The PML-Q has joined the PPP central government as part of the latters attempts to shore up its numerical position in the National Assembly before the passage of the 2010-11 budget. The PML-Q may well have driven a hard bargain with regard to the number of ministries, state ministries and PMs adviserships it is to be allotted, but its real concerns have to do with the next election, which is why other questions gain in importance. One question that arises is that of the Unification Bloc. While the main Unification Bloc, that of the Punjab Assembly, stops the PPP and the PML-Q from joining hands to form the government there, it represents a loss of strength in the National Assembly where they are most needed. Another dimension is the relationship of both parties with the MQM. Both are allies, but the alliances are separate from any alliance with the PPP, and now place the PML-Q in a position that did not previously exist, but which it must share with the MQM. Previously, the MQM had the veto power on the government majority, and it is perhaps to get out of this situation that the PML-Q alliance was so assiduously sought. But it should be noted that the PML-Q does not come into this position, for its entry has not led to the MQM leaving. Rather, the opposite, the MQM is now willing to get into the Cabinet it has been absent from for so long. The PML-Q was probably pushed towards this new alliance by the cases in which PML-Q Punjab President Ch Parvez Elahis son Moonis Elahi is involved, but one of the most important factors must have been the desire of the PML-Q members to be in office. This was a party of power, founded mostly out of factions of the PML(N) and the PPP who had been won over by the Musharraf regime. Another reason why the PML-Q decided to take office now was because General (retd) Musharraf, for whose support the party had been called into being, has abandoned it by founding a party of his own. However, while PML-Qs motives might be reasonably clear in making the alliance, the PPPs need for it would depend on the pressure it was feeling from the MQM, which controlled its majority in Parliament. It might also be remembered that the MQM-PML-Q combination is coming together with the PPP with a view to future elections, which are not very far off, with early 2013 as the last possible date on which they might be held. However, whether the junior partners can make the senior partner sacrifice at election time, or if the alliance even survives till then, remains to be seen.