Sunday Feb 11, 2018
KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's (MQM-P) Rabita Committee on Sunday removed Dr Farooq Sattar as the party's convener.
"Farooq Sattar breached the Rabita Committee's trust," senior party leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel announced in a press conference on Sunday evening.
"He changed the party's constitution without bringing it into the knowledge of the Rabita Committee," he said.
He further alleged that the former party chief had taken, in his control, the rights to select and remove party members without informing the coordination committee.
"We gave in to all of Farooq bhai's [brother's] demands yet he was unwilling to lead the party," said Jameel. "But he is still a member of our party."
Later in the evening, the Rabita Committee unanimously accepted senior party member Amir Khan's suggestion to appoint Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as the party's convener, sources informed Geo News.
Immediately after Jameel's press conference, Sattar addressed the media to claim that the ongoing rift within the party ranks was in fact over MQM-P's leadership.
"My naive colleagues have proven that the issue was not about the nominations for Senate election, it was about the party leadership," a spirited Sattar told the journalists.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had earlier issued a Senate ticket to party member Siddiqui amid a strong protest from Sattar.
"Senate tickets are being issued without my permission," he said while speaking outside the ECP.
Sattar and the party’s coordination committee had been at loggerheads over the allotment of Senate tickets. The rift intensified as the latter wrote a letter to the ECP on Friday, informing the electoral body that the authority to issue party tickets rests with the committee, not the party chief.
His protest with the ECP today, however, was futile, as the latter told the former party chief that he could willingly take up the matter in court.
The electoral body maintained that Sattar should have lodged his complaint before the process of scrutiny was completed.
"Any Rabita Committee meetings conducted in my absence and any decisions taken thereof can be questioned," Sattar told journalists during a press conference in Karachi.
He further said that he reserved the right to challenge and question [decisions that were taken by MQM-P's central committee].
"The deputy-convener's role is limited," he said while talking to the media. "He can only assist, not take over the convener's duties."
"I don't want to take matters to the court," he said.
The ECP approved the nomination papers of Kamran Tessori — who seemingly became the main reason for the rift within the party ranks.
The divisions between the former party chief and members of the Rabita Committee widened after Sattar expressed the wish to award a Senate ticket to Tessori, a move opposed by some members of the Rabita Committee.
“This seems like an internal coup against Sattar whose stand for Tessori seems to be backfiring,” analyst Shahzeb Khanzada had remarked.
“There are several reasons why this issue was not resolved. Whatever the final outcome it will be harmful to both sides,” senior analyst Mazhar Abbas had added.
MQM-P's coordination committee, on Friday, had delegated the authority to Siddiqui to nominate party members for the upcoming Senate elections on March 3.
Addressing the media on the same day, Rabita committee member Faisal Subzwari had claimed that according to the party's constitution, the authority to nominate members for elections did not lie with the convener or any individual.
"This right is the sole privilege of the coordination committee, which has transferred it to deputy-convener [Siddiqui]," he had told journalists.
The rift between PIB Colony and Bahadurabad factions of the party intensified after the latter wrote a letter to the ECP in an attempt to wrest authority from Sattar.
The letter informed the electoral body that the authority to issue party tickets rests with the Rabita Committee, not the party chief. It also stated that as per Section 19(a) of the party's constitution, the authority to nominate candidates for election rests with the Rabita Committee.
The letter was later rescinded after the coordination committee announced that it was making new efforts to reconcile with former party chief.