Nine candidates put forward by the Farooq Sattar-led faction of the MQM-P for the upcoming Senate elections had their nomination papers withdrawn by the party's Rabita Committee on Monday, DawnNews reported.

The nine candidates withdrawn include Kamran Tessori, whose nomination by Sattar seems to have further split the party between the 'PIB' and 'Bahadurabad' factions.

According to reports, the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) returning officer had received a letter signed by MQM Bahadurabad convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui informing the body that nine of its candidates had been withdrawn.

Siddiqui had earlier been authorised by the ECP to finalise the party's list of nominees.

Today was the last day for withdrawal of nomination papers.

Apart from Tessori, Farhan Chishti, Kishwar Zehra, Ahmed Chinoy, Hasan Feroz, Ali Raza Abidi, Mangla Sharma, Nighat Shakeel and Ameenul Haq were also pulled from the running.

MQM-P's Rabita Committee (Coordination Committee) had long objected to Tessori's nomination as a Senate candidate; however, party chief Farooq Sattar had refused to accommodate its repeated requests to remove Tessori's name from the list of nominees.

The differences created a deep rift within the party, with some leaders siding with Sattar and others with the Coordination Committee, which convenes in the party's Bahadurabad office.

After Sattar's refusal to remove Tessori, the committee had taken its nuclear option and ousted Sattar from his position, saying he would no longer act as convener of the party. It had appointed Siddiqui in his stead.

Siddiqui's position as party convener was further solidified when the ECP on Feb 11 accepted the Coordination Committee's decision and empowered Siddiqui to issue tickets for the Senate election.

In a tit for tat reaction, Sattar had later announced the dissolution of the committee and called fresh intra-party elections on Sunday, in which he was once again elected as the new party leader.

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