MQM stole some of Tahir-ul-Qadri’s thunder on Sunday, with an announcement that it was to quit the Sindh government; for all the love and support that it has given to the PPP, it has received none back. Basically what it seemed to come down to at their press conferences was that Boy Wonder Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, had hurt their feelings in his Oct 18 rally though his repeated “verbal attacks.” That he had divided the province into “Sindh 1 and Sindh 2.” The decision to separate shows that the MQM is desperately trying to remain relevant to Pakistan, when it is actually only relevant in urban Sindh.

While the MQM would like to see more provinces carved out, so as to once and for all have Karachi in its grip, the PPP is vocally leaning the opposite way. The PPP wants Sindh; it is the only thing it might have after Imran, Qadri and Nawaz are done with Punjab, (now that South Punjab too has swayed away), and the MQM is a force to reckon with in Karachi. As for the agenda to have more provinces, no one has yet discussed this seriously, much less the PPP, even though in the past it supported the break up of the Punjab to create a province in the Seraiki speaking belt. There is something to the argument that Pakistan needs more provinces, to aid better administration and inject a level of autonomy into local governments, but the MQM agenda is a little more self-loving than this; they want Karachi and Hyderabad, the heart of Sindh, and to rule securely over a majority.

It is all half-baked, and it will continue to be. Between the PPP and MQM, no one really sticks to what they say. The MQM is notorious for this; its own chief Altaf Hussain stepped down from party leadership and then decided to step back up. In January, Altaf Hussain said that Sindh was like his mother and could never be partitioned. The MQM has been in and out of governments before. Behind the curtains it could also be possible that the MQM is waiting for Rehman Malik to cook up a new deal as the PPP seems unfazed by the announcements. Yet, Altaf Bhai did come out on the side of the PTI-PAT circus, saying that the MQM must follow the spirit of the times, and so “Go Nawaz Go!” it is. Is the germination of a new MQM-PTI alliance completely inconceivable? Now that the PPP have lost their hold over South Punjab, would the MQM seek other alliances that are relevant in the Punjab? The MQM is also trying to get rid of the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khurshid Shah. It can do so if it decides to support PTI, and if PTI withdraws it resignations. A lot of “ifs” here, and probably not enough meat or thought put into their decision to form speculations with any degree of certainty. The MQM decision to separate did after all, come less than 24 hours after Bilawal’s speech. It’s a lot of drama, and not wrong to wonder if the uncertainty is exactly what the MQM wants to play at. However, the PPP will have to address the problem as an issue, and ask itself if it is fast being viewed as an irrelevant party by the rest of the lot.