KARACHI: Differences in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) reached the point of no return on Sunday. Rabita Committee appointed Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as its convener in place of Farooq Sattar, and in retaliation, Sattar dissolved the Rabita Committee and announced fresh intra-party elections to be held on February 17 (Saturday).
“We will first hold elections in our own party and then head towards the general elections,” said Sattar while addressing a general workers’ convention in PIB Colony late on Sunday night.
Criticising the Rabita Committee for ‘messing’ with him, Sattar said, “The polling booth for intra-party elections will be set up on the Rabita Committee’s ground.”
He asked for allegiance from his party workers to which he got a positive response.
The Rabita Committee had removed Sattar as the party’s convener alleging that he was “overstepping his authority”.
“Sattar tried to amend the party constitution through underhand dealings,” said Kunwar Naveed Jamil while addressing media-persons in the afternoon.
Rift in MQM-P over Senate election tickets
He said Sattar had hurt the sentiments of the Rabita Committee by not paying any heed when the party tried to explain things to him.
However, Sattar would still remain a party member, announced Jamil.
The committee had also appointed deputy convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as the party convener in Sattar’s place.
In the wake of his dismissal by the Rabita Committee, Sattar announced a party convention to be held later in the evening.
Speaking to the media, he said all actions taken by the Rabita Committee in recent times were contrary to the party’s constitution.
“This is all part of a conspiracy against the MQM-P leadership,” he said, adding that the black sheep had been identified as soon as he was ousted.
“My well-wishers and comrades have sold their blood,” Sattar said. “This is not just about Senate seats, but how the party is being hijacked by my naïve colleagues for the party leadership.”
He alleged that foundation had been laid for the formation of MQM-Haqiqi II.
The rift between Sattar and the Rabita Committee was caused on the nomination of candidates for Senate elections. The rift grew when the latter wrote a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan that the authority to issue party tickets lied with the Rabita Committee and not the party head.
The provincial election commissioner had earlier approved nomination papers of MQM-P’s Senate candidates, including Kamran Tessori, the person responsible for the rift.
According to sources, the Rabita Committee had issued a Senate ticket to Tessori following a meeting late on Saturday night between two groups led by Sattar and Amir Khan.
Deputy Convener Siddiqui had signed the nomination papers.
During scrutiny of the nomination papers, MQM-P’s Barrister Farogh Naseem had told the provincial election commissioner that MQM-P’s constitution permitted the Rabita Committee to issue Senate tickets and not the party chief.
Barrister Naseem, who is also a Rabita Committee’s nominee for Senate election, read the party’s constitution before the election commission officials and said, “It is Rabita Committee’s prerogative to take such decisions.”