Home Global Village Divide in MQM-P again: Ostensibly over senate tickets?

Divide in MQM-P again: Ostensibly over senate tickets?

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News Analysis |

The upcoming Senate elections on 3rd March have exposed the inner rifts between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) as Dr Farooq Sattar, the MQM-P chief, refused to accept a decision that was announced by the Rabita Committee.

On Monday at Bahadurabad, a coordination committee meeting of the MQM-P resulted in complete chaos as a heated disagreement erupted between the party chief Farooq Sattar and senior leader Amir Khan over the nomination of Kamran Tessori on one of the four MQM seats in the Senate.  Amir Khan refused to accept Sattar’s recommendation of nominating Tessori as the leader. Sattar left the meeting and requested senior party members to reach his house for an urgent meeting.

Following the argument with the party chief, the Rabita committee of MQM also held a meeting where they decided to suspend the membership of Tessouri for the Rabita committee for six months, but Dr Farooq Sattar it was confirmed would remain convener. Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui spoke to the media and announced this decision.

Some experts are of the opinion that Sattar might be forced to step down as the leader since he has failed to unite the party which was once lead by the infamous Altaf Hussain.

He also announced that MQM has decided to nominate Nasreen Jalil followed by Dr Farogh Naseem, Aminul Haq, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Amir Khan and Kamran Tessori for six Senate seats. Siddiqui stated that Sattar wanted Tessori to be nominated for the top two positions.

After the media briefing by Tessouri, Farooq Sattar held a press conference and openly protested against the Rabita committee decision exposing the divisions that exist between the MQM. He claimed that the Rabita committee meeting was held without his permission and leaders were invited under the false pretext that he would be present. Sattar suspended the whole Rabita committee for violating party discipline. He emphasized that he will not be a powerless leader under any circumstance.

Read more: MQM-London leader found dead in Karachi

Sattar announced workers’ conventions at the KMC ground in PIB Colony at 4pm on Tuesday. He announced that he will be making revelations about the past 15months of his leadership and why he has failed to make any decisions during his tenure. He invited Afaq Ahmad’s MQM-Haqiqi to join him in the worker’s convention for the sake of the public.

The potential to further divide the party and if any more MPAs decide to leave the party and join PSP or form their own party, it will further reduce MQM’s representation in the legislative assemblies and completely take away their strength from national and provincial politics.

The past couple of years have been topsy-turvy for the MQM. First, on 23rd March 2016, former MQM mayor and senior leader Mustafa Kamal left the MQM and formed his own party, the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP). Kamal took away many MNAs and MPAs from the MQM. It was followed by Altaf Hussain’s incendiary speech against Pakistan on the 22nd August 2016 after which the reins of the party were taken over by Farooq Sattar.

The weight of uniting the party after Altaf Hussain fell on the shoulders of Sattar who has faced significant challenges during his tenure in an attempt to run a divided party. He announced his resignation from the party in November last year which was also caused by an internal rift in the party. Media sources claim that Sattar lacks a strong hold on the party leadership and the leadership does not agree with many of the decisions that he makes.

After the media briefing by Tessouri, Farooq Sattar held a press conference and openly protested against the Rabita committee decision exposing the divisions that exist between the MQM.

Mustafa Kamal’s PSP has also created a challenge for the MQM-P since they have announced to field their own candidate in the upcoming senate elections. Four MQM candidates are retiring from the Senate but it will be challenge for the MQM to win back all those seats since PSP has eight MPAs in the Sindh assembly, seven of whom are former MQM members, are contesting the elections. It is very likely that the MQM will lose one seat to PSP in the upcoming senate elections.

Read more: Has Saleem Shahzad left MQM for PTI?

Political analysts predict that the current dispute in the MQM-P has the potential to further divide the party and if any more MPAs decide to leave the party and join PSP or form their own party, it will further reduce MQM’s representation in the legislative assemblies and completely take away their strength from national and provincial politics. Some experts are of the opinion that Sattar might be forced to step down as the leader since he has failed to unite the party which was once lead by the infamous Altaf Hussain.

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