The reports of disagreements between Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its coalition partners in the federal government are worrying. Although no disgruntled party – Sindh’s MQM-P and GDA, Punjab’s PML-Q and Balochistan’s BNP-M – has threatened to leave the alliance as of yet, the ruling party knows that it does not have the numbers to run the government on its own. This is why discussions and possible concessions on part of PTI are necessary to placate estranged partners.

PTI’s traditional confrontational stance will not work in this situation, as risking further disagreement will deal a hammer blow to any hopes of keeping a functional government in place. It is positive to note that the party realises this and has sent portions of its top leadership to find a middle ground with its allies.

Quite obviously, all members of the coalition joined PTI only after they were promised something. BNP-M had signed a six-point agenda, MQM-P wants funds released in Karachi and PML-Q wants the same in Punjab while GDA is looking to improve service delivery in Sindh as well. As far as demands go, these are not outlandish or even all that difficult to promise.

But the PTI government has struggled at times with both fund disbursal and service delivery, and improving its performance in these sectors might not be visible immediately. The good thing though, is that the ruling party probably realises that it has to improve in these facets anyway, and the threat of a breaking coalition is not the only incentive to pull up its socks.

The government needs to improve and perhaps disgruntled allies can help PTI improve upon governance immediately. The current negotiations process will quite obviously include assurances, and it is hoped that a new list of guarantees provided will help in providing immediate fixes to issues such as funds disbursal at the very least. Ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) knows that it must mend the fractures forming with its coalition partners, but this might be easier said than done. One fully expects that the Prime Minister and his core team already know that papering over the cracks and making vague promises will not make this problem go away, it will only deepen divides and make for more disagreements in the future.

Coalition members that hold a smaller share in the government should also remember that they are accountable for the performance of the government as well, and they should take ownership, where possible. Leaving the ruling party at this critical juncture is not helpful and will only derail any progress made over the last year and a half. Negotiations and unity is the only way to persevere through these difficult times.