Sun, Jan 09, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Pakistan averts political collapse

POWER PLAYS:Some analysts say the Muttahida Qaumi Movement might have defected to gain more power in Karachi after its leader announced it would rejoin the government

AP, KARACHI, PAKISTAN

“There’s a good chance it’ll complete its mandated tenure, but it will do so literally continuing to stumble and sputter from one crisis to the next,” he said.

It is unclear how the country’s main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), will respond to the MQM’s decision to rejoin the ruling coalition.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif gave the People’s Party a six-day ultimatum on Tuesday to agree to a series of demands to avert the government’s collapse, including reversing the fuel price hikes, reducing government expenditures and removing party officials allegedly involved in corruption.

Political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said MQM’s quick reversal means PML-N “has been left out in the cold” and will reduce the opposition’s ability to put pressure on the ruling party.

Also on Friday, a suspected US missile strike killed six alleged militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region along the Afghan border, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

North Waziristan is dominated by al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militant groups whose focus is attacking US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The US has pushed Pakistan to launch an offensive in the area, but the army says it is too stretched with other operations against insurgents.

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