This is a confusing one; Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has announced that he is resigning from his post as Minister for Information Technology because he cannot continue being part of a non-performing federal cabinet, but his party will not abandon the government despite its reservations.

This half-hearted step makes very little sense; if the objective was to deliver a strong symbolic message to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government and the public at large, all the MQM-P has been able to do is send mixed signals. If that was not enough to muddy the waters, the resignation comes on the heels of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari offering MQM-P ministerial portfolios in Sindh if they quit the federal government and help topple Imran Khan.

Will this personal resignation suffice to trigger the PPP Chairman’s condition? Is the MQM-P trying to give public overtures of its intentions to the Sindh government for a more explicit offer? Is the party trying to get the best of both worlds? Or is it a personal act by the MQM-P leader, hoping to gain in Sindh but allowing his party to remain in power in the Centre?

The last explanation seems the most likely. Although Mr Siddiqui clarified that the “announcement has no connection” to the PPP’s offer, the timing is too proximate for it to mean anything else. Furthermore, following PPP leader’s comments, MQM-P had not explicitly rejected the offer but described it as a “non-serious attempt”. This implies that a more serious attempt might be considered.

Regardless of which narrative is to be believed, this partial rejection of the PTI government has only weakened the political integrity of the MQM-P. Their criticisms of the government ring hollow if they are ultimately supporting them in the federal government. Pragmatism is a byword for politicians, but here it has hurt the MQM-P, while the benefit to its convener is not obvious at all.