Negotiations between both the camps have yielded no breakthrough on the inclusion of Kamran Tessori as MQM-P’s Senate candidate as party leaders opted for expressing their grievances openly through respective press conferences in the early hours of Thursday.
Later in the day, both factions of the party announced their candidates in a media talk while maintaining that a number of nominated candidates will be withdrawn after reaching a breakthrough on the issue.
Sattar announced the candidacy of Kamran Tessori on the general seat, Ahmed Chinoy, Farhan Chishti, Justice Hasan Feroze, Mangla Sharma, Sanjay Perwani, Shahid Pasha and Qamar Mansoor.
While the disgruntled Rabita Committee has recommended the names of Nasreen Jalil, Barrister Farrogh Naseem, Aminul Haq, Abdul Qadir Khanzada, Kishwar Zehra, Amir Chishti and Matiur Rehman.
Earlier, the party’s convener expressed his reservations on 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.”
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.
Subzari, 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.”
Rumours of a split in the party were rife after Sattar abruptly left a party meeting on February 5 over a disagreement on nominations of Senate candidates with senior party leader and deputy convener Amir Khan.
Shabbir Qaim Khani withdraws candidacy
Party leader Shabbir Ahmed Qaim Khani withdrew his candidacy from Senate election in an audio message released Wednesday night.
“I am withdrawing my candidacy from the Senate election,” he announced.
He further stated that he was nominated by the Rabita Committee.
“I was nominated after a decision was made by the Rabita Committee and not on the basis of my own wishes,” he said. “I will not submit my nomination papers now.”
“I do not wish to have a Senatorship that has no respect,” he said.
‘MQM-P was and shall remain united’
Senior party leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan had earlier said the party will and shall remain united.
“Workers will not be divided under any circumstances,” Hassan had told the media. “MQM-P was united and shall remain united.”
The Rabita Committee had also redoubled its efforts to appease party convenor Farooq Sattar. It, again, sent a three-member delegation — Sardar Ahmad, Rauf Siddiqui, Javed Hanif — to the disgruntled convener’s residence in Karachi’s PIB colony to ‘discuss matters.’
The two leaders had called separate meetings on Tuesday. Sattar had announced to decide the future course of action in a general workers’ meeting at the KMC ground, while Khan had called Rabita Committee meeting at the party’s Bahadurabad office.
Earlier on February 6, a three-member delegation had returned empty-handed from Sattar’s residence in PIB colony, after talks with the disgruntled convenor failed.
The Rabita Committee had then added senior party members Nasreen Jalil, Faisal Subzwari, and Wasim Akhtar to the delegation in hopes of yielding a positive result but the stalemate had continued.
‘Difference of opinion, not division exists’
Following a meeting with Rabita Committee members, Sattar on Tuesday had said that they have a difference of opinion, but there’s no division among them.
Speaking to media outside his residence, Sattar had said, “This is a matter between brothers. Those who visited my home are my brothers.”
He had said that he had to take a position and thanked workers for extending their support to him. “We will have to differentiate between a difference of opinion and division. We have a difference of opinion, not division.”
The MQM-P chief had urged for sorting the issue out through talks, instead of giving hype to differences.
He had said that he and Rabita Committee members, with whom he had a meeting, will further ponder over the situation.
“Rabita Committee has assured me that they hold me as the [party] head,” he had said, adding, “If something could not be finalised in today’s meeting, then it can be taken up tomorrow afternoon.”
“For me, there is no difference between Bahadurabad and PIB [offices],” Sattar had said as he addressed the workers.
‘Extortion, target killing led to MQM’s demise’
Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on Wednesday claimed that MQM’s past policies had led to its demise.
Talking to journalists outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Shah said that MQM-P was involved in extortion, target killings and disposing of bodies in gunny bags. He claimed that the party’s policies had come back to haunt it.
He also took a jibe at Sattar for refusing to budge from giving a Senate ticket to party leader Kamran Tessori despite opposition from senior party leaders.
“Seeing Farooq Sattar speak [like that] seems like Tessori’s coffers are talking,” he said.