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KARACHI – Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan chief Farooq Sattar has warned that party lawmakers will resign en-masse if anyone of them is made to desert the party or taken to another ‘camp’.
MQM-Pakistan has been witnessing erosion since the formation of the group when MQM lawmakers in the country announced parting of ways with London-based Altaf Hussain and his associates.
The party claims that establishment has been pushing its members through stick and carrot to join other parties, especially the Pak Sarzameen Party of Mustufa Kamal – the former Karachi mayor and MQM member.
Now that Senate elections are approaching near, the party claimed on Sunday that Pakistan Peoples Party was hatching a conspiracy to cut its representation in Senate through effecting defections.
“The time has come that we make a decision,” Farooq Sattar along with other party members told a press conference in Karachi.
“It’s been a year since we parted ways with the MQM-London. Still our party’s legislators are being forced to switch loyalties. I don’t understand why this is happening,” he added.
“A conspiracy is being hatched to force MQM-Pakistan out from Senate and give the mandate to the Pakistan People’s Party,” MQM-P chief claimed.
“We will now approach the Election Commission of Pakistan against the [deserted] MQM lawmakers to unseat them as they have left the party. We will also urge the commission to announce by-elections on these seats,” he said.
He claimed that all the lawmakers sitting in the press conference were asked to desert MQM-P on one excuse or the other.
If any lawmaker would now be issued threats to make him or her leave the party, they would convey it to the prime minister and chief of army staff and ask them if lower rank officials were doing all this on their orders, he said. He added that they hoped it was not the policy of the state and its institutions.
“We are not opposed to anyone’s changing loyalty” but it must not come out of coercion, he said.
“If even a single lawmaker will now switch loyalty under pressure then we will be forced to divorce the parliamentary process,” he warned.
Referring to the allegations levelled against him by MQM’s expelled MNA, Salman Mujahid Baloch, Farooq Sattar said it has been a year since MQM-P ended contact with MQM-London.
“These attempts [to weaken MQM-P] would only damage our efforts aimed at standing with the country and rejecting a narrative coming from London,” he said, in an effort to dispel the impression that they were still under Altaf Hussain’s control.
The MQM-P leader also announced holding a public gathering at Mazar-e-Quaid on November 5 to raise the issue of irregularities in census process in the province.
“We have approached the courts and other relevant quarters for resolving this issue but now we will be approaching the masses for it,” he said.
Pakistan People’s Party rejected the allegations that a conspiracy was being hatched to lower MQM-Pakistan representation in Senate and said that they had nothing to do with defections within the party.
“Those who had established the MQM are now trying to eliminate it from political landscape,” said a statement by PPP Secretary Information Chaudhry Manzoor.
He said that MQM-P was witnessing internal rift and defections due to its undemocratic attitude in the past and present scenarios.
“Farooq Sattar should not blame PPP for his wrongdoings as PPP never believes in creating factions among the parties and instead believe in democratic and political processes,” he said, posing that what his party could achieve by making MQM members to join PSP or other parties.
Manzoor said that people in Karachi wanted to get rid of the politics initiated and practiced by MQM over the past three decades. They were looking towards PPP for a new hope, he held.
He said that the defeat was written on the wall for MQM in next general elections and this was the reason Farooq Sattar was feeling the heat and blaming the PPP for their own wrongdoings.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper.