Responding to accusations levelled by MQM-P's Farooq Sattar last week that he had been removed as party convener so former military ruler Pervez Musharraf could replace him, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chief has rejected the notion of leading any faction of the party even if he was offered the position.
Sattar had told Geo News on Feb 12 that he had evidence that he was removed by implementing a "Pervez Musharraf formula".
"This is not minus one...the Mohajir nation and workers with great difficulty accepted our first minus-one [formula] and this is minus two," Dr Sattar had said, referring to his removal from the position of party convener by the Coordination Committee.
Musharraf, in an interview with ARY News on Monday night, rejected the allegations, saying: "That man [Sattar] does not have leadership qualities, neither does he have a vision for his people," adding that he did not need to "minus anyone" since he does not wish to lead the MQM-P.
According to Musharraf, no political leader in Pakistan has the capability to lead the country. "However, I would not like to comment about myself," he added.
"I have a a vision that is not Karachi-centric, it is not even Sindh-centric. Mine, and my party's vision, looks at the whole of Pakistan," the APML leader said, adding that leading the MQM would confine his vision to just the people of Karachi and those who belong to a single ethnicity.
The former dictator, however, did mention that he has met a number of MQM leaders and spoken to them about his vision,
"I talk about vision with whoever comes to meet me and yes, various MQM leaders have come and shown interest in what I have to say. They come to meet me because of the ethnic connection."
"If they ask me, I would say even the MQM should rebrand itself, and fall under one banner which is not associated to any one ethnicity. The brand already has a very negative impact," Musharraf said.
Rifts in the MQM
MQM-P's Rabita Committee (Coordination Committee) had long objected to jeweller-turned-politician Kamran 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 announced the dissolution of the committee and called fresh intra-party elections on Sunday, in which he was once again elected the new party leader.
In the latest development in the MQM saga, the Bahadurabad faction has challenged the intra-party elections conducted by Sattar and his followers.