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Imran Farooq's fate hangs in balance

July 06, 2004

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KARACHI, July 5: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement is in a fix over the fate of Dr Imran Farooq who was 'removed' from the position of convener of coordination committee, amid reports of differences with party chief Altaf Hussain.

The Muttahida's parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, Dr Farooq Sattar, told Dawn on Monday that there was a "status quo and decisions were in abeyance" with regard to reports about the London-based party leadership.

"The other matters have almost been resolved but no decision has been taken yet on matters concerning Dr Imran Farooq against whom there were repeated complaints of breach of discipline," said Dr Farooq Sattar. His remarks confirmed the serious power struggle going on within the party.

The party was trying to resolve all the outstanding issues but success was not likely soon, he added. There were reports also that a split was imminent and that there were "some problems" at the party's international secretariat in London.

Mr Hussain had assigned the convenership of the coordination committee to Dr Imran Farooq on Aug 15 last year in a major shakeup within the party. That move was the biggest one by Mr Hussain since his direct control of the party affairs after the suspension of Dr Imran Farooq, who was subsequently reinstated.

In the meantime, at a recent meeting of the cadres the founding chief of the party was critical of both the governor of Sindh and Dr Imran Farooq. And there were deliberate leakages indicating that some action against him was again being contemplated.

Mr Hussain, according to some sources, was also unhappy over Governor Ibad's remarks that no operation against the MQM was being contemplated by the government. But in London, according to sources, he was shown various "evidence" contrary to his claim. His matter has been sorted out, said the sources.

Asked whether the party's international secretariat in London was functional, he replied in the affirmative. Dr Sattar said the coordination committee had been dissolved but it had to be revived, but only for policy decisions.

The rest of the issues were looked after by the coordination committee here in Pakistan. Wherever guidance of Mr Altaf Hussain was required, those matters were dealt with by those members of the committee who were in London. The party leadership was playing down its internal power struggle because that could affect its bargaining power, both at the federal and provincial levels.