MQM-P remains divided over Senate candidates - Pakistan Today

MQM-P remains divided over Senate candidates

  • Sattar-led group nominates Kamran Tessori, Farhan Chisti,  Ahmed Chinoy, Hasan Feroz, Nighat Shamim and Mangla Sharma; whereas Rabita Committee names Farogh Naseem, Nasreen Jalil, Abdul Qadir Khanzada and Ameenul Haq 
  • Farooq Sattar blames media for blowing things out of proportion 
  • Faisal Sabzwari says rift can gravely damage the party

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Farooq Sattar and the party’s Rabita (Coordination) Committee have separately submitted nomination papers to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after both groups failed to agree on the Senate candidates’ names.

Entering the fourth day of the controversy over the nomination of candidates and a widening rift, the Sattar-led group on Thursday announced the candidates for Senate and nominated Kamran Tessori and Farhan Chisti for general seats; Ahmed Chinoy and Hasan Feroz for technocrat seats; Nighat Shamim for the women’s seat; and Mangla Sharma for the minority seat.

The candidates, including Kamran Tessori, Jamal Ahmed, Waseem Qureshi and Farhan Chishti, submitted their nomination papers from Sattar’s group before the end of the Thursday deadline.

The rebellious Rabita Committee members based in Bahadurabad headquarters of the party also named their candidates, followed by Farogh Naseem, Nasreen Jalil, Abdul Qadir Khanzada and Ameenul Haq submitting their nomination papers.

The committee members and the Sattar-led group, who are at loggerheads over the names for the Senate seats, earlier announced that they will continue deliberations to resolve their differences and a committee was also formed to diffuse tensions among the party leaders.

Both groups told reporters that they would discuss the nomination, and that the nominations of all candidates other than the four final names both groups would decide on would be withdrawn.

The differences in opinion seem to be taking a toll on the party’s leaders though. Upon their arrival at the ECP, Sattar and coordination committee members Waseem Akhtar and Faisal Sabzwari became teary-eyed as they met each other.

SATTAR SAYS NO DIFFERENCES IN MQM-P:

Speaking to reporters, Dr Sattar said, “Today, we are submitting nomination forms of a few members and after the date of withdrawal will finalise candidates with the consultation of Rabita Committee.”

Speaking to reporters on his way back from the ECP, Dr Sattar claimed there were no differences within the MQM-P, adding that “we would have sorted this issue [earlier] but the media made it look like there was no solution to the problem.”

Sattar also rubbished media reports about Farogh Naseem pitching the idea of Sattar’s removal as the party chief while stressing that the media blew things out of proportion.

“No matter what you [the media] say, I don’t believe he can say that,” he said.

However, earlier in the day Dr Sattar expressed reservations on Rabita Committee member Faisal Sabzwari’s press conference, in which the committee questioned the policies of Sattar as the party chief.

“I promised the negotiators that I was coming so what was the hurry in doing the press conference. When I came to know about it, I immediately called Khawaja Izhar and Kanwar Naveed to stop them, we are coming,” he said.

Subzwari was bitter in his presser, Sattar said, adding that the Bahadurabad faction of the party was constantly showing him the party’s constitution for point scoring.

Sattar, irked by the party committee’s meeting, said that the party meeting was unconstitutional because he didn’t permit that.

RIFT IS DAMAGING:

Dr Farooq Sattar’s optimism was, however, not shared by the committee member, Faisal Sabzwari.

Speaking to media outside the ECP office in Karachi, Sabzwari said that he hoped that the rift between the two sides would be filled soon as it will make matters worse and none of us wants that.

Pointing out the gravity of the situation, the member of the MQM-P committee said that the party suffered more in these four weeks than it had during the controversial botched alliance with the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP).

Sabzwari invited Sattar to join the reconciliations, saying that the doors of the Bahadurabad office were open to Sattar and he can come anytime and chair a meeting of the committee in order [for both groups] to reach a consensus.

KHAWAJA IZHAR REMAINS HOPEFUL:

MQM-P leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan — the broker— is hopeful that the rift will be bridged.

Speaking to journalists, he said that there was no trust deficit between the two groups and Sattar and the Rabita Committee will reason out the issue at a suitable time.

He said that some elements had been spreading misinformation to create confusion, stressing that these elements had been exposed.

Dispelling the rumours, he further said that the workers will not be divided under any circumstances. “MQM-P was united and shall remain united,” he had said.

START OF TROUBLE:

Rumours of a split in the party were rife after Sattar abruptly left a party meeting on February 5 over a disagreement on nominations of Senate candidates with senior party leader and deputy convener Amir Khan.

Sattar’s blue-eyed party leader, Kamran Tessori, was removed from the list by the Rabita Committee after which Sattar had abruptly left the meeting and called a subsequent meeting of the party workers and leaders at his residence in the PIB.

Following the open revolt against the party chief, MQM-P Rabita Committee in late night presser had also suspended Kamran Tessori from the party for six months and also removed him from the committee.

Sattar had taken this as insolence and told reporters in a late presser that Amir Khan-group wanted to take over the party from him. He also complained that he cannot accept being treated as the ceremonial head of the party.

After the pressers of the Rabia Committee and Dr Sattar, a reconciliation committee was constituted to defuse the tensions within the party ranks.

Sattar has often been criticised for favouring Tessori over seasoned party leaders and workers. A jeweller-turned politician, Kamran Tessori, swiftly rose to the higher ranks of the party and he was made a deputy convenor of the party only after a year of his induction.

Sattar had also given Tessori a ticket to contest a by-election on a Sindh Assembly seat (PS-114).



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