A precarious situation was created for winning party PTI at the centre due to it not attaining the minimum number of seats required to form a government – and this meant PTI would have to form coalitions in order to bottom out at the 172 seats needed to govern. Perhaps the most surprising development was the alliance thus formed between the PTI and MQM.
When the possibility of an alliance was first discussed, some new to PTI and other senior leaders outrightly opposed the idea. PTI’s Faisal Vawda pledged to take up the issue with the party’s top leadership if the idea was not dropped.
Naturally, whether or not this alliance would be profitable is a concern for many, considering differences in ideology and MQM’s recent unpopularity amongst the masses due to unrestful conditions in Karachi.
Despite reservations, however, the alliance has been solidified. This week on Monday, PTI’s Jahangir Tareen, Arif Alvi, Imran Ismail, and Firdous Shamim Naqvi travelled to MQM’s Bahadurabad headquarters in Karachi to meet with Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and other MQM leaders. Dr Farooq Sattar was also present. MQM was invited to ally with the PTI to form the government at the centre.
Reportedly, however, the MQM laid special stress on ‘more powers for the Karachi and Hyderabad local governments’ as a condition for future allied cooperation.
It is interesting to note that the MQM had deemed election results (which essentially showed PTI emerging as a power in Karachi) unacceptable, saying rigging had taken place. Recounting of votes had been demanded. Furthermore, leader Faisal Sabzwari had purportedly refused an alliance with the PTI in the centre. How then did the tide change so drastically?
To understand this, perhaps it is necessary to delve into PTI’s past relationship with MQM. Here is an interesting video shared on Twitter that may make things clearer:
— Riya (@Tweets_By_Riya) August 3, 2018
So perhaps it can be argued that a PTI-MQM was in fact always a solid possibility, barring some incontrovertible differences that have been apparently now set aside.
However, it remains to be seen just how far both parties will be able to agree on the demolition of the ‘status quo’. Will MQM be able to see beyond its hunger for control in Karachi in order to work on Naya Pakistan? And will PTI itself be able to stay true to promised policy changes?