KARACHI: The Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision on Monday on the convenership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) seems to have widened the gulf between the party’s Bahadurabad and PIB camps.
Addressing separate press conferences on Monday, leaders of both groups tacitly blamed each other for working to divide the MQP-P and the Muhajir vote bank.
MQM-P Bahadurabad faction leader Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who was declared by the IHC as the party convener, said in his press conference at the MQM-P temporary centre in Bahadurabad that he was thankful to God for the verdict in his favour. The verdict was not the victory of a single person, but that of each MQM-P worker, he said.
The post of convener was in the party’s hands, Dr Siddiqui said, adding that even today, the party could assign him the role of an ordinary worker.
Many senior MQM-P leaders including Senior Deputy Convener Amir Khan, Faisal Subzwari, Arshad Hasan, Furqan Ateeb, Shakeel Ahmed and Adil Khan were also present at the press conference.
According to Dr Siddiqui, the verdict was a sad day for those who wanted to divide the MQM-P. He claimed that from then onwards, the MQM-P would be a single entity and that there would be no Bahadurabad or PIB factions in the party.
The MQM-P convener also extended an olive branch to his rival. “I appeal to Dr Farooq Sattar and invite him to come here so that together we can contest the elections and resolve the issues faced by the nation,” he said.
Responding to a question, Dr Siddiqui said Dr Sattar should join the party. “His respect is our respect and his honour is our honour,” he announced, adding that Dr Sattar would be given due respect if he joined hands with them.
In response to another query, he said it had just been a few hours since the IHC decision and the party would take time to announce its future strategy.
The convener lamented that Karachi’s population had always been shown less than what it actually was in all the previous censuses, however, all limits were crossed in the last census.
“We don’t want delay in the elections. It is important for the elections to be fair and transparent,” Dr Siddiqui said.
The losing side
Meanwhile, MQM-P PIB faction head Dr Farooq Sattar raised many questions over the IHC verdict during a press conference at his residence in PIB Colony. According to him, some of his associates wanted him to file an appeal with the Supreme Court against the IHC decision but he himself had not taken any decision in that regard.
Dr Sattar informed the media that if he contested the elections, he would do so with the South Sindh province movement. He claimed that he did not want to divide Muhajirs, however, there were some elements who were part of conspiracies to divide Muhajirs. “I will try my best to keep Muhajirs on one platform,” he said.
Apparently referring to MQM founder Altaf Hussain, the MQM-P PIB faction head maintained that he accepted the minus-one formula in the wider interest of the country, however, the forces who wanted minus-one were not content after that and now plans were under way for minus-two or even minus-MQM formula.
According to Dr Sattar, efforts were being made to ground Muhajirs, and if this continued, Muhajirs could boycott the elections. He claimed that he alone saved the party on August 23 after the incendiary speech of Hussain. Dr Sattar also announced that he would not leave the country because of disappointment.