Ikramullah The first parliamentary year of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan passed smoothly without any serious challenge to the ruling party. As a gesture of national reconciliation, opposition parties in Parliament joined the PPP in unanimously electing both the President and Prime Minister. The MQM, ANP, JUI-F and became PPPs allies in government. And as Mian Nawaz Sharif also joined with his partys 91 Members in the National Assembly, a new, politically diverse national government had been formed. However, the PML-N and the PPP honeymoon did not last very long. The rest is history. Then the second parliamentary year saw cracks appearing within the PPP-led government. The failing economy, trust deficit at the international level, growing inflation, rising corruption, the breakdown of law and order and terrorism, had created unrest at the Centre, especially when the western border was facing a war-like situation, necessitating military operations to restore the writ of the state in Swat, Dir, Mohmand Agency, Bajaur and South Waziristan. As if that were not enough, the situation in Sindh and Balochistan worsened soon after the end of the second year of the National Assembly on March 16, 2010. The floods of biblical proportions devastated millions of lives, who were uprooted from their land. I dont believe that there is something ominous with the figure 13, but nothing seems to go right with the Assembly after March 2010. The result of the series of events, at home and abroad, seems to have hit the ruling alliance hard, particularly since the JUI-F announced to quit the coalition. In my columns, I have already expressed serious apprehensions that it should be taken as the first drop of rain preceding a storm, which may rock the alliance. Everyone took the Maulana lightly, but the past weeks have proved otherwise. Surprisingly, the leaders of the ruling party could not forecast the gathering storm till it burst when the relations between the MQM and the PPP oscillated wildly due to Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirzas remarks, resulting in the resignation of the MQM ministers from the Cabinet. Strangely, the PML-N and MQM have also jumped in, further complicating the political situation. At the same time, JUI-Fs demand for PM Gilanis resignation has added a new dimension and will make the confusion worse confounded. For the first time, apprehensions about an in-house change are being openly discuss. Although the MQM has not yet declared its future course of action like the JUI-F its quitting the coalition cannot be ruled out. With the dawn of 2011, all eyes are set on the combinations and permutations of the number game in the National Assembly. But this does not mean that with the pulling out of the MQM from the ruling alliance, the PPP government will fall. That would be too far-fetched. However, it will put the government in somewhat embarrassing position, even if no vote of confidence is moved against the Gilani government. However, it is hard to believe that the PML-N, with its 91 members in Parliament, would drop its support for the government. And with 127 PPP MNAs, there is little chance of its falling, even if all the other parties part their ways from the ruling set-up; for the government needs 172 votes to stay in power. Nevertheless, the PPP alone as a minority government, without the PML-N becoming part of the coalition, would mean lots of complications that the PPP might find it difficult to encounter. Let us hope that the New Year brings a silver lining to the dark clouds presently hovering over Pakistans horizon. The writer is the President of the Pakistan National Forum.