November 10, 2017

MQM-P, PSP political alliance breaks within 24 hours

KARACHI: Dejected with the criticism over formation of an alliance with the rival Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Dr Farooq Sattar announced on Thursday to quit the party and politics. He, however, took his decision back after the party leaders and particularly his mother persuaded him to do so.

Addressing a dramatically-lengthy press conference at his residence in the PIB Colony, Sattar said that the alliance decision was taken in consultation with the other leadership of the party, namely Sindh Opposition Leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan, MPA Faisal Sabzwari, Senator Nasreen Jaleel, party spokesperson Aminul Haq and Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar.

“They should have come forward and said that they were consulted as well,” he said, while referring to the statements of the party leaders, notably senior deputy convener Amir Khan, deputy convener Shahid Pasha and others, who claimed ignorance of any such talk in the party.

Mentioning PSP Chairperson Mustafa Kamal's statement that the talks about the alliance were underway for six months and its initial phase was concluded on Tuesday night, Sattar said that he had kept the details of this span of time secret but wrote them at length in a letter to the prime minister, army chief, director generals of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence and chief justice of the country.

“I will make this letter public [if you would want],” he warned, saying that Kamal’s speech during the presser hurt his and the sentiments of the Muhajir community they claimed to represent throughout their political career. “When we talk about the rights of Muhajirs, we talk about the rights of all other communities who have been denied their due rights in the country.”

The PSP chairperson, during their joint presser, had contradicted Sattar over the Muhajir card in politics. He had said that by this kind of politics, they were making other ethnicities living in the city feel isolated and rejected. He also mentioned that the MQM, its symbol and its manifesto were reminiscent of the party founder Altaf Hussain.

The MQM-P chief said that if Kamal and those backing him, allegedly the establishment, were against the party founder, then why were they “insulting” the Muhajir community. “We had dissociated ourselves with Altaf Hussain Bhai the day when he spoke against the country,” he said, adding that the Muhajirs were among the founders of this country but were treated as third class citizens.

“We [Muhajirs] will be part of national politics when we are deemed as equal citizens of this country,” he said, adding that the party didn’t eye any other community or ethnicity inferior but had in its fold many top-tier leaders belonging to Pakhtun, Punjabi and Sindhi communities.

Refuting the reports that the MQM was going to end, he said that “MQM is here to stay” and so was its electoral symbol, a kite. Kamal in the presser had asserted that his party would not accept the name or the symbol of the MQM in the alliance. “The Muhajir sentiments are with the party’s tri-color flag and the symbol of kite.”

Meanwhile, in a briefing to the media after a meeting of the MQM-P coordination committee at the party's headquarters in Bahadurabad, deputy convener Kunwar Naveed Jameel said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan will remain intact with its name and the electoral symbol of kite.

The meeting was chaired by Jameel himself as the party chief Farooq Sattar didn't attend it for reasons not told. According to party leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan, who is also the leader of opposition in the Sindh Assembly, the meeting was called to clarify the party's position to its leaders who expressed ignorance about the alliance decision.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that in the MQM-P meeting before the press conference with the PSP, some of the party leaders had rejected the alliance proposal and did not make it to the Karachi Press Club. Soon after the presser, MNA Ali Raza Abidi, who is outside the country these days, tweeted that he was quiting the party and resigning from his seat NA 251.

"Some confusions occured after the yesterday's press conference which were cleared in Thursday's meeting," Jameel said as nearly the whole coordination committe flanked him in the media briefing. "MQM-P will remain with its name and a kite."

Jameel said that the MQM-P will not change its manifesto, name and the electoral symbol and will continue with the existing ones.


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