KARACHI: Giving a one-week deadline to Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM-P’s Bahadurabad group convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Tuesday invited the estranged leader to return and take the reins of the party — an offer vaguely rejected by the seasoned politician apparently because his opponents are still not ready to accept his ‘favoured’ Kamran Tessori.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, Dr Siddiqui asked Dr Sattar and all his fellow colleagues in the PIB group to return to the party by April 16 and resume their previous responsibilities.
“We want to send a message to Farooq bhai that the Rabita [coordination] committee is waiting for you at the Bahadurabad office. We are ready to run the committee with you as it was on Feb 5,” Dr Siddiqui told the press conference. “After this period [April 16] any person, including Farooq Sattar bhai, would return as a worker.”
Estranged leader insists on dissolution of coordination committee
However, without naming Mr Tessori, who was suspended for six months by the Bahadurabad group, Dr Siddiqui said that except those suspended, anyone who was either an elected representative or part of the Dr Sattar-led coordination committee would be reinstated.
He said that the coordination committee would decide their next responsibility after the period of suspension of such individuals ended.
In a thinly veiled reference to the lawmakers who quit the MQM-P and joined the Pak Sarzameen Party, Dr Siddiqui said: “Those who want to take advantage of confusion within the MQM should know this is not to their benefit. Without the MQM we have no importance and we all know those leaving the party cannot get four or five votes [on their own].”
He said if anyone was unhappy with the party, they should stay at home instead of joining other political parties.
Asking the people not to get disappointed, he said the MQM would start preparations for the upcoming general election with full speed after one week.
Accompanied by senior leaders Amir Khan, Faisal Subzwari and others, Dr Siddiqui recalled the different phases of negotiations between the two sides that resulted in a stalemate because of Dr Sattar. “It is not possible for us to deface the party for just one face,” he said, in a veiled reference to Mr Tessori.
He said Dr Sattar wanted dissolution of the entire coordination committee, which was not possible.
‘Why this deadline?’
Following the Bahadurabad group’s press conference, Dr Sattar emerged from his PIB Colony home and while welcoming the gesture told the media that Dr Siddiqui was just a figurehead as “the two-thirds majority of the coordination committee lies somewhere else”.
“Why this deadline? I am a worker and will always be a worker,” he said.
He insisted that the coordination committee must “sacrifice” itself to save the party and the nation. “An advisory body should be formed after dissolving the coordination committees of Bahadurabad and PIB,” he suggested.
He said that some people in the Bahadurabad group did not want an amicable resolution of the crisis. “Kamran Tessori is not a problem. The real issue is to work with colleagues of Bahadurabad.”
Dr Sattar also said that because of the current state of affairs in the MQM, elected representatives were “being forcibly sent to other parties”.
He said that he would contest the next election from the platform of the MQM-P with its election symbol kite.
Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018