ISLAMABAD - To ease down the tension between Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan People’s Party, Sindh chapter, President Asif Ali Zardari is once again rushed in to save the alliance and probably he has renewed the promises and commitments made with the former from time to time since they entered into alliance.
Sources aware of the developments informed TheNation that the unannounced MQM boycott of the Federal Cabinet meeting held last week rang alarm bells in the ranks of the PPP, which is in the eye of storm nowadays with opening up of a number of fronts including their full-fledged confrontation with superior judiciary.
Sensing the gravity of the situation, President Zardari landed in Karachi after attending NATO summit in Chicago, instead of going to the federal capital where things were also volatile, just to mend party’s ways with MQM, which would have crucial role for the survival of the coalition government in days ahead, especially during the budget session and in the passage of the finance bill for 2012-13 their support would be of utmost importance.
The sources in PPP said that MQM wanted its hand on law and order control of the port city of Karachi whereas the PPP Sindh chapter and even President Asif Ali Zardari was in no mood to give them free hand in this connection.
Although sending Home Minister Sindh Manzoor Wasan on long leave under the pressure from MQM, the PPP leadership could not give them the control of policing in Karachi as the move could bounce back in shape of further worsening of the law and order situation in the city and annoyance of other major stakeholders in the city including another coalition partner of the government Awami National Party.
As the government was in its last year of it’s mandated term in power and could even embrace for early elections in the fall of the current year the uneasiness of MQM was increasing as none of their demands was met by the PPP and they were kept on promises by the senior PPP leaders on all the issues of vital importance for MQM, fate and future of Local Bodies in the port city, delimitation of the constituencies as per their satisfaction and containing the militancy under what they termed the alleged patronage of the people close to the ruling PPP.
Sources further said that despite formation of core committees comprising the PPP and MQM leaders no progress was on fate and future of the Local Bodies elections, the issue which lead to several threats on part of the MQM to quit both federal and Sindh governments in the past.
MQM wanted to have District Government System intact or with slight changes in it by incorporating some good things of old municipality system in it while the PPP Sindh chapter wanted to revert back to the old municipality system of governance at local level under the 1979 Local Bodies Ordinance.
Sources in both parties informed that several meetings of PPP and MQM core committee were held but no breakthrough on this front was made due to inflexible stand of both sides on their point of view.
Sources said that though MQM had never demanded the portfolio of Home Ministry directly, but indirectly they wanted to have some dominant role in it and the tussle between the two sides started from the days of former Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza which continued even in the days of Manzoor Wasan who was also sent on forced leave on the direction of President Zardari to appease MQM.
Sources close to MQM said that they would not settle down with these cosmetic steps on part of the PPP like giving the additional charge of Home Ministry to, a relatively docile Chief Minister, a mock operation against miscreants in Layari and a lollypop on accepting their genuine demands on future setup of Local Bodies in the province. These sources said that if PPP would not come up with some concrete steps towards the fulfilment of their demands then MQM would give a serious review to its ties with the PPP and could even walk out of the alliance from both Federal and Sindh government.