As predicted, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has announced their plan to withdraw their resignations submitted earlier and rejoin the national and provincial assemblies and the Senate from next week onwards. They caused a disruption at the national level, and now that things have cooled with the security operations against the MQM, and Altaf Hussain seems a little quieter, the team has come crawling back. But what did they gain?

In a nicely executed U-turn, the MQM leader Farooq Sattar thanked the government for showing “political maturity and resolving all issues in an amicable manner” and said that the government had taken the party’s resignations seriously from day one. Early September, they withdrew from talks with the government (for a second time), alleging that the government was not serious about the dialogue process. Thus one must ask the government: when does a resignation become a resignation in Pakistan?

The party had simultaneously resigned from the National Assembly, Senate and the Sindh Assembly in August over what it said were “excesses” committed by security forces against its workers and members during the Rangers-led operation in Karachi. Have the “excesses” ended? The MQM should clearly mention what has been offered by government for withdrawal of resignations, and what fell in place for them.

This is important for the MQM and Mohajir community, who the MQM professes to represent. Ishaq Dar has also announced the formation of a complaint redressal committee, to complete its work on complaints received within 90 days. The redressal committee will have the secretary interior as its convener, and the committee will comprise five members. The member’s names will be announced after consultations with the MQM.

So, is the construction of a redressal committee by the government enough for them? And what about the court decision concerning the censorship of Altaf Hussain’s speeches and media projections? Where does the MQM stand on that? A better justification is needed for the behaviour of the parliamentarians. Right now it just feels like the MQM threw a tantrum in anger, and just needed a time-out. Or, that one of the sides, either the government and security apparatus, or the MQM itself, was able to extract its pound of flesh. In all seriousness, the MQM has just jerked the political system around, and now it is back to square one. This type of manipulation is really bad for party workers and committed supporters, and bad for political stability.