In House Change may be in the Offing

BY Saeed Qureshi            

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a prominent member of PMLN and the opposition leader in the Pakistan’s National Assembly indicated to Karman Khan the host of GEO Television’s premier talk show, AAj Karman Kay Sath” that the options for an in-house change against the incumbent government were being looked into. This indeed is a kind of breaking information in that one can obviously surmise that backdoor efforts premised on a constitutional modus operandi, were underway to foist another government in place of the incumbent PPPP-led coalition.

This strategy or option averts or obviates the much clamored demand or desire of the people for the army to capture power via a kind of coup that Pakistan has already witnessed and experienced four times in 63 years of its existence. In house change means the formation of a new coalition or realignments of the political parties with representation in the National Assembly to reduce the majority group to a minority group. The motion of no confidence can be tabled in the assembly for the government to obtain a new vote of confidence and to show its strength as the majority party.

Either already the PMLN is in consultation with other political parties having representation in the National Assembly or it is about to achieve that threshold where it would be in a position to challenge the legitimacy of the sitting government having majority in the Assembly. Otherwise, how could Nisar Ali Khan spell out this possibility on television, of the in-house change with so much emphasis and optimism?

By looking at the chessboard with various political parties out or in power, it would not be naive to speculate that MQM already seems to be a disgruntled party that has been openly slating the federal government for many policies that it thinks were not in the national or public interest. MQM is also distraught over abolishing the previous local bodies system run by mayors. Under that system, MQM has rather transformed Karachi metropolis into a relatively new city with a galore of modern civic infrastructure and facilities like overhead and under bridges, widening of roads and beautifying this largest city of Pakistan.

It is quite discernable that the fragile or tenuous alliance that exists between MQM and the PPP at the center might break any time. MQM is poised for a revolutionary change a la radical transformation in the body politic with feudalism to be abolished, real democratic order to be established, and moral and social virtues of justice and equality to be made universal in Pakistan.

On the other side of the isle, the partners that are components of the coalition at the center, the ANP under no circumstantces would abandon or part way with the PPPP. The reasons are obvious. President Asif Zardari has fulfilled a long-standing dream of ANP for changing the name of their province from NWFP to their chosen or recommended name, which is now Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.

Secondly, in the wake of Islamic militants’ violence, suicide bombing, target killing, subversion in the tribal belt and the Pashto speaking areas, the ANP government desperately needs the military and federal government’s support to face, fight, and fend off the tenacious militants. For ANP to forsake coalition with PPP is out of question and suicidal for this party.

As for religious parties with Maulana Fazalur Rehman in the lead, The PMLN will have to work overtime to win their support and wean them to the new dissident alliance that might defeat the sitting power partners on the floor of the national assembly. But keeping in view the time-tested fact that in politics there are always unpredictable possibilities, JUI may opt for a revolt to strengthen the anti- government bloc.  

In the national Assembly, according to 2008 elections, the main party PPPP has 130 seat, PMLN 95, PMLQ 55, ANP 13, MQM 25, MML 6, PML (functional) 5, PPP (Sherpao) 1,National Peoples party 1 and Baluchistan National Awami party (BNP) 1. Besides, there are 18 independents. The coalition partners in the PPPP led government are, MQM, JUI (F) ANP, FATA members, PML (F), BNP, and four independents.

There are altogether 342 seats in the National Assembly including 60 women’s reserved seat and 10 for the minorities. Any sitting government needs a simple majority of 173 seats to remain in power. If by any chance, the proponents of the new alliance can muster over 170 votes in the National Assembly, the government can fall and thus can be replaced with the group having majority.

This can be done if MQM withdraws its support from the government and at the same time, all the Muslim leagues join hands to beef up the new alliance. Even without getting any seats from the women or minorities, the new alliance can defeat the sitting alliance by a few votes. However, if some women’s votes and of minorities can be acquired, then the new alliance would become a formidable force to stay at the helm until the new elections.

This kind of arrangement might be in the mind of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan when he hinted at bringing about the in-house change, which is not a tall order if seen in the backdrop of fast plummeting popularity graph of the sitting coalition government.

(The writer is a Dallas-based freelance journalist and a former diplomat writing mostly on International Affairs with specific focus on Pakistan and the United States).


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  • Ghias  On October 13, 2010 at 4:19 am

    “A charade to fool Pakistani people…”

  • Zain I. Syed  On October 13, 2010 at 5:20 am

    An in-house change is not an option. A change may take place but it has to be engineered by the Army or the American Raj or if the SC feels it has had enough of the PPP antics. Till such time all three are comfy with the current dispensation a change is simply out of the question. The numbers just do not add up!

  • Suresh Dodani  On October 13, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Ch. Nisar is the DELIVERY boy of PML-N……….he spoiled completely Nawaz Sharif’s MIND ( although most disagree either NS has mind)…He is trying his best to develop relation with MILITARY again to GRAB power….Rubbish man..?

  • AVM Syed Ataur Rahman (Retd)  On October 13, 2010 at 7:17 am

    PPP is bad, really bad, but so is PML(N). Are they any better? They will take over and start eating up whatever is left of the country, and PPP will become the pathetic political martyrs. This all sounds terrible. The Army under no circumstances should take over, much that many of our countrymen want. The solution is their Lordships should act. If the government is not keen to implement their decisions the Army who will no doubt be requested implement the orders must come down heavily and subsequently force a national government with no more that 12 federal ministers and strictly lay down guidelines to salvage the country (These can be worked out). The best Pakistani brains must be brought back to correct the national economy. Heavy responsibilities are on the shoulders of General Kiani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry if we are to come out of this malaise.

  • Arbab Mehr  On October 13, 2010 at 10:37 am

    who will change ? as all the beneficiaries NAWAZ , ZARDARI ,JUDICIARY and ARMY are enjoying their life without interference of any one ,it is only awam who were made fool by these elements to grab and enjoy power

  • Arbab Mehr  On October 13, 2010 at 10:37 am


  • mian saleem  On October 14, 2010 at 1:20 am

    It is being rumoured that midterm elections are on the table and Musharraf will be back in power – courtesy of US

  • Zain I. Syed  On October 14, 2010 at 1:21 am

    We, the people, of Pakistan will decide who will be in power. We decided in favor of Mr. Zardari, the last time. Why do we have to blame the US every time we screw-up!

  • mian saleem  On October 14, 2010 at 9:53 am

    The day people of Pakistan will gain the courage to elect candidates of their own choice the fate of the country will change for good. So long the leaders and the nation remains subservient to US, people will continue to suffer. . Watch the interviews of former ISI chiefs you will find out how the polls were rigged.
    Let me also update you,- when Musharraf took over, US Ambassador was at the GHQ to welcome him, although the news was that coup happened due to his sacking whilst he was in the air. Furthermore 90% of the population is illiterate not only mentally but also physically and purposely the people are kept in this shape so that the ruling elite who are slaves to US can continue to control the masses. I wonder you have read the statement of Angelina Jolie. So please do not have any wishful thinking.

  • Suresh Dodani  On October 14, 2010 at 9:54 am

    As long as the ROLE of agencies is there in country POLITICS …….its almost impossible to have TRANSPARENT DEMOCRACY in Pakistan…..We atleast need 2-3 FAIR elections to survive & estabilish Independent Accountable Institutions…………….!!!!!!!!!!

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