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July 3, 2011

Political cauldron


July 3, 2011

The political cauldron bubbling away on the burner that stands below the national scene is becoming fuller as more ingredients are chucked into the boiling pot. It is becoming harder to identify these individually. We have the new PPP-MQM rift, the arrival of the increasingly active PML-Q in the centre of the arena, and the ongoing attempts to forge an opposition alliance which may even bring the PML-N together with the MQM, despite their years of bitter animosity. The JUI-F, which also seems more active than before, meanwhile says it is the PML-N that is holding up an alliance. If one looks back to the chart of parties after the 2008 polls, and where they stood in terms of coalition relationships, it is astonishing to note just how much the situation has changed, within a relatively short period of time.
As things stand now, a strong, united opposition could be beneficial. The government shows no sign of moving back on track and things seem to be worsening in many spheres. Balochistan writhes in agony; in Karachi there has been a fresh wave of killings in various incidents of shooting. We do not yet know if this is in any way linked to the bitter fall-out between the government and the MQM, but the development adds to the potential for unrest in a city that is known to be volatile. There is disquiet on other fronts too. We do not know where the process of devolution will lead and whether it could contribute to more administrative chaos. This is not something to look forward to. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has already expressed reservation over the way in which the matter was handled. Ties with the US remain under strain, and again, it is hard to know where things are headed. The implications of events on this front are many. What we have cooking up then is a pot brimming over with all kinds of uncertainties. This does nothing to create stability which is vital as far as the economy goes. Without this, the inflation that is crippling people will

continue to grow adding to the wave of dissatisfaction sweeping across the country like a tidal wave.

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