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KARACHI: Rifts in the Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) over Senate tickets deepened further late Monday, as the Rabita Committee suspended Kamran Tessori in a press talk termed by party chief Farooq Sattar as “unconstitutional”.
In his address to media late night, Sattar said the party members were invited to Bahadurabad using his name and under false pretence.
“The Rabita Committee members who held a meeting and spoke to the media… this was a violation of the party rules and code of conduct. According to the party’s constitution, if I, as the convener, had ordered against holding this meeting, then it was illegal and unconstitutional.”
Party leaders who were part of this “illegal” meeting have been suspended and any decision they made rescinded until the members’ rally in the evening, later today.Later in the day, in a video message, Dr Sattar invited party workers for general workers meeting at KMC ground today afternoon, adding that he would speak on certain matters in the session, which he never said before.
“I will inform what was the obstruction in my decisions from last 15 months,” he said.
Meanwhile, the MQM-P has called its Raabita Committee meeting today at its Bahadurabad party office at 2 pm, the meeting will be chaired by Amir Khan.
‘Sattar bhai remains our convener’
Earlier in the day, a party meeting ended in chaos as Sattar and senior leader Amir Khan disagreed with each other over the names of candidates for the Senate elections.
Following the disagreement, Sattar and his supporters left the Bahadurabad venue for his residence in PIB Colony amid chants in the party chief’s favour.
Meanwhile, members of the Rabita Committee held a meeting, wherein they decided to suspend Tessori and revoke his party membership for six months.”Kamran Tessori bhai is not a member of Rabita Committee anymore but Farooq Sattar bhai remains our convener,” Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui announced, adding that Tessori “has also been suspended from the party for six months”.
Siddiqui said the Rabita Committee had recommended six names for the Senate elections — Nasreen Jalil, Farogh Nasim, Aminul Haque, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Amir Khan, and Kamran Tessori — but Sattar insisted on “sacrificing two other leaders” to ensure Tessori’s seat in the upper house of Parliament.
He was flanked by Waseem Akhtar, Faisal Sazbwari, Amir Khan, and other senior leaders at the press conference.
The Rabita Committee had accepted several of the party convener’s wishes, Siddiqui said, noting that party workers would not let them go ahead with Tessori’s nomination for the Senate seat.
A gold trader by profession, Tessori is a former member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) who joined MQM-P last year and quickly rose to prominence.
He also contested the PS-114 by-election for MQM-P against the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Saeed Ghani but lost.
To decide the future of our party, I request all Haqparast members of MQM Pakistan to attend an important general workers meeting today 4pm at KMC ground (PIB cricket stadium) pic.twitter.com/o9ackzMGNv
— Dr Farooq Sattar (@DFSMQM) February 6, 2018
Being a ‘dummy’ leader unacceptable
Stressing that a powerless leadership was unacceptable to him, Sattar said running the party in such a manner — where decisions are made without his input or consultation — is not possible for him.
“If you want a dummy or powerless leader… that is not acceptable to me.”
“Considering my almost 35 years of service, I have to underscore that this issue is not the real one,” the MQM-P chief said.
“Since 15 months, if I have to beg everyone for every single decision, then what kind of leader am I? They said Farooq bhai is our leader, our convener, but carried on a meeting without me.
“What kind of respect and dignity is this?”
Sattar went ahead to say that his decision was well-thought-of and came from experience.
“When I make a decision, understand my wisdom, understand the party’s needs. [But] if I’m making a wrong decision, then, considering my 35 years of experience, I shouldn’t even by the leader.”
The MQM-P leader stressed that he wanted to see the betterment of the political party, its growth, and its future. “I want to see MQM-P growing into a national party, progressing further,” he added.
However, for that, the “newcomers should be welcomed and given space and opportunity to progress. Their paths [ahead] should not be blocked”.
Rally on Tuesday, face-off challenge
Announcing a rally at the KMC Stadium near M.A. Jinnah Road, scheduled for Tuesday evening, Sattar advised participants of the “illegal” meeting — whom he had suspended — to attend, admit their mistake, and offer an apology.
The remaining matters and decisions will be determined thenceforth.
Further, the MQM-P leader appealed to Afaq Ahmed — the founder and leader of breakaway faction MQM-Haqiqi — to extend his support at this time, step forward for the sake of public, and join hands.
He said he believes members of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) will also be joining them Tuesday evening.
“The issue is not of Kamran Tessori but of my leadership,” Sattar said, noting that the “party cannot be led this way” and that he would “come to Bahadurabad with a fresh mandate”.
If the party workers side with the “illegal” meeting participants, they are welcome to lead, he said, but highlighted that should they disagree, “I’ll show them how to run the party.”
During his speech, Sattar also challenged the aforementioned leader to rally face-off — one at Nishtar Park and the other near Quaid’s Mausoleum — and observe the results for themselves.
Four out of eight MQM-P senators — including Colonel (R) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Dr Mohammad Farogh Naseem, Maulana Tanveer-ul-Haq Thanvi, and Nasreen Jalil — will retire next month.
Senate elections are scheduled to take place on March 3.
The MQM-P will contest for 12 Senate seats from Sindh — where it is the second-largest party — enjoying the support of 50 members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) in the 168-member body. The PPP has 94 lawmakers in the provincial assembly.