A key ally in Pakistan's ruling coalition has threatened to leave the government if a military crackdown against tribal militants in southwestern Baluchistan province continues.

The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) gave the government until Friday to stop the operation and begin negotiations with local tribes.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the government will try to address the MQM's reservations and apprehensions.

The Pakistani army began a major crackdown on tribal hideouts last month, after a string of rocket attacks against military and government targets.

Baluch tribesmen have been waging a low-level revolt against the central government in the province, demanding a greater share of the region's natural resources and more political rights. They also oppose plans by Islamabad to build new military garrisons in the impoverished province.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.