MQM decides to rejoin Pakistan’s ruling coalition

Friday, January 7, 2011

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) estranged ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has decided to rejoin the ruling coalition if Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani takes concrete steps to withdraw the increase in prices of petroleum products, the Geo News reported Friday.

In its coordination committee’s joint meeting Thursday night, the MQM discussed the strategy in view of Gilani’s expected visit to the party’s headquarters in Karachi Friday. It was decided to rejoin the coalition government and not let the premier return empty handed.

The prime minister, who arrived in Karachi Thursday night, is due to visit the MQM’s headquarters Nine Zero Friday in a bid to save his crumbling government, the report said.

The PPP-led coalition lost its majority in parliament after the separation of the MQM and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) from it over price hikes.

After it announced the roll back of the increase in the petroleum prices, the PPP-led government is hoping that the MQM will review its decision to sit in the opposition.

Gilani is expected to make some important announcements at the MQM headquarters, sources said.

The MQM has 25 seats in the National Assembly and six seats in the Senate. The premier will achieve an important milestone if he succeeds to win back the party’s support.

The PPP has 125 members in the National Assembly, 47 short of a simple majority to keep the government in office. It has the support of the Awami National Party’s 13 lawmakers, five from the Pir Pagara-led Functional League and around 17 Independent members.

The PPP has already geared up its efforts to save its government at the centre as Interior Minister Rehman Malik has been in touch with Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan to remove the MQM’s reservations.

Filed under: Politics

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