News / Asia

    Pakistan's Government Scrambles to Survive Coalition Defections

    Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani (file photo)
    Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani (file photo)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Ayaz Gul

    Pakistan's ruling party is struggling to keep its grip on power a day after a key partner quit the governing coalition, denying it the majority in the national parliament. The prime minister is meeting with opposition politicians in a bid to head off a possible no-confidence vote.

    Last month, a small party in the parliament, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, announced it was switching to the opposition in parliament and demanded Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani step down.

    But the major political setback came Sunday when the second largest party in the ruling coalition, the Muttahida Quami Movement,announced it was also ending its partnership with the government. The move has turned Prime Minister Gilani's government into a minority coalition in parliament.

    MQM senior leader Faisal Sabzwari explained the party's decision to switch to the opposition.

    "We were not taken into confidence in many decisions whether they are economic or political or governmental decisions, and that is why we have pulled ourselves out from the federal cabinet. And now we have announced to sit in the opposition because of the recent price hike and petroleum hike," Sabzwari said.

    Prime Minister Gilani has dismissed suggestions the latest political crisis will cause the collapse of his government. He met with leaders of two major opposition parties, including former Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League.

    Speaking to reporters after the meetings, the prime minister said there is consensus among political parties that the current democratic system must stay on course.

    Legal experts say there is little threat to Mr. Gilani's administration, despite its lost majority, unless opposition parties impose a no-confidence vote.

    Former justice Tariq Chaudhry says deep divisions among the opposition parties are likely to discourage attempts to dislodge the prime minister.

    "They have to suggest the name of the proposed prime minister, and I think and I believe that it would not be possible for them to bring a consensus prime minister because on that point there will be division among the parties," said Chaudhry.

    The chief spokesman of former Prime Minister Nawa Sharif's opposition party, Ahsan Iqbal, acknowledges that with 92 members in the 342-seat legislative National Assembly, his party is not in a position to push for a no-confidence vote.

    "If we file a no-confidence motion and tomorrow we see that one party has made a deal with the government, other party has made another deal with the government and then we are left in the middle that would be very damaging for our own politics," Iqbal said. "So therefore we have to watch the situation, and unless we have the confidence that a no-confidence motion will succeed and also result in a stable government we will be very reluctant to just jump on the bases of certain splashes created by certain political actors (reference to rival MQM)."

    The political turmoil has hit Pakistan as it grapples with a fragile economy and security threats posed by al-Qaida-led militant groups.

    The ruling coalition headed by the Pakistan Peoples Party has struggled in recent weeks to keep its allies together amid rising criticism the government has failed to improve economic conditions, check corruption and halt growing inflation.

    Some critics say the defecting parties could be using the political crisis to win concessions from the government, but party representatives have dismissed these suggestions.

    The next elections are due in 2013, but most political groups are not in favor of holding early polls amid rising militant attacks.

    Some political and security analysts argue that no political party or a new coalition would like to replace the current Pakistani government because of the critical economic problems that have forced the country to rely on $11-billion loans from the International Monetary Funds.

    The IMF wants Pakistan to significantly reform its economy in order to keep the loan program going.

    There are also concerns the political crisis could distract Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts, which the United States says are critical for the international military campaign against Taliban extremists in neighboring Afghanistan. But security experts in Pakistan say the war is being fought by the powerful military that has not been influenced by political developments in the country.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora