Pakistan Party Rejoins Coalition to Strengthen House Majority

Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which quit Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s cabinet in June, returned to the government yesterday, further strengthening the majority of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.

“The alliance between the MQM and PPP has taken this decision in the best interests of the country and people,” MQM chief Altaf Hussain said in a statement issued from the party’s London office late last night.

The MQM is the fourth-largest party in the country’s 342-member National Assembly with 25 members.

The third-largest party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid) led by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, also reaffirmed its support for the coalition after overcoming differences in a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday, according to Chaudhry Shahbaz Goshi, a vice president of the party. The group had threatened to quit the government.

The 125-member Peoples Party needs support from allies to overcome opposition from the rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the second-largest party with 91 members, according to the country’s Election Commission.