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Split within MQM-P

07 February, 2018

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KARACHI: The split within the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan over fielding candidates for the March 3 Senate elections became more visible when the two sides — one led by party head Dr Farooq Sattar and the other represented by Amir Khan — held hours-long negotiations at the former’s house on Tuesday night but failed to arrive at a conclusion.

Members of the party’s coordination committee, who only a day before had revolted against Dr Sattar by denying a Senate priority ticket to his favoured candidate Kamran Tessori, arrived at his PIB Colony residence to hold a meeting in a bid to hammer out their differences.

The meeting continued for hours and finally both sides called a truce and agreed not to give any confrontational statement against each other. However, the fate of Mr Tessori and other contentious issues remained undecided as the two sides remained glued to their respective positions.

Briefly talking to media personnel and party workers gathered outside his residence late on Tuesday night, Dr Sattar said a difference of opinion should not be called division. “This is a matter between brothers and we will resolve it by ourselves. The coordination committee has assured me that every member accepts me as the party head.”

Earlier, the two groups spent the whole day consolidating their support base within the party cadres. Almost all the prominent MQM-P leaders — MNAs Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Kanwar Naveed Jameel, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, and a majority of parliamentarians — were with the group supposedly led by Mr Khan.

However, the thin attendance of workers at two places — Bahadurabad headquarters which is in control of Amir Khan and others and a playground in PIB where Dr Sattar announced holding a workers’ convention — seemed to indicate that both the groups lacked support from workers who were apparently uninterested in their power struggle.

On Monday, the coordination committee suspended Mr Tessori for six months. In turn, Dr Sattar held a late-night press conference at his PIB Colony residence, denouncing his opponents for taking an “unconstitutional” step.

The Amir Khan group sent a delegation twice to meet Dr Sattar and persuade him to come to the party’s headquarters in Bahadura­bad to send a clear message that there was no split. But, Dr Sattar asked them to come to his house and attend the workers’ convention.

Finally, those who opposed Dr Sattar’s decision, including Amir Khan, reached his PIB Colony residence after 9.30pm and attended an emergency session of the coordination committee chaired by him.

The first round of talks between the two sides remained inconclusive and it was decided to hold another round on Wednesday (today).

Before leaving for PIB Colony, MQM leader Faisal Subzwari told reporters that the coordination committee had no disagreement with anyone, including Mr Tessori, and that, if needed, they were ready to swallow a bitter pill.

Also on Tuesday, Dr Sattar approached the Election Commission of Pakistan with a handwritten application asking it to issue 20 nomination forms. He also informed the party’s dissidents that being the head of the MQM-P he would himself nominate party candidates for the Senate polls.

The party had already decided to field six candidates — Nasreen Jalil (on first priority), followed by Dr Farogh Nasim, Aminul Haq, Shabbir Qaimi, Amir Khan and Mr Tessori — for six Senate seats. However, Dr Sattar wanted to drop Mr Qaimi and field Mr Tessori in his place.

The MQM-P faction was formed on Aug 23, 2016 by Dr Sattar

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