ISLAMABAD - JAVAID-UR-RAHMAN- Whether it is the work of Interior Minister’s back channel contacts or some after thoughts in Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) rank and file, as the party has started slow but gradual reviewing of its earlier decision to join Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri long march.

Though they may not speak it publicly as Altaf Hussain, Muttahida’s London based Qauid, had already asked the workers to throng Qadri’s long march, yet sources privy to the background developments in Nine Zero and London Secretariat of MQM say “senior and saner” leaders of the party have advised the Quaid and more sentimental lower ranks to adopt a cautious approach.

“MQM is still indecisive to join Tahir-ul-Qadri’s long march on January 14, as party’s Rabita Committee keeping in view all pros and cons will thoroughly deliberate the matter today (Thursday),” sources in MQM told TheNation.

Some MQM leaders think the only plus in joining the Qadri-led campaign at the moment is to pressurise the government as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan to stay away from the Supreme Court ordered fresh delimitation and voters’ verification exercise.

And if the PPP gives a go ahead to the MQM in the days to come to play a limited time opposition’s role in run up to the caretaker setup, that would give both parties a wide space to bring about a consensus care taker setup in the province, beneficial mutually, these leaders believe.    Critics however observe that over the last many years MQM had been adopting the same tactics to hobnob with opposition forces while remaining seated at he treasury benches to extract maximum political benefit. In fact, the party is enjoying government benches since year 2002, and its Governor enjoys a distinction of being longest ever provincial governor in the history of Pakistan, observers say.

When contacted, MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil said Muttahida’s Rabita Committee will deliberate this matter either to participate in march or not. “Still final decision has not been taken..Rabita Committee will see the matter thoroughly,” he said adding that MQM will always support the slogan of electoral reforms. To a question, He said that MQM has not decided to part ways with PPP government in future. However, he rushed to remark that all the matters related to it would come in discussion in party’s crucial meeting.

MQM is not going to agitate against PPP government on this matter, as Muttahida’s support to him (Qadri) is because of almost the same manifestos. “Support to Tahir-ul-Qadri is never meant to alienate PPP as a coalition partner, “ he maintained.

When asked about any electoral alliance, he said that MQM would never go for pre election alliance with any party.

But for the time being, observing the sudden clear tilt of its centre and Sindh province coalition partner, the MQM, towards Minhaj-ul-Quran chief, PPP’s has recently deputed Rehman Malik to carry out the damage control.

In PPP’s first move, sources said, Interior Minister Rehman Malik rushed to Karachi with the message and request for the MQM’s high command not to support Qadri in his January’s march, and confine itself to Qadri’s support in the Punjab. Malik did not oppose the MQM’s move to participate in Lahore’s public gathering recently rather appreciated it, as Qadr’s covert messages has also triggered panic in the ranks of main opposition party, the PML-N.

Sources said that the PPP’s timely intervention is slowly making grounds in the Muttahida folds persuading it to backtrack from its stance as MQM has still not given final nod to join the March.

Earlier, following the Qadri’s rhetoric to end the corrupt political system, hereditary leadership and outdated feudal system, the MQM promptly offered its support and even attended the gigantic public gathering in Lahore, last Sunday.

The party’s leadership even advised the MQM workers from all over the country, especially those in Punjab, to prepare for Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s call for action by the mid of next month (January).