February 12, 2018
MQM-P Rabita Committee removes Farooq Sattar as party convener
KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's (MQM-P) Rabita Committee on Sunday removed Dr Farooq Sattar as the party's convener. Also, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Farooq Sattar on Sunday announced that he was dissolving the party's Rabita Committee, hours after members of the coordination committee at the party's Bahadurabad office said he was no longer the convener of the party.
"Farooq Sattar breached the Rabita Committee's trust," senior party leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel announced in a press conference on Sunday evening. During a press conference on Sunday, Kanwar Naveed Jameel announced the decision to remove Dr Farooq Sattar as Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s convener. "He changed the party's constitution without bringing it into the knowledge of the Rabita Committee," he said.
He further alleged that the former party chief had taken, in his control, the rights to select and remove party members without informing the coordination committee. "We gave in to all of Farooq Bhai's [brother's] demands yet he was unwilling to lead the party," said Jameel. "But he is still a member of our party."
Later in the evening, the Rabita Committee unanimously accepted senior party member Amir Khan's suggestion to appoint Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as the party's convener, sources informed Geo News.
Immediately after Jameel's press conference, Sattar addressed the media to claim that the ongoing rift within the party ranks was in fact over MQM-P's leadership. "My naive colleagues have proven that the issue was not about the nominations for the Senate election, it was about the party leadership," a spirited Sattar told the journalists.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had earlier issued a Senate ticket to party member Siddiqui amid a strong protest from Sattar. "Senate tickets are being issued without my permission," he said while speaking outside the ECP.
Sattar and the party’s coordination committee had been at loggerheads over the allotment of Senate tickets. The rift intensified as the latter wrote a letter to the ECP on Friday, informing the electoral body that the authority to issue the party tickets rests with the committee, not the party chief.
His protest with the ECP on Sunday, however, was futile, as the latter told the former party chief that he could willingly take up the matter in court. The electoral body maintained that Sattar should have lodged his complaint before the process of scrutiny was completed.
"Any Rabita Committee meetings conducted in my absence and any decisions taken thereof can be questioned," Sattar told journalists during a press conference in Karachi. He further said that he reserved the right to challenge and question [decisions that were taken by MQM-P's central committee]. "The deputy-convener's role is limited," he said while talking to the media. "He can only assist, not take over the convener's duties."
"I don't want to take matters to the court," he said. Also, the ECP approved the nomination papers of Kamran Tessori — who seemingly became the main reason for the rift within the party ranks. The divisions between the former party chief and members of the Rabita Committee widened after Sattar expressed the wish to award a Senate ticket to Tessori, a move opposed by some members of the Rabita Committee.
“This seems like an internal coup against Sattar whose stand for Tessori seems to be backfiring,” analyst Shahzeb Khanzada remarked. “There are several reasons why this issue was not resolved. Whatever the final outcome, it will be harmful to both sides,” senior analyst Mazhar Abbas added.
The MQM-P's coordination committee, on Friday, had delegated the authority to Siddiqui to nominate party members for the upcoming Senate elections on March 3. Addressing the media on the same day, Rabita committee member Faisal Subzwari had claimed that according to the party's constitution, the authority to nominate members for elections did not lie with the convener or any individual.
"This right is the sole privilege of the coordination committee, which has transferred it to deputy-convener [Siddiqui]," he had told journalists. The rift between the PIB Colony and Bahadurabad factions of the party intensified after the latter wrote a letter to the ECP in an attempt to wrest authority from Sattar.
The letter informed the electoral body that the authority to issue party tickets rests with the Rabita Committee, not the party chief. It also stated that as per Section 19(a) of the party's constitution, the authority to nominate candidates for election rests with the Rabita Committee. The letter was later rescinded after the coordination committee announced that it was making new efforts to reconcile with the former party chief.
Meanwhile, Farooq Sattar on Sunday announced that he was dissolving the party's Rabita Committee, hours after members of the coordination committee at the party's Bahadurabad office said he was no longer the convener of the party.
Addressing a general workers' meeting here, Sattar announced to conduct intra party elections at KMC Ground on February 17. "First we will contest the party election and then 2018 general elections," he said, urging all the workers to show up at the KMC Ground on February 17.
He urged the workers to stay united and not to fall prey to the propaganda of Bahadurabad faction of the party. "APMSO is also with us," Sattar said, asking activists to make a final decision what was to be done of the other faction. "We will not opt for a collision, but struggle peacefully."
The MQM-P leader said that the ones under the propaganda of Bahadurabad faction should come on Saturday and express their opinion in the [intra party] election. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Sattar said the issue was not over distribution of Senate tickets but a conspiracy had been hatched to 'seize control' of the party.
"My naive colleagues have proven that the issue was not about the nominations for Senate election, it was about the party leadership," Sattar told the journalists. "The conspiracy has been revealed and the cat has come out of the bag now," he said. "The issue was not over tickets for Senate seats, it was about taking control over the party itself."
"They haven't sacked me — they have deprived every deserving worker of this party of their due right," said Sattar. "A fitting response will be given soon at the KMC Ground today."
Responding to allegations of amending the party's constitution without informing the Rabita Committee and taking in his control other rights, Sattar questioned how a 'powerful leader' like him was removed with such ease. "If I am the powerful leader that I was alleged to be, how did [they] remove me so easily," he said. "One cat has come out of the bag and many others will do so in the coming days," claimed Sattar, adding that MQM-Haqiqi Two's foundation had been laid today.