Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

16 January 2020, Thursday

After the MQM, PTI's coalition conundrum expands to PML-Q

PML-Q and BNP have different demands in Punjab and Sindh respectively

PR Daily Brief | D. Suba Chandran

16 January 2020, Thursday

What happened?
Following the resignation of MQM's Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui from the federal cabinet, Tariq Bashir Cheema, another federal Minister of Housing and Works stopped taking part in the cabinet meetings. Cheema belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) which is a coalition partner of the PTI – both at the national assembly and in the provincial assembly of Punjab.

The PML-Q currently has five seats in the Parliament and 10 in the Punjab provincial assembly.

What is the background?
Out of the 342 seats in the Parliament, the PTI today has 149 seats. The party needs the support of the coalition members that include the MQM-P, PML-Q, BNP and GDA. PML-N and PPP – the two primary opposition parties to the PTI have 82 and 54 seats respectively. 

In the Punjab provincial assembly, out of 371 seats, PTI has only 181 seats. The primary opposition in Punjab – the PML-N has 166 seats. With ten seats, support of the PML-Q is crucial for the PTI to run the provincial government in Punjab. Political support of the PML-Q is essential for the PTI – both at the provincial and national levels.

The primary differences of the PML-Q and the MQM-P with the PTI are local. Both the partners – PML-Q and MQM-P from Punjab and Sindh respectively have their main interests at the provincial levels. In Sindh, MQM-P's vote bank is primarily in Karachi; since the primary competition in Karachi is vis-à-vis the PPP, the MQM-P wants to be seen as doing something in the city. Hence it wants the PTI to do more in Karachi. 

On the other hand, PML-Q's primary grievances are in Punjab. The provincial government led by the PTI wants to expand its footprints in Punjab, as its primary opponent – the PML-N under the Sharifs still have a more significant influence. The PML-Q seeks to have more space, especially in those constituencies from where it has won, and in those where it would be able to win. From transfers to appointments, the PML-Q wants a free hand in select districts of Punjab.

Besides the MQM-P and PML-Q, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) is another partner from Sindh, with one seat at the Parliament and three in Sindh provincial assembly. The GDA is also unhappy with the coalition, as it feels that the PTI is not honouring the understanding.

The PTI government has formed multiple teams under Pervez Khattak and Asad Umar to appease the coalition partners in Punjab and Sindh respectively.

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