Pakistan in political crisis amid allegations of flooding aid corruption The embattled government of President Asif Ali Zardari slipped further into crisis after its largest coalition partner called for a military coup to tackle corruption and failures over flooding. Altaf Hussain, the leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), said the political establishment's lacklustre response to the severe flooding should provoke an uprising. He called on "patriotic generals to initiate martial-law-like steps against federal politicians" and legal proceedings against those "who save their crops and divert floods towards the localities as well as villages of the poor". In a country where most leading politicans are also titled hereditary landlords, he called for a French Revolution-style redistribution of land between the classes in response to unprecedented destruction. More than 15 million people have been affected and are at risk of diseases from contaminated water. The rising waters have killed more than 1,500 people. Mr Hussain, who is exiled in Britain, spoke to supporters in Karachi via telephone. His comments represented a threat to Yousuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, whose Pakistan People's Party relies on the 25 MQM members of the National Assembly for a majority. While Pakistan's military has been praised for its decisive and rapid response to the flooding emergency, Mr Zardari and Mr Gilani's government has been roundly criticised for being slow to react and mounting a poorly orchestrated civilian campaign. Nadeem Ahmad, the former general who heads Pakistan's civilian relief effort, is said to be "deeply unhappy" over political interference by prominent figures in the PPP to ensure their supporters are at the front of the queue for aid. Officials at Gen Nadeem's National Disaster Management Authority said their efforts had been undermined by politicians diverting helicopters and demanding food or medicine for their constituencies at the expense of others. Mr Hussain is widely viewed as a political opportunist. Members of his party in Pakistan have unsavoury reputations for ties to political violence. But his political movement has shown an astute sense of the balance of power, having been aligned with most of the governments of the past 10 years. On Monday attention focused on the southern province of Sindh, where tens of thousands of people have fled a surge of water as monsoon rains course along the Indus. Mr Zardari took control of the PPP after the assassination of his wife, Benazir Bhutto, in 2007. He became president a year later, but has been dogged by low approval ratings and corruption allegations. Analysts said there was little stomach among the generals or the wider population for a return to military rule only two years after the restoration of democracy. However, a change of government through a confidence vote after defections from the ruling bloc has become likely. As president, Mr Zardari would not lose his fixed-term position even if the PPP government fell. But if the opposition took over it would be likely to initiate impreachment proceedings that could drive the leadership into exile. Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst, said the MQM comments were significant as the first direct call for the military to step in amid growing public anger. "There's no coup around the corner but it strengthens the role of the military in politics," he said. Mr Zardari's decision to fly to France, where his family owns a chateau, and Britain as the flooding crisis unfolded cemented his image as being out of touch. His government was already mired in a deep economic crisis and struggling to tackle militants along the border with Afghanistan even before the floods. Farahnaz Ispahani, an adviser to Mr Zardari, said Mr Hussain's comments were intended for his party faithful.