Sattar, Rabita Committee trade barbs as deadlock persists on Senate nominations

KARACHI: Deadlock between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan convener Dr Farooq Sattar and members of the party’s highest-decisionmaking body further intensified as both sides refused to budge in favour of other.
Negotiations between both the camps have yielded no breakthrough on the inclusion of Kamran Tessori as MQM-P’s candidate as the party leaders opted for expressing their grievances openly through respective press conferences in the early hours of Thursday.

That the MQM-P leaders will submit nomination papers today, and both factions of the party are still in negotiations to convince the other side, media report.

MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari announced in a press conference, that the highest decision-making body of the party has a consensus on submitting the nomination papers of Nasreen Jalil, Barrister Farogh Naseem, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Syed Aminul Haq, Kishwar Zehra, Sanjay Perwani, Dr Molana Syed Abdul Khaliq Pirzada.
The party’s convener expressed his reservations on Subzwari’s presser.
“I promised the negotiators that I was coming when I was coming so what was the hurry in doing the press conference. When I came to know about it, I immediately called Khawaja Izhar and Kanwar Naveed to stop them, we are coming,” he said. “Subzwari was bitter in his presser. Tessori told me that in view of stopping the party from the division, I can sign on a blank paper – I am withdrawing my candidacy.”
Sattar said that the Bahadurabad faction of the party is constantly showing him the party’s constitution.
“The party meeting is unconstitutional because I didn’t permit it. Had I wanted further division I would have gone to the KMC stadium before the arrival of Rabita Committee delegation at my place. After taking a mandate from the workers would have suspended the Rabita Committee.”
Separately, senior MQM-P leader Amir Khan said that the names recommended by the Rabita Committee was the result of necessity than choice.
“The process of finalization of names is still open. MQM-P’s office is your office. The names are still open. Please come and discuss it with us,” he said.
Subzari, taking a jibe at Tessori said that the party has refused to take decisions while taking on board Tessori.
“We have refused to abide the desire of Tessori, which in fact comes through Sattar that all party decisions should be taken in his presence,” he said. “ There were attempts to pressurize us by shouting slogans. What was the pressure about why Rabita Committee’s deputy convenor was not given Senate ticket.”
The provincial lawmaker questioned merit of Tessori for being MQM-P’s Senate nominee.
“What is merit. MQM is not for sale. If MQM doesn’t send its nomination papers, Peoples Party will be the beneficiary.”

Earlier, according to reports, Sattar suggested four new names as nominees for the upcoming Senate elections, media report.

Rumours of a split in the party were rife after Sattar abruptly left a party meeting on February 5 over a disagreement on nominations of Senate candidates with senior party leader and deputy convener Amir Khan.

According to information received by media, Sattar suggested nominations of Ahmed Chinoy, Khawaja Sohail Mansoor, Ansar Naqvi, and Farhan Chishti as MQM-P’s candidates for the Senate elections after the Rabita Committee and Sattar took conflicting positions on the matter.

The party members suggested by Sattar filled nomination forms, sources have claimed.

Shabbir Qaim Khani withdraws candidacy

Party leader Shabbir Ahmed Qaim Khani withdrew his candidacy from Senate election in an audio message released Wednesday night.
“I am withdrawing my candidacy from the Senate election,” he announced.

He further stated that he was nominated by the Rabita Committee.

“I was nominated after a decision was made by the Rabita Committee and not on the basis of my own wishes,” he said. “I will not submit my nomination papers now.”

“I do not wish to have a Senatorship that has no respect,” he said.

‘MQM-P was and shall remain united’

Senior party leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan had earlier said the party will and shall remain united.
“Workers will not be divided under any circumstances,” Hassan had told the media. “MQM-P was united and shall remain united.”
The Rabita Committee had also redoubled its efforts to appease party convenor Farooq Sattar. It, again, sent a three-member delegation — Sardar Ahmad, Rauf Siddiqui, Javed Hanif — to the disgruntled convener’s residence in Karachi’s PIB colony to ‘discuss matters.’
The two leaders had called separate meetings on Tuesday. Sattar had announced to decide the future course of action in a general workers’ meeting at the KMC ground, while Khan had called Rabita Committee meeting at the party’s Bahadurabad office.
Earlier on February 6, a three-member delegation had returned empty-handed from Sattar’s residence in PIB colony, after talks with the disgruntled convenor failed.
The Rabita Committee had then added senior party members Nasreen Jalil, Faisal Subzwari, and Wasim Akhtar to the delegation in hopes of yielding a positive result but the stalemate had continued.

‘Difference of opinion, not division exists’

Following a meeting with Rabita Committee members, Sattar had said that they have a difference of opinion, but there’s no division among them.
Speaking to media outside his residence, Sattar had said, “This is a matter between brothers. Those who visited my home are my brothers.”
He had said that he had to take a position and thanked workers for extending their support to him. “We will have to differentiate between a difference of opinion and division. We have a difference of opinion, not division.”
The MQM-P chief had urged for sorting the issue out through talks, instead of giving hype to differences.
He had said that he and Rabita Committee members, with whom he had a meeting, will further ponder over the situation.
“Rabita Committee has assured me that they hold me as the [party] head,” he had said, adding, “If something could not be finalised in today’s meeting, then it can be taken up tomorrow afternoon.”
“For me, there is no difference between Bahadurabad and PIB [offices],” Sattar had said as he addressed the workers.

‘Extortion, target killing led to MQM’s demise’

Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah claimed that MQM’s past policies had led to its demise.
Talking to journalists outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Shah said that MQM-P was involved in extortion, target killings and disposing of bodies in gunny bags. He claimed that the party’s policies had come back to haunt it.
He also took a jibe at Sattar for refusing to budge from giving a Senate ticket to party leader Kamran Tessori despite opposition from senior party leaders.
“Seeing Farooq Sattar speak [like that] seems like Tessori’s coffers are talking,” he said.