MQM deals deadly blow to coalition | Pakistan Today

MQM deals deadly blow to coalition

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI – The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Sunday finally pulled out of the ruling coalition as it decided to sit on the opposition benches in the Centre, forcing the already number-weak government into a minority with 160 members on its side in a House of 342.
A minimum of 172 members are required to form a simple majority in the National Assembly. The MQM decision came after its coordination committee, which simultaneously met in Karachi and London, chose to sit in opposition as its differences with the Pakistan People’s Party could not be resolved despite President Asif Zardari’s personal intervention.
After the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the MQM parted ways with the government, the numbers’ game in the National Assembly changed and now the three-party coalition with the support of independent MNAs had 160 members – the PPP 127 members, Awami National Party (ANP) 13 members, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) five members, Balochistan National Party (BNP) one member, National People’s Party (NPP) one member, FATA 11 members and three independents.
With the MQM walking away from the government, the opposition parties have outnumbered the three-party coalition with 176 members on their side – the PML-N 91 members, the PML-Q 51 members, PPP-Sherpao one member, the MQM 25 members and the JUI-F eight members. Two seats are vacant and four independent members do not associate with any party.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has the options to resign or seek a fresh vote of confidence or advise the president to dissolve the assembly under Article 58(1). Though he has already announced that his government would not fall even after losing the majority, it depends on what political course the largest opposition party – the PML-N – takes after the prime minister had said in a statement that Nawaz Sharif would not let the system derail.
PML-N’s role has become critical in this scenario. The question here is will Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N move a motion in the National Assembly asking the prime minister to take a fresh vote of confidence as he has lost the majority? It is a catch-22 for the PML-N, which has been pursuing a policy of supporting as well as reprimanding the government on various issues.
The fence-sitting PML-Q’s position in the emerging situation will also be equally important in case the PML-N decides not to take any position in case of vote of confidence or vote of no-confidence. Like the PML-N, the PML-Q too will be in a fix whether to support a corruption-ridden government that is all over place for mismanagement. However, it is expected that the JUI-F will ask the PM to show majority.
As the PM has lost majority, it also invokes Article 91 under which the president can ask the PM to obtain a vote of confidence, if he is “satisfied that the PM does not command the confidence of the majority”. If the PM is required to take a fresh vote of confidence and he, with the support of the PML-N or the PML-Q, shows the required majority, he will survive.
And, in case he loses majority, he will stand voted out. In this case, the PPP can only remain in government if it launches another candidate to be supported by other parties as well.
But if the PPP does not maintain majority and no other political party can also form its government, the assembly has to be dissolved for fresh elections which too in the present political, economic and law and order situation are unlikely.
The only choice will then be that of a national government.

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