LAHORE The JUI (F)s decision to quit the PPP-led coalition on Tuesday has created a new political situation in the country, the future direction of which is difficult to predict for the time being. The religious partys decision was as abrupt and astonishing as was the Prime Ministers order to sack a JUI (F) Minister Azam Swati alongwith PPPs Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi. Kazmi was being accused of involvement in irregularities in Haj operation. Though he was consistently pleading not guilty, the JUI (F) Minister was vehemently insisting that it was because of Kazmi that thousands of Hajis had to face a very tough time during the Haj days, especially in Mina where they did not get tents, water, food and even toilets. So serious were the allegations and so high was the number of sufferers that the Supreme Court took a suo moto notice of the scam when the media highlighted it. Both the Ministers were making allegations and counter-allegations. The Prime Minister tried to gag them. However, they continued their attacks against each other. The Prime Minister sacked both of them, hoping that the move would settle the issue and win laurels for the government. However, it was a gross miscalculation. The complainant and the accused cannot be given the same treatment. The situation would have been different if the Prime Minister had sacked Kazmi and then waited for the outcome of the proceedings going on in the apex court. Had the accusations proved baseless, Gilani would have been justified in taking the sternest possible action against Swati. However, he did not like to wait for the court verdict. Now the JUI (F)s decision has put the government in a difficult position, mainly because it doesnt have the majority in the House. In addition to JUI (F), the MQM, the PML (F) and many other groups had joined hands to enable the Prime Minister to form the govt at Centre. The PPP has about 125 MNAs and requires the support of some four dozen more legislators to be able to have simple majority. The coalition would survive despite the JUI (F)s decision provided all other allies stood behind the PPP. However, its anybodys guess whether they will. The relations between the MQM and the PPP are already strained. Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza continues to subject the MQM to severe criticism on various occasions. Because of the allegations levelled by Zulfiqar Mirza, the MQM will be justified in bidding farewell to the coalition at the Centre and in Sindh. However, in case it doesnt, it will be due to factors beyond the imagination of the common person. Their decision will give an indication about the shape of things to come. In case the MQM also took a similar decision to that of the JUI (F), the fate of the government will be sealed unless the government found some other major ally. The guessing game has already started and some TV channels speculated on Tuesday that the country was heading for fresh elections during the next few months. To ensure its survival, Law Minister Babar Awan has established a fresh contact with the PML-Q leadership. He had met Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in Lahore a few weeks ago when the MQM had expressed serious differences with the PPP on the issue of the Reformed General Sales Tax(RGST). Many were of the view then that the MQM would quit the coalition. Babar Awans meeting with Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was aimed at sending a strong message to both the MQM and the PML-N that the PPP could go for cooperation with its arch rival PML-Q for a new coalition at the Centre and in Punjab. However, no further progress was reported on this front. Although the PPPs offer to the PML-Q is still there, the latter is not willing to join hands at this difficult stage when the government is dying to have the RGST Bill passed to be able to get more assistance from the IMF. The first priority of the PML-Q leadership is to find some way to unite all factions of the PML. The PML-N says it would not like to be part of any move against the government. However, it is too early to say anything about the policy of the party. As they say, the only thing that can be predicted about Pakistans politics is that it is unpredictable.