THE Prime Ministers announcement that the bifurcation of Hyderabad District was unjust and would soon be undone has, quite expectedly, raised the political temperature in Sindh province, as the MQM has come out opposing it in the strongest terms. First of all, recalling how the division actually took place. It was during Musharrafs undemocratic times that the district was divided into two, without taking into account the wishes of the people concerned, apparently to provide a political edge to the MQM, which alone wanted the bifurcation. Members of the aggrieved party, the PPP, have been pointing to the sprawling provincial capital Karachi, which houses, according to one estimate, between 13-14 million people. They argue that if Karachi, that keeps getting even more residents from all over the country can stay intact, there was no justification whatsoever for Hyderabad to be cut into two; for it has much fewer inhabitants compared to Karachi. Mr Gilani, who made the statement at the Hyderabad PPP convention held on Saturday, has not spoken since. But other PPP stalwarts - Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Sindh senior Minister Pir Mazharul Haq - have been in contact with the MQM Rabita Committee in an attempt to settle the matter amicably. Reportedly, the MQM, turning down the PMs proposal, categorically declared that it was not interested in discussing the matter at all and would like the President to intervene and announce that there would be no reversal of the division of the district. MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, speaking from his headquarters in London, has termed the reunification idea a conspiracy to set off ethnic riots in Sindh. While urging the people not to fall prey to the nationalist sentiments, he believed that those promoting the idea were the agents of feudal landlords. He justified the division as an attempt to end the urban-rural divide in the province. Before the situation could take an ugly turn, should the two parties stick to their stands, one hopes that political commonsense would prevail. The MQM policymakers ought to appreciate the grievances of the PPP that mainly represents the original population of the province. After all, people look up to democracies to undo the wrongs done to them by dictatorial regimes, and now that a democratic era has been ushered in, the leadership should remove the irritant. The MQM must not make the issue of the reunification of Hyderabad a prestige point and let the process take its due course. Such matters are resolved in a spirit of reconciliation through dialogue.