with party leadership after returning from Saudi Arabia. Both parties seem to have developed a consensus over several issues.
Bilawal’s announcement and Khalid Maqbool’s resignation have sent jitters throught PTI. Many leaders made frantic phone calls to give reassurances. Asad Umar called Siddiqui to keep the coalition intact stating that their reservations will be addressed. Faisal Vawda said that all legitimate demands will be considered while even Governor Sindh has been in action.
The MQM has reiterated that the party was not ending cooperation with the government- a key requirement if it accepts their offer. Siddiqui has also denied his resignation is connected with Bilawal’s offer, but the rumour mill has been buzzing that PPP and MQM are heading towards rapprochement.
There are doubts raised on the MQM’s intentions as to whether it is trying to gain leverage over the PTI government. Siddiqui said that it was pointless for him to remain a federal minister any longer, but the law ministry of Farogh Naseem still remains with the party. MQM clearly wants to exploit the situation by demanding a hefty development package for Karachi.
The PPP want to give the impression that the olive branch handed over to the MQM is not due to desperation; the ruling party in Sindh does not need any coalition partners unlike the federal government. PML-N would is also likely to support an in-house change against the PTI.
Once again the murky world of Pakistani politics is being shoveled as new alliances might be formed and existing ones collapse. With a rudderless opposition and absentee leadership, it seems unlikely that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan can be toppled anytime soon.
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