In what seems to be an escalation of conflict between the quarreling factions of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), its coordination committee on Friday said it had exercised its rights under the party's constitution and delegated the authority to deputy-convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, to hand out party tickets for the upcoming Senate elections.
Party leader Faisal Sabzwari, in a chat with newsmen on Friday, said under the party constitution, neither the convener nor any other person had the right to hand out party tickets. He said this right is the sole privilege of the coordination committee, which is transferring it to deputy-convener Siddiqui.
The coordination committee's move, however, failed when the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) , later in the day, ruled in Sattar's favour. The ECP said that nominating candidates for Senate elections is the sole right of a party's leader, and since the MQM-P is registered in Sattar's name, handing out party tickets will be his call.
Sabzwari, meanwhile, had held party's convener Sattar responsible for the internal strife, stating that the coordination committee and two of its delegations went to see their estranged leader, but he did not once visit their office in Bahadurabad as a show of goodwill.
He also said that party workers are at a failure to comprehend why Kamran Tessori is so important to Sattar that he has gone to such lengths to secure a Senate ticket for him.
"We do not oppose Farooq Sattar's wishes, but if his wish is in direct conflict with the party's principles, then we will be unable to accept," he said.
Sabzwari also questioned the quality and the source of advice Sattar is receiving, adding that he and others wanted to reconcile but one-sided measures never work.
"We went to meet him but he did not meet us and then he said he will come to the Bahadurabad centre but never did," Sabzwari said.
Earlier, Sattar had called for a party meeting at the Bahadurabad centre, clarifying: "Today it will only be a meeting. It is wrong to see the meeting as negotiations. It could have been called a negotiation until the arbitration committee was involved, but now it is only a meeting that will be headed by me.
"We will only discuss how to avoid these sort of situations in the future because such situations are exploited by our political opponents to create propaganda," he had said.
Sattar said that no matter who makes a mistake in the party, it's always the leader who is blamed. He argued that since he has greater responsibilities than others, he should also have greater power than the others.
"I bear no ill-will and I do not doubt anyone else's intentions," he said.
Coordination committee writes to the ECP
MQM-P's coordination committee has written to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), urging it to accept the Senate election nominations of its candidates immediately.
According to DawnNews sources, the letter reminds the ECP that, according to MQM-P's constitution, the right to issue tickets to election candidates resides with the coordination committee.
The letter also emphasises that the party's convener does not have that right.
On Monday, a meeting of the coordination committee had been convened at the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, where Dr Sattar had an altercation with senior leader Amir Khan when the latter, along with others, refused to endorse the former’s proposal to field Tessori as a candidate on one of the Senate general seats.
Sources said that majority of participants seconded Khan’s views, upon which Dr Sattar boycotted the meeting and left for his PIB Colony residence in a huff.
He subsequently summoned all party members, excluding the coordination committee members, to his PIB Colony home.
Most MQM-P leaders had stayed put at the Bahadurabad headquarters, however, where senior leader Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui spoke to the media to say that the party had decided to nominate Nasreen Jalil (on first priority), followed by Dr Farogh Nasim, Aminul Haq, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Amir Khan and Tessori for six Senate seats.
He said Dr Sattar had wanted to “sacrifice” two of the top four candidates to accommodate Tessori.
After Dr Siddiqui’s media talk, Dr Sattar emerged from his home and told reporters that it was 'unconstitutional' to hold a party meeting without his permission.
Dr Sattar has often been criticised for favouring Tessori over seasoned party leaders and workers since he made the former deputy convener, gave him a ticket to contest a by-election on a Sindh Assembly seat (PS-114) and now wants to nominate the jeweller-turned-politician for a Senate seat.