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In trying to make some sense out of the news from Pakistan about the crisis in the government's ruling coalition, here are a couple important lines:
-- "The shift in the political landscape is not expected to lead to a collapse of the fragile government." (Associated Press)
-- "The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says [President Asif Ali] Zardari's show of confidence means the prime minister's job is safe for now, leaving the ball in the opposition's court." (BBC News)
NPR's Corey Flintoff, who's in Islamabad, summed up the news this way:
"The crisis began Sunday, when the second-largest party walked out of the ruling coalition in a dispute over government plans to raise fuel prices. The party that bolted, called MQM, said a fuel price hike would be unbearable to ordinary Pakistanis, who already face severe inflation.
"Pakistan's prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, could be forced out of office if the opposition parties unite to call a vote of no confidence. The situation is a concern for the United States, which provides Pakistan with billions of dollars in military aid, and wants the government to crack down on Islamist militants who cross the border to fight in Afghanistan."