MQM bombshell leaves PPP-led Pak coalition govt in crisis

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Islamabad, Jan 3(ANI): The Pakistan People's Party (PPP)-led government has suffered a severe blow following its key ally Muttaheda Qaumi Movement's decision to sit in the opposition benches in parliament, leaving Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as Leader of the House without a majority.

This was a second jolt to the Pakistan People's Party in a fortnight, as the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman had earlier quit the 32-month-old coalition government over the sacking of its minister against the backdrop of a Haj scam, the Dawn reports.

"The government will remain intact even if all (coalition partners) leave us," Gilani declared unconvincingly while talking to reporters in Lahore, at a time when MQM's leaders were announcing the decision of their party's coordination committee in Karachi.

With the MQM members sitting on opposition benches, for which the party plans to submit applications to the National Assembly Speaker and Senate Chairman on Monday, Gilani will be left with the support of only 160 members- 12 less than the required strength to maintain his position as leader of the house in the 342-member Assembly.

Constitutionally, it is not binding upon the prime minister to seek a vote of confidence, however, MQM's decision puts moral pressure on him to do so.

JUI-F and PML-N leaders have already come out with the demand that Gilani is morally bound to prove his majority in the house.

Although the MQM has not come out with any demand of an in-house change, political and legal experts believe that Gilani has no moral justification to remain the country's chief executive because after losing the majority, his 'minority government' will not be able to perform the basic function of carrying out legislation in the National Assembly as well as in the Senate.

"If a ruling party or coalition is defeated on a bill in the National Assembly or the Senate, it loses the moral ground to continue in the government," said an expert in parliamentary affairs, hinting that the government might not introduce any law in parliament if it was unsure of its success.

On the other hand, some PPP leaders hinted at a before-time adjournment of the House for an indefinite period to avoid embarrassment to their government, which planned to bring some more legislative measures in the session that was scheduled to continue till January 7. (ANI)

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