Sindh & Balochistan: Dam Protests
However, after assurances by President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the party has withdrawn the deadline for quitting the government, according to Online news agency.
Musharraf and Aziz Sunday spoke on telephone to MQM chief Altaf Hussain, who lives in London, and assured that only those dams would be built over which there was consensus and the army would not carry out any operations in Balochistan.
They also promised an inquiry into excesses committed against people in Balochistan and a political solution to the crisis, besides speeding up devolution of powers to the province.
Fighters from the Baloch community have been waging a mini insurgency over their demands which include autonomy to the province and an end to army cantonments being established by the government.
The Kalabagh dam, proposed to be built on the Indus river in Sindh province, has seen widespread protest in Balochistan, North West Frontier Province and Sindh provinces.
While Sindh is apprehensive that the proposed dam will lessen its water supply, Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province fear inundation.
If MQM quits the coalition, it would be a serious blow to the government that already lacks a two-third majority in the National Assembly, required for constitution amendments.
MQM has 17 lawmakers in the 342-member National Assembly or
lower house of parliament. It is also the majority partner in the coalition
government in Sindh, though Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim belongs to the
Pakistan Muslim League