Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Paris march for Gaza to go ahead Saturday despite police ban

    Read more

  • Kerry due in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Key partner quits fragile ruling coalition

Video by Karim YAHIAOUI , Louise Hannah

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-04

Pakistan was plunged into political crisis on Monday as the second-largest party in the fragile ruling coalition quit the government after abandoning crisis talks with the Pakistan People's Party of President Asif Ali Zardari (pictured).

AFP - Pakistan was struggling with a major political crisis on Monday after the second largest party in the ruling coalition quit the fragile government.
              
The country is already grappling with a depressed economy, the after-effects of devastating floods that hit 21 million people in mid-2010, and Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked sanctuaries in its northwest on the Afghan border.
              
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) made the announcement Sunday, days after its two federal cabinet ministers resigned, abandoning crisis talks with the main ruling Pakistan People's Party that had scrambled to keep them on board.
              
An administration that took power less than three years ago following elections has now lost its majority in parliament and faces possible collapse if the opposition unites to pass a vote of no-confidence.
              
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani tried to appear calm on live television, telling journalists: "The government is not going to fall."
              
"I was unanimously elected, all parties voted for me in the national assembly. We have contacts with all parties," Gilani said, indicating that behind-the-scenes talks to shore up a new coalition were already under way.
              
Without MQM's 25 seats, the PPP's coalition numbers 160 seats in the 342-member national assembly, 12 short of the 172 required for a majority.
              
All eyes will now turn to Pakistan's main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, which would need to support any possible parliamentary vote of no-confidence.
              
But political analyst Hasan Askari doubted any immediate prospect of a no-confidence vote, saying that Sharif appeared unwilling to bring down the government immediately and face responsibility for the country's myriad crises.
              
Troubled relations between Sharif's party and the MQM gives the government breathing space of at least three to four weeks to stitch together a new majority, analysts said.
              
"The government will try to win over small groups so you'll see lots of politicking," said Askari.
              
One of those parties set to be wooed could be Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF), the country's most prominent religious party that took seven lawmakers out of government on December 14 after Gilani sacked one of its ministers.
              
MQM has long been at odds with unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari's PPP over political violence in Karachi, tax reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund, corruption and crippling inflation.
              
"We have expressed no confidence against anti-people policies," MQM's Faisal Sabzwari told reporters.
              
"The government should immediately roll back the increase (of nine percent) in petroleum prices and prices in general and take steps to eliminate corruption," he said.
              
An MQM statement said the government was "crushing the people".
              
"We'll support the government's positive steps while sitting in the opposition and will openly oppose the anti-people decisions," the statement said.
              
MQM remains in the coalition in the southern province of Sindh, of which Pakistan's largest city of Karachi is the capital and where the party's support is rooted in the Urdu-speaking majority.
              
MQM's Farooq Sattar, minister for overseas Pakistanis, and ports and shipping minister Babar Ghauri, last week submitted their resignations, but the party had stopped short of joining the opposition.
              
PPP luminaries had appeared publicly confident of sealing a deal to keep MQM on board, but analysts say that the party had decided it no longer wanted to be implicated in an increasingly unpopular government.
 

Date created : 2011-01-03

  • DIPLOMACY

    US worried over Pakistan's 'weak, corrupt' government, WikiLeaks says

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Police arrest suspects in plot to kill prime minister, foreign minister

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Zardari visits flood-hit areas amid criticism of govt response

    Read more

COMMENT(S)