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Thursday Feb 08 2018

MQM-P deadlock: Sattar, Rabita committee field separate candidates for Senate elections

KARACHI: The deadlock between Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Farooq Sattar and members of the party’s Rabita Committee (highest-decision making body) further intensified on Thursday with both sides refusing to budge in favour of the other.

Negotiations between both camps yielded no breakthrough on the inclusion of Kamran Tessori as MQM-P’s candidate for Senate elections as party leaders opted for expressing their grievances openly through respective press conferences today.

Both factions of the party have also submitted nomination papers of their candidates while maintaining that a number of nominated candidates will be withdrawn after reaching a breakthrough on the issue.

Sattar Group

Kamran Tessori, Mangla Sharma, Qamar Mansoor, Sanjay Parwani, Ahmed Chinoy, Farhan Chishti, Hassan Feroz, and Shahid Pasha have submitted their nominations for Sattar’s group.

Rabita Committee

Nasreen Jalil, Ameenul Haque, Farogh Naseem, Amir Chisti, Kishwar Zehra, Matee-ur-Rehman, and Abdul Qadir Khanzada are candidates of the Rabita Committee.

'It takes two to tango'

Subzwari told the media later in the day that Sattar had earlier suggested that the Rabita Committee suggest new names and withdraw its suggestions of nominating Nasreen Jalil, Farogh Naseem, Ameenul Haque if Tessori was not to be nominated. 

"These colleagues [Jalil, Naseem, Haque] showed heart and said they would withdraw their candidacy for the greater good of saving the party," he said, adding that members of the Rabita Committee were willing to suggest new names as per the party chief's request. 

Senior MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari addressing the media in Karachi on Thursday, February 8, 2018. Photo: Geo News

"All of us waited for a long time for Farooq bhai to attend the Rabita Committee meeting and nominate whoever the committee considers [for the candidature of Senate elections]."  

He added that it was unfortunate that again a new condition was set forward that Sattar would nominate eight to ten names of individuals who were not party members. 

"We, very respectfully, said that this term was a bit difficult to understand and we were willing to discuss matters if he could only visit the party office," Subzwari said. 

"I have to say, with deep regret, that Farooq bhai was unable to attend the meeting."  

He added that even later the committee members repeatedly requested Sattar to visit and lead the party members to submit the nominations. 

"I guess Farooq bhai did not like my tone filled with pain and agony," he told the media, "for which I apologize." 

"Amir bhai and other leaders requested Farooq bhai not only on the media but even on a phone call that none of the names had been finalized and he should come [to the party office] and finalize the party's candidates," Subzwari said. 

"Farooq bhai said he would inform us but later called at 5am and said that the nominations should be submitted for the time being," he said. "It takes two to tango; you can only clap with two hands and our hand is still mid-air." 

‘We were and shall remain united’

Following the submission of nomination papers, Dr Sattar said the MQM-P was and will remain united. “We were united in the past and shall remain united in the future too,” Sattar told media.

He further stated that the total number of his party’s candidates for the upcoming Senate election is 15. “17 nomination forms for the election were filled, however, the total number of candidates of the party are 15.”

Sattar emphasised that conflict or difference of opinion can exist but the MQM-Ps policy of discipline has not changed.

“We have submitted nomination papers separately, but it was done with a mutual understanding. You should have faith in my leadership and our abilities,” Sattar said.

Earlier, the party's convener expressed his reservations at Subzwari's press conference, in which the Rabita Committee questioned the policies of Sattar.

“I promised the negotiators that I was coming so what was the hurry in doing the press conference. When I came to know about it, I immediately called Khawaja Izhar and Kanwar Naveed to stop them, we are coming,” he said. “Subzwari was bitter in his presser. Tessori told me that in view of stopping the party from the division, he can sign on a blank paper for withdrawal of his candidacy.”

Sattar said that the Bahadurabad faction of the party is constantly showing him the party’s constitution for point scoring.

“The party meeting is unconstitutional because I didn’t permit it. Had I wanted further division I would have gone to the KMC stadium before the arrival of Rabita Committee delegation at my place. After taking a mandate from the workers would have suspended the Rabita Committee.”

MQM-P Convener Farooq Sattar and senior party leader Faisal Subzwari meet each other in Karachi on February 8, 2018

'We have refused to abide by the desire of Tessori'

Separately, senior MQM-P leader Amir Khan said that the names recommended by the Rabita Committee was the result of necessity than choice.

“The process of finalization of names is still open. MQM-P’s office is your (Sattar) office. The names are still open. Please come and discuss it with us,” he said.

Subzwari, taking a jibe at Tessori said that the party has refused to take decisions while taking on board Tessori.

“We have refused to abide by the desire of Tessori, which in fact comes through Sattar that all party decisions should be taken in his presence,” he said. “There were attempts to pressurize us by shouting slogans. What was the pressure about why Rabita Committee’s deputy convenor was not given Senate ticket.”

The provincial lawmaker questioned the merit of Tessori for being MQM-P’s Senate nominee.

“What is merit. MQM is not for sale. If MQM doesn’t send its nomination papers, Peoples Party will be the beneficiary.”


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