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Candidates from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Farooq Sattar and the party’s coordination committee — who are both at odds with each other over candidates for Senate seats — have separately submitted their nomination papers to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), DawnNews reported on Thursday.
As the time for candidates to submit their papers came to a close, Kamran Tessori, Jamal Ahmed, Waseem Qureshi and Farhan Chishti submitted their nomination papers from Sattar’s group.
Farogh Naseem, Nasreen Jalil, Abdul Qadir Khanzada and Ameenul Haq from the emergent ‘Bahadurabad group’ of MQM-P also submitted their nomination papers.
The differences in opinion seem to be taking a toll on the party’s leaders. Upon their arrival at the ECP, Sattar and coordination committee members Waseem Akhtar and Faisal Sabzwari became teary-eyed as they met each other.
Speaking to media outside the ECP office in Karachi, Sabzwari said that he hoped that the rift between the two sides would be filled soon.
“If the conflict persists, it will make matters worse and none of us wants that,” he said.
He said that the party had suffered more damage in the past four days than it had suffered in the two days when the MQM-P considered a coalition with the Pak Sarzameen Party.
Sabzwari insisted that the doors of the party’s Bahadurabad office “were open” and Sattar could visit there any time.
“We want Farooq Sattar bhai to come to the Bahdurabad office and chair a meeting of the Rabta Committee so that we can reach an agreement,” he said.
Sattar, on the other hand, claimed there were no differences between the party when he talked to the media on his way back from the ECP office.
“We would have sorted this issue [earlier] but the media made it look like there was no solution to the problem,” he said.
On being told that Farogh Naseem had contemplated his removal as the party head, Sattar termed it “unbelievable”.
“No matter what you [the media] say, I don’t believe he can say that,” he said.
Both the groups — the committee members and the Sattar-led group — had earlier announced that they will continue deliberations to resolve their differences. The groups separately announced they would discuss the nominations, and that the nominations of all candidates other than the four final names both groups would decide on would be withdrawn.
Earlier in the day, Sattar had told the media outside his PIB Colony residence that he was nominating Kamran Tessori, former Citizens Police Liaison Committee chief Ahmed Chinoy, Farhan Chisti, the brother of slain MQM leader Khalid Bin Waleed, Sanjay Parwani, Khawaja Sohail, Qamar Mansoor, Ali Raza Abidi and Shahid Pasha for the general seats.
Additionally, he nominated Nikhat Shakeel and Mangla Sharma on reserved seats for women, whereas Chinoy and retired Justice Hassan Feroze were nominated on seats reserved for technocrats.
Coordination Committee representative, Senator Nasreen Jalil, while addressing a press conference outside the party’s temporary Bahadurabad headquarters, said that the committee had nominated her, Barrister Farrogh Naseem, Aminul Haq, Qadir Khanzada, Professor Mattiur Rahman, Kishwar Zahrah and Amir Chishti for the March 3 Senate elections.
MQM-P leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan, who has been brokering talks between the two groups, told the media today that there is no trust deficit between the two groups.
He said that some elements had been spreading misinformation to create confusion, stressing that these elements had been exposed. He added that Sattar and the committee would tackle the issue at a suitable time.
The row over the nomination of candidates for Senate elections had turned into something of an open revolt against Sattar on Monday night after the party’s top decision-making forum removed his favoured candidate, Kamran Tessori, from the coordination committee and suspended him for six months, Dawn reported.
In a bid to reiterate his control over the party cadre, a beleaguered Sattar, along with a handful of leaders, had held a late-night press conference at PIB Colony to make it clear he would not accept being a ‘ceremonial’ party head.
Later, a reconciliation committee was constituted to defuse the tensions within the party ranks.
Sattar has often been criticised for favouring Tessori over seasoned party leaders and workers. Since becoming leader of the party’s Pakistan chapter, Sattar has given Tessori a ticket to contest a by-election on a Sindh Assembly seat (PS-114) and now wants to nominate the jeweller-turned-politician for a Senate seat.