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MQM fails to agree on candidates for Senate elections

Senate elections

News Analysis |

The dispute between Muttahida Qaumi Movement- Pakistan (MQM-P) members has failed to resolve even after three days. The MQM-P has failed to unanimously agree on the candidates for the upcoming Senate elections on 3rd March. Today is the last day for the submission of nomination papers for the Senate elections and the MQM-P chief Farooq Sattar and the Rabita Committee have presented separate lists.

Sattar presented the list of MQM-P nominees for the Senate elections during a press conference outside his PIB Colony residence. Kamran Tessori and Farhan Chisti were nominated for the general seats. Ahmed Chinoy and Hasan Feroz were awarded the tickets in the technocrat category. Nighat Shamim and Mangla Sharma were nominated for the women and the minority seats respectively.

The immediate setback that MQM might face will be the loss of their representation in the Senate. 4 MQM members will be retiring next month and it appears that MQM might not be able to win back those seats.

The nomination papers of Khawaja Sohail, Qamar Mansoor, Ali Raza Abidi and Shahid Pasha will also be submitted for the Senate elections. Sattar announced that the candidates will be finalized after the date of withdrawal and with the consultation of the Rabita Committee.

On the other hand, Nasreen Jalil and other members of the Rabita Committee held a separate press conference outside the temporary MQM-P headquarter in Bahudrabad. They announced that they were on their way to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit nomination papers for Senate elections. The Rabita Committee has finalized the names of Nasreen Jalil, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Aminul Haq and Dr Farogh Nasim for the upcoming Senate elections.

Read more: Has Saleem Shahzad left MQM for PTI?

Discord among the MQM-P became public when Chief Farooq Sattar walked out of a coordination committee meeting on 5th February. Sattar wanted to nominate Kamran Tessori on one of MQM’s four seats in the Senate but senior MQM leader Amir Khan refused to accept Sattar’s recommendation of nominating Tessori on the party ticket. Sattar left the meeting and requested senior party members to reach his house for an urgent meeting and announced that he would accept being a powerless leader.

This latest dispute among the top party leaders could create some major ranks in the MQM according to media experts. They believe that MQM might lose its status as the biggest party in Karachi after ruling it for more than a decade.

Efforts from all the MQM leaders were seen during the past four days to reconcile Farooq Sattar with the Rabita committee but apparently, those efforts didn’t bear any fruit since separate members were nominated by the Rabita committee and Sattar. Political analysts believe that the whole saga would further segregate the already divided ranks of the MQM-P.

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

The past couple of years have been very chaotic and disorderly for MQM-P. First Mustafa Kamal left the party on 23rd March 2016 and announced to make his own party, the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP). Kamal’s party broke the ranks of MQM and he took away a number of MNAs, MPAs and senior leaders of the MQM with him. This was after the incendiary speech of Altaf Hussain on 22nd August 2016 which forced MQM to cut ties with their former leader.

The Rabita Committee has finalized the names of Nasreen Jalil, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Aminul Haq and Dr Farogh Nasim for the upcoming Senate elections.

Altaf Hussain had been the epicentre of the party since its consummation and he had been the unchallenged leader of the MQM for the past 30 years. After Altaf, the weight of uniting the party fell on the shoulders of Farooq Sattar but the transfer has been full of hurdles. No other leader in the MQM had the same portfolio and popularity that Altaf Hussain enjoyed so disputes of power division were created, mostly between Sattar and the Rabita committee.

This latest dispute among the top party leaders could create some major ranks in the MQM according to media experts. They believe that MQM might lose its status as the biggest party in Karachi after ruling it for more than a decade. The immediate setback that MQM might face will be the loss of their representation in the Senate. 4 MQM members will be retiring next month and it appears that MQM might not be able to win back those seats.

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