Why Tessori controversy

Just wait and see because the Tessori controversy, as per sources privy to the matters, may climax this week

Mazhar Abbas
Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori. —APP/File
Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori. —APP/File

Former caretaker Chief Minister, Sindh, Justice (Retd) Maqbool Baqar, has though confirmed his consent was sought for giving him the helm of the governorship of the province, but he denies having any clue on the status of that development, rumoured to be in the works within the corridors of power that be.

“Yes, I was once contacted sometime back for the Sindh governor's slot,” he told me in response to the news reports about the possible replacement of the sitting governor, Kamran Tessori.

If nominated he could create history by becoming the first governor who had also served as caretaker chief minister. “I am not aware of any further development in this regard,” Justice (Retd) Baqar added.

When contacted the sitting governor said: “I am not aware of any such development but if replaced I will have no regret as I am satisfied that I served well according to my ability despite the powerless position of the slot.”

Tessori said during the last 18-19 months the Governor House had transformed into a ‘Peoples House' like an IT University. “I have no regret as I turned the otherwise dull Governor House into a lively institution,” Tessori said.

Following all kinds of speculation regarding the possible replacement of the sitting governor to the extent that Tessori has even started boxing up his stuff to move out, Tessori said: “I don’t have to pack much if a decision to this effect is taken but so far, I am not aware of any such move,” he stated.

Whether Tessori, once a low-profile Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activist, would be able to hold on to his position or be replaced by someone linked to the MQM or some other Urdu speaking person he remains at the centre of controversy in the last few years following back-to-back factionalisation of the party after August 22, 2016. It was the day on which Altaf Hussain, the London-based founder of the united MQM, while telephonically addressing workers outside Karachi Press Club, raised an “anti-Pakistan” slogan, which not only led to an undeclared ban on the London faction but also prompted the MQM (Pakistan) to distance itself from him, remove him from the party, and abolish the post of Quaid-e-Tehreek from their Constitution.

All this intensified the tug-of-war within MQM (Pakistan) over the top slot of the party and two further factions emerged, the MQM (PIB Colony) and the MQM (Bahdurabad). The PIB faction was led by former Karachi mayor, Dr Farooq Sattar, while the other was by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui — party stalwarts who were once close aides to Altaf Hussain.

Tessori, completely sided with Dr Farooq Sattar, who even on Tuesday night stated that MQM (Pakistan) nominated Sindh Governor would continue his office. “The MQM has not given any name for the governor as Tessori is there,” Dr Sattar stated.

Many within MQM, who otherwise supported Dr Sattar are not fully convinced as to why he defended Tessori so much when differences between the two factions over Tessori sharpened.

But, since Tessori also enjoyed the support of some of the key power players, he not only succeeded in getting the two factions united but also brokered the merger of the MQM (Pakistan) and former Mayor, Mustafa Kamal and Anis Qaimkhani’s Pak-Sarzameen Party (PSP) and thus he becomes the consensus candidate for the governor.

After the general elections on February 8, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) agreed on a formula under which the former would support the latter in the formation of the government at the centre and in Punjab but would not join the cabinet while the latter would also support former’s right to form the government in Sindh and Balochistan. It was also decided that the PPP would support the PML-N choice for governor in Sindh and in Balochistan, while the latter would back the former-nominated governor in Punjab and both would mutually nominate the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor.

Despite being a ceremonious post, particularly after the 18th amendment, the nomination of governor particularly in Sindh has also been seen in the sharp ethnic perspective in the province. Traditionally, while the Sindh chief minister always goes to a Sindhi-speaking politician, the slot of governor is normally given to an Urdu-speaking candidate.

However, the former governor Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim created history when on August 6, 1990, he refused to dissolve the Sindh Assembly after the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan had disbanded the National Assembly. Ebrahim was removed after that disobedience and Kamal Azfar replaced him.

The MQM leader Dr Ishratul Ibad, not only remains the longest-serving governor of Sindh from 2002 to 2015 but he also had “undeclared” administrative powers due to the MQM-Musharraf pact.

While he was also considered for the slot along with former caretaker CM Maqbool Baqar, Ms Khushbakht Shujaat and Farogh Naseem, Tessori along with his close associates is still confident he would continue. Just wait and see because the Tessori controversy, as per sources privy to the matters, may climax this week.

The writer is a columnist and analyst for GEO, The News and Jang X. He posts on @MazharAbbas

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed in this piece are the writer's own and don't necessarily reflect Geo.tv's editorial policy.