LAHORE - The Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s decision to reverse the earlier categorical announcement made by its self-exiled chief Altaf Hussain only 16 hours ago that his party will take an active part in the Tehrik Minjahul Quran’s long march is nothing short of a drone attack on the already poor credibility of the party headquartered in Karachi which many other parties regard as a political untouchable.This decision will also be like a demoraliser for the TMQ, despite the fact that Dr Tahirul Qadri said quite emphatically at a news conference that the march would go ahead as scheduled and the sit-in in Islamabad will continue till the acceptance of all his demands.When the MQM had expressed its support for the TMQ chief’s agenda terrorist activities were going on and many people had already been killed. The tragic incidents in Quetta and Swat were not a new phenomenon, but were a continuity of those activities.It is somewhat illogical on the part of the MQM to make the terrorist activities as the basis of its latest somersault. At the MQM’s support for the long march many had expressed the doubts that the two parties would be able to go together for long. They knew that there was nothing common between them, notwithstanding their public posturing and political statements to the contrary.But some said that Dr Qadri and Altaf had been in constant contact with each other when the former was still in Canada. It is said that the MQM chief phoned his TMQ counterpart quite frequently as a result of which they became friends, although they had never met each other.Dr Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehrik and the MQM had been allies in the Pakistan Awami Ittehad (PAI), a 22-party alliance forged against Gen Musharraf because of the consistent efforts of the late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan.To persuade Dr Qadri to become part of the alliance, the Nawabzada had made the PAT chief the first head of the alliance for a year – on rotational basis. After that the chairmanship was to go to some other party. The PAT remained in the coalition till Dr Qadri served out his term. Thereafter, it parted ways, although the alliance stayed in existence for many years.But this was a chapter from history.The fact is that the MQM leadership can outwit anyone. Now that the MQM has decided to stay away from the long march, Dr Qadri is left alone to fight for his agenda. In other words, it is Qadri versus the rest. And apparently the forces the TMQ chief plans to take on are far stronger than him. Nobody can predict the outcome of his movement.All major parties believe that the elections will be held on time and the storm seen on the political horizon will subside soon.But Dr Qadri says in case the elections are held without amending the existing exploitative electoral laws, the worst-ever civilian dictatorship will come to power as both the PPP and the PML-N are one. He also fears that such an arrangement can be dangerous for the unity of the country.The political situation has entered a decisive phase and things will get clearer during the next few days.But the MQM will have to pay a very heavy political price for disloyalty to the TMQ.The memories of an all-party conference (APC) held in London some six years ago are still fresh in many minds. This was the time when all participants, including the PPP and the PML-N, had decided not to join hands with the MQM ever in the future, no matter what the situation. The resolution passed by the parties recalled the past conduct of the MQM and criticised it in strongest terms.But, regrettably, the resolution was forgotten by the PPP and it made the MQM part of the coalition at the Centre and in Sindh.And it was part of the ruling coalition when it declared its support to Dr Qadri’s long march. This looked hypocritical.When Interior Minister Rehman Malik flew to London to meet with Altaf Husain and request him to keep his party away from the long march, the self-exiled leader told the minister that he should talk to Dr Qadri in Lahore. Later on, the MQM chief said while addressing a gathering in Karachi that now all decisions would be taken by Dr Qadri.The TMQ chief who was the guest of honour at the gathering, cut in and said that he would take the decisions in consultation with the MQM chairman.The way the MQM has left the TMQ chief high and dry should be instructive to other political forces.