Aug 26, 2008

Sindh: Political Set-Up To Remain Unaffected After Coalition Split

Sample ImageIn spite of Nawaz Sharif’s PML exit from the coalition, the Sindh assembly will not be affected.

Below is an article published by The International News :

The political set-up in Sindh will not be affected following the decision of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to quit the coalition in the Centre, because the PML-N has no representation in the provincial assembly.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) are in coalition with a majority in the Sindh assembly, while the opposition, comprised of the Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F), the Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q), and the National People’s Party (NPP), has only 19 members in the 168-member House.

Despite efforts by PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari to bring the MQM and the PML-N closer, both the parties showed reluctance to sit together at the Centre and in the provincial assembly, following a strict stand taken by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif against the MQM.

The latter was in coalition with the PML-N both at the Center and in Sindh after the 1997 elections, but they parted ways after the murder of former Sindh governor, Hakim Said. It is worth mentioning here that the PML-N had moved a resolution in a meeting in London last year of the All-Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) and it was decided then that no political party in the alliance would accommodate the MQM in the government. The PPP, however, did not endorse the APDM resolution.

The PML-N emerged as the third major political force in Sindh in the 1990s and the secured more than 30 seats in the Sindh assembly in 1997. Senior politician Syed Ghous Ali Shah played an important role in strengthening the PML-N in Sindh and most anti-PPP elements joined the party.

After the dismissal of the Nawaz government in 1999, coupled with Ghous Ali Shah’s self-exile, however, dealt a severe blow to the party whose major vote bank comprised the Pakhtoon community in Karachi and Hyderabad, and anti-PPP elements in rural Sindh.

The Pakhtoon community supported the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in the 2002 elections and later voted for the ANP in Karachi and Hyderabad, while the PML-F and the PML-Q provided a platform to anti-PPP elements in rural Sindh. The PML-N was thus routed in Sindh in the 2008 general elections.