'We are one family' — MQM's PIB, Bahadurabad factions come together for Senate elections

Published March 2, 2018
MQM-P leaders Dr Farooq Sattar and Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui hold a joint press conference in Islamabad on Friday.— DawnNews
MQM-P leaders Dr Farooq Sattar and Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui hold a joint press conference in Islamabad on Friday.— DawnNews

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders Farooq Sattar and Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addressed a joint press conference in Islamabad on Friday to announce that the two party factions led by them have agreed on the nomination of candidates for tomorrow's Senate elections despite their ongoing stand-off.

Dr Sattar said that despite his differences with the Bahadurabad group of MQM-P, both sides remained engaged in negotiations with each other through mediators and direct contact and reached an agreement about the Senate elections to be held on March 3.

Sattar said he is "certain" that the two camps will reach an agreement about the status of the two coordination committees soon as well in an effort to prevent the party's vote bank from being divided.

The MQM-P leader announced that the two groups have agreed on five names to be nominated for tomorrow's Senate elections.

The nominees finalised are Barrister Farogh Naseem and Kamran Khan Tessori for the general seats, Abdul Qadir Khanzada for the technocrat seat, Dr Nighat Shakeel for the women's seat and Sanjay Perwani for the minorities seat.

Sattar expressed the hope that MQM-P will win all five seats.

He said the party's leaders are "embarrassed" and apologise to their voters and workers who have been "mentally stressed" by the conflict between the PIB Colony and Bahadurabad groups.

"It was not a happy occasion for us either that a strain remained between us [the two groups] for so many days," Sattar said.

Recalling that "All is well that ends well," Sattar said the agreement reached for the Senate elections was the first step of reconciliation between the PIB and Bahadurabad groups and the next step would be ending the differences over Rabita Committee.

Addressing the press conference, Siddiqui clarified that the Bahadurabad group's nominee for the general seats was Barrister Farogh Naseem while the Sattar-led camp's nominee was Kamran Tessori, who has been at the centre of the original conflict between the two groups.

Siddiqui said despite the differences in their positions, the public could not see any "heat" rising between the two camps, adding that this was because "We are one family and will proceed ahead like a family" — to which Sattar responded with an Inshallah (God willing).

Answering a question, Sattar said he was not alone in nominating Tessori for the Senate seat but the 35-member Rabita Committee supporting him had nominated Tessori with a three-fourths majority. He added that Barrister Naseem was also nominated by the committee in his group with the same majority.

When asked by a reporter what Siddiqui and Sattar's current designations were in the party, Sattar quipped that their posts were "indebted to our voters".

Falling out

Differences within the MQM-P came to the fore on February 5 over distribution of tickets to candidates for the March 3 Senate election. The party split into two groups — one led by Dr Sattar and the other by senior leader Amir Khan — and both sides took extreme actions against each other.

The Bahadurabad group ousted Dr Sattar from the post of convener with a two-thirds majority and in a tit-for-tat reaction Dr Sattar held a workers’ convention the same day, dissolved the coordination committee and announced intra-party elections. On Feb 18, Dr Sattar was elected the party convener after securing over 9,000 votes in the intra-party elections.

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