PML-N, MQM alliance

The PML-N and MQM have finally come together in opposition to the PPP. Not so long ago, the leaders of these parties were spitting venom at each other, rooted in the rivalry of the 1990s when the PML-N government led by Nawaz Sharif carried out a military operation in Karachi, the prime target of which was the MQM. Interestingly, opposition to the government has brought these erstwhile adversaries together in the political struggle even when they have significant differences on important national issues. For instance, MQM has been advocating elections for the local bodies, an idea with which the PML-N government in Punjab is quite uncomfortable. It seems therefore that beyond opposition to the government, there is no positive convergence of agendas.At the time when these two parties’ senior leaders were busy in their rendezvous in Islamabad, Karachi was in the grip of another fit of violence. Reports say 24 people lost their lives in one day on Wednesday. At the time of writing these lines, some areas of the metropolis resemble a battlefield. The MQM has always used its control over Karachi to gain political mileage against its rivals. The culture of violence has grown so uncontrollably in Karachi over the last three decades that all kinds of mafias now claim turf in various parts of the commercial hub of Pakistan, which overlaps with political interests. It would be interesting to know what is PML-N’s take on this unfettered use of violence for political purposes?

Shrinking from the PPP, the PML-N has landed in the lap of a party that has no qualms about using terrorist means to achieve its objectives. Although the MQM has as usual conveniently shifted blame for the current spate of violence on other parties, while announcing marches in Karachi and other cities, people are well aware of its credentials. The events of the past few days have borne out our prediction that the situation in Karachi would deteriorate following the MQM’s departure from the coalition government. Have the new opposition alliance members sat down and devised a programme on how to curb violence, or, for that matter, tackle other issues confronting the nation? It is uncertain how effective will an alliance formed on the basis of differences with the PPP be, rather than on a common national programme, and how long will it be sustained. Perhaps the only good part is that both the PML-N and MQM have desisted from calling for mid-term elections so far. – Dailytimes