Pakistan Government Fights to Survive

Pakistan's government is fighting to stay in power after a key coalition partner defected, leaving it without a majority in parliament.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of the ruling Pakistan People's Party met with opposition leaders on Monday in a bid to save the coalition and avert a possible no-confidence vote.

Mr. Gilani held talks with the two largest opposition parties -- the Pakistan Muslim League-Q and the Pakistan Muslim League-N, which is the party of former Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Gilani told reporters that opposition leaders do not want the democratic system to be derailed and planned to meet on Tuesday to discuss the political situation.

Pakistan's government suffered a major political blow on Sunday when the second largest party of the ruling coalition, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, announced it was ending its partnership with the government.

The MQM has been at odds with the government over tax reforms, increased fuel prices and efforts to improve security.