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September 27, 2010

Political parties gearing up for change

Top Story

September 27, 2010

Karachi
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will start its political activities from this week. The party announced a ten-day suspension of party activities as mourning after the murder of Dr Imran Farooq who was killed in London. The case is under investigation and widow of the late MQM leader has also appealed to the general public to help out the London police to arrest the killers of her husband.
Leaders of all political hues have visited Nine-Zero and offered condolences on the death of MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq. Nawaz Sharif also sent a delegation for condolence to the MQM and political observers described this move as very important as the doors for both parties to talk have been opened. The MQM had distanced itself from the PML-N since the operation against the MQM in 1998 during Sharif’s tenure. Differences were accentuated when Nawaz Sharif made an attempt to oust the MQM from politics. He convened an All-Parties Conference in London before his return to Pakistan. This APC carried a resolution that declared that no political party of the APC would shake hands with MQM or sit with them in any coalition set-up. Benazir Bhutto opposed that move.
Ishaque Dar led PML-N delegation which visited the MQM head office to offer condolences which was an auspicious opportunity for the two political forces. After this visit the MQM cadres noted that neither President Zardari nor Prime Minister Gilani visited the party office to offer condolences. However, on the directive of the party leadership the Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah visited Nine-Zero.
Kingri House, the Karachi residence of Pir Pagara has now become the centre of political activities. After the merger of PML-F and PML-Q big news is generating every day from this centre. Though Sadaruddin Rashdi, son of Pir Pagara claimed that the merger was not against the present political set-up, a party leader Imtiaz Shaikh declared that party was not against President Zardari but had serious

reservations about the Sindh government and its attitude.
However, Pir Pagara’s mood is very aggressive and his statements appearing in the media indicated that the actual aim of the merger of Muslim League factions is the same as the merger in 1977 against the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Sadaruddin Rashdi held a meeting with the PML-Q (like-minded) group leaders in Lahore and it is reported that the group agreed to join the party headed by Pir Pagara. Political analysts pointed out that these activities indicated that the movement is going in the direction that had been set by the same forces who were behind the formation of the IJI, an alliance against the late Benazir Bhutto’s first government. Pir Pagara’s apparent refusal to go along with Gen Musharraf is being described as a signal for Nawaz Sharif that the doors were open for him to join hands with the United PML.
Nawaz Sharif has started criticising the PPP and the federal government and has declared that he will stand by the Supreme Court rather than the government. His stand indicated that PML-N was trying to change its position for a future political set-up. It is a big question whether Nawaz Sharif will merge his faction with the Pagara-led United Muslim League. There are reports that a foreign country is again active to convince the Nawaz brothers to take advantage of this opportunity and shake hands with Pir Pagara. Observer believed that Nawaz Sharif may agree for an alliance with Pagara rather then go for a merger.
Political observers pointed out that the conviction of Dr Aafia is a good opportunity for Pakistan’s right-wing parties to unite once again for a political alliance like Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). Experience of previous MMA alliance was successful and it could be repeated again. Analysts are of the opinion that Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif also had another option and they can make alliance with the right wing parties.
The political flood is moving towards its direction and this situation has disturbed the whole system of the country. Uncertainty is not only creating crisis for the government but also for the people. Losing the writ and authority is the ultimate result of the political uncertainty. Law and order is going bad to worse and is weakening day by day. Criminal gangs are free to do whatever they want. There are reports that kidnapping for ransom has reached an alarming rate in Karachi and criminal groups now sending bullets in envelops to doctors and businessmen with life threats. Target killings on ethnic and sectarian basis continue and the government is totally helpless in controlling the situation.
Anti-government forces are taking advantage of this weakness and are united to achieve the goal. The goal is the removal of the President Zardari-led PPP government. Though the government claimed that its allies were intact and standing with them but there are reports that allies partners started criticism of the government because their expectations could not fulfilled. Leaders and cadres of these partners also under influence of the present political situation and choose the alternate option is under discussion among the ruling allies.
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