KARACHI: The once powerful Muttahida Qaumi Moment (MQM) has fallen. At first there was the powerhouse MQM. Then came the MQM and MQM-Haqiqi. Later entered MQM-Pakistan and MQM-London and another off-shoot – the Pak Sarzameen Party Now the party has been further divided into the PIB Colony and Bahadurabad factions.
The party’s dirty laundry was aired on Thursday when the two groups, one led by party convener Farooq Sattar and the other by deputy convener Amir Khan, came face to face while nominating separate candidates to contest the Senate polls. The election on the 12 Senate seats will be held on March 3.
After a three-day controversy, the rift within the party widened, coming to the fore in the office of the provincial election commission where nine members of the Sattar-led group and six candidates of the Khan-led group submitted their forms.
The emotional moment when the two factions came face to face was captured on camera by media and onlookers alike. Eyes full of tears, Faisal Subzwari approached Sattar with Mayor Wasim Akhtar in tow and declared this was a ‘shameful moment’ for the party. Subzwari, who is an MQM-Pakistan MPA, gathered Sattar to him in a tearful embrace while party workers chanted ‘hum aik hain [we are one]’.
The mayor seemed unmoved by the display and kept shaking his head, as if conveying, ‘no, the party is not one’.
The reunion was cut short and the groups separately submitted their nomination papers. Sattar’s allies Kamran Tessori, Farhan Chisti, Justice (retd) Hasan Feroz, Ahmed Chinoy, Ali Raza Abidi and Mangla Sharma were among others who submitted their nomination forms. Qamar Mansoor and Sohail Mansoor were also on Sattar’s list but refused to fill in their papers and declined to explain why.
The Bahadurabad group’s Aminul Haq, Nasreen Jalil, Barrister Farogh Naseem, Amir Waliuddin Chisti, Kishwar Zehra and Sanjay Parwani filed their papers.
In a farcical move, Sattar told the media that they are united, despite clear evidence to the contrary. He said Rabita Committee members have no authority to submit nomination forms without the approval of the party head. “I am the MQM- Pakistan leader and have the authority to make the final decision and award the ticket,” he said.
But when Barrister Naseem’s attention was drawn to this, he cited the party’s constitution, and said, “The leader of the party has no veto power and the Rabita Committee members with two-third majority votes can change their convener.” Flanked by Rauf Siddiqui, the lawyer said the Rabita Committee is a competent body that has the authority to make such a decision.
“Yes, the Rabita Committee can remove the convener, but let’s hope for best,” added Siddiqui. “The convener is the final authority, but we are trying to resolve the issues,” countered Sattar.
Subzwari, however, said that after the scrutiny process of the nomination papers, all leaders of the party will sit together to finalise the names. “There are no groups. We are all united under one leadership,” he claimed.
The differences between members of MQM-Pakistan began after the party finalised six names for the Senate elections – Jalil, Naseem, Haque, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Tessori and Khan. According to reports, Sattar insisted on keeping Tessori’s name in the top four, which led to controversy as Khan and other Rabita Committee members were irked by this decision. Party leaders have previously expressed extreme dissatisfaction with Tessori’s involvement in party matters and the manner and speed in which he was elevated. Tessori is a newcomer to the party who has risen to the position of deputy convener.
Both the groups set up different camps in PIB Colony and Bahadurabad, lobbying against each other. Sattar summoned a workers’ meeting at the KMC ground in PIB Colony, but the Rabita Committee members constituted a committee comprising Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Siddiqui and Hanif Javed to convince Sattar to drop Tessori’s name from the list. The issue was not resolved and the groups opted to field their candidates separately.
47 candidates submit nomination papers
Thursday was the final day for submission of nomination papers for the Senate elections in Sindh. According to the election commission spokesperson, 47 candidates submitted their forms.
There 12 seats being contested – seven general seats for which 23 people submitted their forms, two technocrat seats for which 11 people submitted forms, one non-Muslim seat for which four candidates submitted forms and two women seats for which nine forms were submitted.
This includes 20 candidates from the Pakistan Peoples Party, nine from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – Pakistan’s Farooq Sattar-led group, seven from the Amir Khan-led group, six from the Pak Sarzameen Party, two from Pakistan Muslim League (PML) – Nawaz and one each from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and PML-Functional.