MQM decides to resign from the Federal ministries. Tonight its party night at houses of people like Kamran Khan, Shahid Masood et al; who were striving for this to happen for long.
MQM’s resigning from ministries however is a pressure ploy to see if the Government is willing to concede to its demands, that of more federal ministries & committee chairs and that of more provincial ministries, espacially that of Home minister Sindh. Which can be so decisive in the local bodies elections
MQM is specifically an agencies’ party, and this may be a sign of things to come. This resignation from cabinet may mark that all is not well for PPP led government, as far as agencies’ plan go. This hardly is a secret however.
The government in National Assembly, with MQM, is 16 seats short of a majority. But being a minority government doesn’t necessarily mean that the government would collapse automatically. The law making process would be difficult, but if the current policy of reconciliatory legislating is continued, then PPP may continue to pass the required laws. In any case, most of the day to day work is done through executive orders and secondary legislation, and as such this shouldn’t be perturbed by losing majority.
Most importantly, would the government fall if MQM sits in the opposition? not automatically. According to the constitution, to make the current government resign, there is need for a vote of no confidence. This is when a motion is passed in the Parliament and it is passed by the majority of the members. In that case, government’s survival is not to be decided by MQM but by PML-N. In this scenario, Nawaz Sharif’s statement of 26th December is vital, where he commented that he wouldn’t let the government fail.
This is a big victory for the negotiating team of PPP, who have this public commitment from the leader of the main opposition party. This may also been the reason behind PPP’s decision not to budge under MQM pressure, after JUI’s resignation. But in politics, nothing is set in stone, this is specially true for Pakistani Politics.
Current situation has however created a silver-lining where PPP is sure that no more back stabbers remaining amidst them in the coalition. MQM’s departure does create one immediate concern, and that is the law and order situation in Karachi – the party’s hub. MQM would create unruliness soon, this is given. The options of past have been from bringing in rangers and Army, to impost curfew and martial law. All these have led to MQM gaining greater political influence at the same time not making things any better. The other option of Political conciliation has led to MQM taking too much advantage of their position.
One possible way of this may be to use all the available resources to control the events and not let them escalate. Peace in Karachi and Urban Sindh is in interest of Government and not in MQM’s interest. They will try to make things worse. The PPP and its ally ANP, must be ready to bear the first strike and must ensure that this is known who struck first. They have available to them the 21st century’s devices, such as video cameras, that would have proof of such actions. Even then, government intervention much come when public consensus is build, much like the Lal Mosque. But unlike the Lal Masjid, the retaliation must be measured and proportionate. Aim being restoration of peace, not annihilation of the party. Government must control the narrative, and that must be that MQM have slipped back to old ways. A successful operation would see MQM calling cease fire very soon, especially when it becomes clear that no political gain could be had. Otherwise consequences would be dire for the city and economy of the country.
How do they resolve this quandary is main test of the Government after today’s developments.