Thursday, May 10, 2007
MQM and the Declaration of an Emergency
While MQM is going all out to preserve its stake in Sindh, its leadership might have lost sight of the bigger picture.
The idea of a deal between Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf must have put the cat amongst the pigeons as far as MQM is concerned. One of the unwritten conditions of any such proposed deal would be an unofficial handover of Sindh to the PPP, which would mean the end of the MQM reign in the province.
Obviously in the past few years MQM has got used to ruling the Sindhi roost in partnership with Musharraf’s nominee’s (Arbab Rahim and co.), and to be deprived of its privileged position would be an anathema to the party.
To stay in the game, the MQM now has to make itself indispensable to the military regime. Purely from a practical standpoint this might make sense but on the other hand the judicial crisis has created a political powder keg. Now by insisting on holding a pro-Musharraf rally on a day coinciding with Chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s arrival in Karachi, the party may be playing with fire.
Opponents have already decried the move and suggested that the MQM is acting in connivance with secret agencies. Whatever the case maybe, if there is an outbreak of serious violence between the rally accompanying the Chief Justice and the MQM one, it will almost certainly play into the hands of a regime seriously considering the imposition of a state of emergency as a means of staying in power.
Undoubtedly the diehard MQM supporter will support the party stand blindly, but I wonder how many of MQM’s traditional voters would support Musharraf over all the issues raised by the sacking of the Chief Justice.
To my mind MQM is taking an enormous political risk, but then power – even if it is only over one province - has its own addiction.
Supreme Court of Pakistan