The new power loci emerging in Karachi’s political landscape under the PPP, PTI and MQM-P troika has the potential to not only reconfigure the dynamics of political alliances but also redefine the governance of the challenging mega-polis.

In the culminating alliance of convenience between sworn adversaries PTI and MQM-P, PTI gets a stronghold in the centre while the MQM-P receives the PTI’s help in reconstituting its power under the local government structure in Karachi- for while the party remains splintered, it still embodies the city government.

While the PPP maintains its hold in the provincial government, the power vacuum left in Karachi by the splintered hold of the MQM has given the PTI an unprecedented bid at parliamentary representation from the city. For the PTI, beyond reaching a majority in the National Assembly, a partnership with the MQM-P gives it a power centre in the PPP dominated province, making ties and inroads at local level politics, something it has hitherto lacked. Concomitantly, MQM aims to claw back local functions like law enforcement from the PPP dominated provincial government through reforms endorsed by PTI’s parliamentary standing.

So will this marriage last? Well, to keep the MQM-P from jumping ship, the PTI has already promised the party a special federal package for Karachi, with an emphasis on the provision of water, Sindh police reforms, attention to education and addressing auditing concerns in flagged constituencies. For MQM, the goal remains emancipating local and municipal governments and expanding their discretionary powers, breaking away from the overbearing role of the provincial government as vested by the 18th Amendment. With the MQM itself in disarray, the agreement is a determined step in reconsolidating the MQM hold in the city, along with negotiating for operations targeting the party being suspended.

With the PPP in the Opposition benches in the parliament and holding strong as the provincial government in Sindh, and given the adversarial track between PTI and MQM, a politics of confrontation might prevail. However, if the PTI, MQM-P and PPP do commit to the more imperative issue of reviving Karachi, it can go along way for the socio-economic issues of the denizens of the city. The uneasy alliance between the once-sworn adversaries is one of political expedience yet, if all three parties sharing power in province are able to reach consensus on the more imperative issues plaguing the city, it could prove to be a boon for the province.