News Analysis |
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has summoned Farooq Sattar to record his response in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convenership case. Sattar was granted two days to submit his response in the petitions filed by the MQM-P’s Bahadurabad faction. The ECP had earlier taken away Sattar’s right to grant party tickets in elections and granted it to the Rabita Committee.
The petitions demand that ECP should remove Farooq Sattar as the party convener as the Rabita Committee had elected Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as the new party convener. They also challenged the 18th February intraparty elections held by MQM-P’s IB faction in which Sattar became the party convener with a heavy majority. The Bahadurabad faction claims that the elections were a violation of MQM’s constitution.
Sattar appears to be in the same position as Nawaz Sharif after his disqualification by the SC. Both only have public support to maintain their hold on the party. The days of Sattar’s leadership are numbered as the whole party is united against him.
A divide was created between the MQM-P ranks after Farooq Sattar and the Rabita Committee failed to agree on nomination of candidates for the upcoming Senate elections on 5th February. Sattar insisted on nominating Kamran Tessori on one of MQM-P’s but members of the Rabita committee didn’t agree since Tessori was surpassing other senior members. The MQM-P is now openly divided into two factions: the PIB group (lead by Farooq Sattar) and the Bahadurabad group (lead by Amir Khan).
During today’s hearing, Farooq Sattar’s lawyer Babar Sattar requested for extra time to submit his reply while Bahadurabad faction’s lawyer Farogh Naseem reminded him that the matter needs to be resolved before the Senate elections on 3rd March. PIB and Bahadurabad group submitted different nominations in the ECP for the Senate elections, even though the ECP rejected PIB’s nomination, the matter will be discussed in the hearing.
Speaking outside the ECP, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told the media that Bahadurabad group was open to negotiations and declared that the matter was between brothers. He also said that both groups agreed on one point that the MQM-P will not split. Siddiqui suggested that the matter can be resolved through ECP or directly, both options will be acceptable to them.
On the other hand, Kamran Tessori affirmed that both parties will accept the decision of the ECP. He assured that both groups agreed on Farooq Sattar as the convener of the party. Barrister Farogh Naseem also asserted that Sattar was like a brother for the Bahadurabad faction but he maintained that 95% of the party agreed on Siddiqui being the party convener.
The same constitution also allows the Rabita committee to remove the convener of the party but Sattar’s group alleges that the party convener cannot be removed without a prior notice which was not given in this case.
Even though both groups are apparently amiable to each other, the reality appears to be very different. The two groups have failed to reach consensus even after multiple negotiations for the past 3 weeks. The Bahadurabad group made several allegations against him before dismissing Sattar as the party chief; will Sattar overlook them and become the party chief again?
Similarly, will the Bahadurabad faction overlook the fact that Sattar dissolved the Rabita Committee and accused them of having ties with the military? Sattar also accused the Rabita Committee of trying to make General Pervez Musharraf the party chief. Amid these allegations, the reconciliation of the two groups appears to be a far cry unless one group backs down from its claims.
The Bahadurabad faction is likely to win the case against Sattar in the ECP as it had earlier rejected the nominations of Sattar citing MQM-P’s constitution. The same constitution also allows the Rabita committee to remove the convener of the party but Sattar’s group alleges that the party convener cannot be removed without a prior notice which was not given in this case.
Sattar appears to be in the same position as Nawaz Sharif after his disqualification by the SC. Both only have public support to maintain their hold on the party. The days of Sattar’s leadership are numbered as the whole party is united against him. It is expected that the MQM-P will create a new ceremonial position for Sattar and that the real power will lie with the convener chosen by the Rabita committee.