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Row deepens as Sattar forms parallel body to challenge rivals in MQM-P

Updated October 27, 2018

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Farooq Sattar speaks outside his PIB Colony residence on Friday. —PPI
Farooq Sattar speaks outside his PIB Colony residence on Friday. —PPI

KARACHI: Two weeks after making public his differences with the Bahadurabad group, disgruntled Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Dr Farooq Sattar announced on Friday a 22-member ‘organisation restoration committee’ (ORC) to reorganise the party on what he called ideological lines as it was in 1986.

Dr Sattar also shared with media a 10-point charter of the ORC whose primary objective was to ensure holding of a workers’ assembly to amend the party constitution for holding of intra-party elections for electing a “central committee” instead of the coordination committee.

The MQM has not had a central committee since the last 25 years and the party affairs were being run during this period through a coordination committee formed by London-based founder Altaf Hussain in 1993.

Dr Sattar is the patron-in-chief of the ORC and most members are former federal and provincial lawmakers. However, the 22-member committee does not include the name of Kamran Tessori, said to be close to Dr Sattar, who was the main reason behind the Feb 5 split of the MQM-P.

Insists there is no division in the party; reiterates demand for intra-party polls

Speaking at a press conference at his PIB Colony residence, the senior leader alleged that a few people in the coordination committee were taking arbitrary decisions without taking into confidence the whole committee.

Dr Sattar did not take any name but it was clear that his target was MQM-P’s senior deputy convener Amir Khan when he said that the few people had held the party, including its convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, “hostage”.

He, however, made clear that he was not forming another faction within the MQM-P as all he wanted to do was “restore the past glory and discipline of the party.

“Our demand is [holding of] intra-party elections and restoration of all workers on Feb 5 position,” he said, adding: “There is no group, no faction and no division [within the MQM-P]. The ORC is a small committee and not a new party. We will make this MQM nazriati [ideological].”

Differences in the party had emerged on Feb 5 over distribution of tickets to party candidates for the March 11 Senate elections. Dr Sattar, then convener of the party, insisted on giving a ticket to Mr Tessori despite strong opposition.

Eventually, the differences caused the party to split into Bahadurabad and PIB factions. Dr Sattar was removed from the post of convener and Dr Siddiqui took his place. Four months later, both the factions reunited to contest the July 25 elections.

On Sept 13, Dr Sattar — who lost the general elections on two National Assembly seats — had resigned from the membership of the coordination committee and on Oct 12 he held a press conference and demanded intra-party elections and warned that he would work for an MQM-Nazriati if his demands were not met.

After his Oct 12 presser, the MQM-P contested and lost all three by-elections on NA-243, NA-247 and PS-111.

At Friday’s press conference, Dr Sattar also invited all workers, MNAs and MPAs of the party to join and work with him to make the party ideological.

He said that there was no need to convince him to end his differences. “I myself will go to Bahadurabad if [they] give importance and love to workers.”

He said that the “Nine Zero of ORC will be Pakistan Quarters and we will also set up a Mohajir Mazloom Syndicate”.

Dr Sattar also demanded immediate release of former senator Faisal Raza Abidi and said that all allegations against him were false.

Meanwhile, MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has summoned a meeting of the coordination committee on Saturday (today) to review current “political and organisational situation”.

Published in Dawn, October 27th , 2018

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