Sep 10, 2008

Sindh: Reshuffle in Cabinet Likely

Active ImageMuttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) ministers are likely to power-share with Zadari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Below is an article published by The News International :

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided to reshuffle the portfolio of a few ministers in Sindh to adjust its coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), in response to the fact that the latter nominated and voted for PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential elections, sources told The News.

They further said that the PPP had agreed to shift Dr Zulfiqar Mirza from the important portfolio of Home to give the department to the MQM. Insiders claimed that the local government (LG) and the planning and development department would also be given to the MQM.

They said that Zardari had agreed to all the conditions of the coalition partner in terms of federal ministries as well as in Sindh and conveyed them to the current Home and LG ministers in Sindh.

The home minister, sources say, is the most affected person and he has started lobbying for other important positions such as chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Sindh LG Minister Agha Siraj Durrani will, meanwhile, be shifted to the Board of Revenue with land utilisation or to the excise department because the MQM wants control over the LG department. The provincial LG minister controls the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) – a position which the MQM is looking at as well.

Insiders say that because of Zardari’s commitment with MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, a nominee from the MQM will be the Sindh governor. Moreover, PPP circles claimed that Dr Asim Hussain, managed to nominate himself as provincial governor. MQM circles are, however, still silent regarding the change of the Sindh governor.

Sources close to the party say that Zardari is using the 60/40 formula as far as power sharing with the MQM is concerned. It was also agreed that the MQM will be given a free hand in Karachi and Hyderabad, just like it did in the previous Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) government. PPP circles are disturbed with this situation and are trying to persuade Zardari to drop this condition otherwise the party would not be able to survive in Karachi and Hyderabad.

PPP insiders claim that because of this condition the party will be restricted to a few areas of Karachi and Hyderabad. They blamed the Sindh Home Minister and Dr Asim Hussain for damaging the party because they did not take PPP leaders in the city into confidence, nor were the latter involved in negotiations with the MQM regarding local issues.

Sources in the PPP claimed that Zardari was exceedingly happy with MQM Chief Altaf Hussain  for his role in agreeing with former president Pervez Musharraf’s decision to resign despite the fact that the MQM was a strong ally of Musharraf’s, and had stood by him in every crisis he faced throughout his tenure.

PPP circles also claimed that party leaders and cadres are very disturbed with this situation and planned to meet with Zardari in Islamabad and inform him of the actual position, particularly the negative role of the Sindh Home Minister and Dr Asim Hussain.