KARACHI: For the past one month, Ali Raza Abidi had spent much of his time roaming the streets of the NA-243 constituency in Gulshan-e-Iqbal to campaign for the upcoming by-elections. Forgoing his luxury vehicles, Abidi travelled with a group of his supporters on motorcycles, visiting shops, cafes and residential apartments to seek votes.
When the time came to allot the ticket, however, his party – the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan – ignored him completely. Disgruntled by the decision, Abidi announced his resignation from the party’s basic membership citing “personal reasons”.
Interestingly, Abidi did not hand in his resignation to the party’s office-bearers directly. Instead, he posted a hand-written resignation letter on social media on Saturday night.
According to independent observers and party sources, the tug-of-war between the two splinter-groups that emerged within the MQM-P after February 5, reared its ugly head in this latest episode of Abidi’s resignation.
One MQM-P office-bearer privy to the details told The Express Tribune that Abidi, who had lost the NA-243 seat in the July 25 elections to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, was hoping to get the ticket again. The MQM-P, however, had other plans.
“Abidi knew that the constituency would see a by-election if Imran Khan vacated the seat,” said the source, adding that Abidi had been campaigning for the seat for well over a month.
“He was hopeful the party would reissue him the ticket for the by-election,” the source said, adding that when this did not happen, the disgruntled leader tendered his resignation.
Meanwhile, the party leadership did not formally receive his resignation, and when his post announcing the resignation went viral on social media, Abidi was contacted by MQM-P leader Haider Abbas Rizvi, who assured that his grievances would be addressed by the party.
For his part, MQM-P Convener and Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said he had not received any resignation from Abidi. He admitted, however, that he had seen the resignation letter posted on social media. “We are trying to establish contact with Ali Raza Abidi but his phone is switched off,” he said, adding that they would try to reason with him to take back his resignation.
Siddiqui said that in his personal opinion, Abidi’s politics were not centered on ideology, otherwise he would not have quit the party at this time.
His statement was echoed by the MQM-P office bearer who spoke to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity. “We [MQM-P leaders] are trying to convey to Abidi that these are not the last elections and that he should remain patient for more chances in the future.”