Marriage of necessity manages to survive... but to what avail? - Pakistan Today

Marriage of necessity manages to survive… but to what avail?

KARACHI – The PPP-led Sindh coalition government managed to survive yet another year despite political and administrative challenges. However, it became more difficult and troubling by the year end.
In real terms, the so-called coalition government completed another year in which no alliance was witnessed among the partners for collectively handling the province’s political and administrative affairs. Whether it was the PPP, the MQM, the ANP or other parties, each of them went their own way.
During the year, the people of the province witnessed many confrontations between the two major coalition parties, the PPP and the MQM. The year 2009 was branded ‘year of forced marriage’ by the media due to the differences between the parties and there were many instances in 2010 when troubled relationship almost came to an end. However, every time, the top leadership of the parties – President Asif Ali Zardari and Altaf Hussain – intervened and averted the possible break up.
The issue of fresh local government elections was dragged throughout the year due to differences between the PPP and MQM. The coalition partners could not even develop a consensus on which local government system should be adopted in the province. The whole year was spent discussing the matter and the people were told that the issue would be decided in 2011.
Not only the MQM, but other coalition parties also kept a distanced relationship with the PPP, although not confrontational.
The Pir Pagaro-led PML-F, which is in the Sindh government and opposition at the same time, enjoys both the positions as Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro says “aik ticket me do mazay.”
However, the party never compromised on its interests, including that of the appointment of government districts officers in the party’s strongholds or the share in jobs and development schemes. Despite enjoying all the perks, the party leaders kept on criticising the government. Similarly, the ANP, which only has two Sindh Assembly seats but remains a coalition partner with one full-fledged ministry, also availed its due share in jobs and development schemes. But whenever the Home Department took action to control the law and order situation in Karachi, the party leadership became enraged and threatened the PPP that it would part ways.
The National People’s Party, also a part of the coalition government, enjoys one ministry against its three provincial seats and administrative power in its stronghold areas. It proved comparatively less tough for the PPP, but the government was not happy with the strictness shown by MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi during assembly sessions. Jatoi is among the most competent lawmakers in the assembly.
The PPP complained that he did not care for the government and acted as a member of opposition.
Finally, the PML-Q, although in opposition, also enjoyed all perks and privileges. Despite the majority of PPP leaders in Sindh wanting to unseat former Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim from the assembly, they could not do so even this year.
Rahim was seen in the Sindh Assembly for the first and the last time while taking oath after being elected in the 2008 general elections. He is still a member despite continuously remaining absent from the House.
On many occasions, several PPP members expressed anger that their leaders were granting and extending Rahim’s leave, but the PPP leaders kept showing flexibility under President Zardari’s ‘reconciliation policy.’
Under these circumstances, the people of Sindh labelled the situation as ‘one-sided reconciliation’ by the PPP.

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