MQM-Pakistan’s leader Dr Farooq Sattar on Tuesday night struck a conciliatory tone while talking to the media regarding the ongoing strife among his party leaders, saying that “it’s a matter between brothers and it will be resolved accordingly.”
Following a round of discussions between Sattar and the party’s coordination committee over the nomination of candidates for the March 3 Senate elections, Sattar told his loyalists to not chant slogans against his dissidents, saying: “We are all brothers and we should have a positive attitude. We don’t want to give the impression that there is a divide between us. I see no difference between Bahadurabad and PIB.”
On Tuesday evening, the MQM-P’s coordination committee had arrived at the residence of their recently-estranged leader in an effort to end a deadlock over the nomination of candidates for the March 3 Senate elections.
“There should be a distinction between divide and difference of opinion. There is freedom of speech in our party but not for public and media. We should set our ego to one side. We need a mechanism that resolves differences so that our internal issues don’t get discussed in the media,” the MQM leader said.
Sattar, however, reiterated that he wants to be a leader who enjoys ‘actual’ power and is respected in a real sense, rather than superficially.
“All party workers also want their leader to enjoy utmost respect. The leader should be given the right to take important decisions. In some cases, the authority to take key decisions must reside with the leader.”
The development came after a three-member delegation sent by the committee earlier in the day had failed to convince Dr Sattar over the issue.
The MQM-P chief has also called a workers’ convention at his residence on Wednesday.
The row over the nomination of candidates for Senate elections had turned into something of an open revolt against Dr Sattar on Monday night after the party’s top decision-making forum removed his favoured candidate, Kamran Tessori, from the coordination committee and suspended him for six months, Dawn reported.
In a bid to reiterate his control over the party cadre, a beleaguered Dr Sattar, along with a handful of leaders, had held a late-night press conference at his PIB Colony residence to make it clear he would not accept being a ‘ceremonial’ party head.
Karachi mayor and party leader Waseem Akhtar, while talking to reporters before leaving for Dr Sattar’s residence on Tuesday, had said the coordination committee did not wish the party to be divided any further. He said Sattar was the head of the party and they would go wherever he summoned them.
He said party leaders wanted to learn lessons from “past mistakes” and desired that the coordination committee be given more say in policy making in the future.
Faisal Sabzwari, meanwhile, said that his party believes in non-confrontational and non-violent politics and its leaders wanted to resolve all conflicts.
On the other hand, Tessori, while talking to reporters earlier in the day, said whatever decision Dr Sattar takes about his nomination should be accepted in the larger interest of the party.
On Monday, a meeting of the coordination committee had been convened at the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, where Dr Sattar had an altercation with senior leader Amir Khan when the latter, along with others, refused to endorse the former’s proposal to field Tessori as a candidate on one of the Senate general seats.
Sources said that majority of the participants seconded Khan’s views, upon which Dr Sattar boycotted the meeting and left for his PIB Colony residence in a huff.
He subsequently summoned all party members, excluding the coordination committee members, to his PIB Colony home.
Most MQM-P leaders had stayed put at the Bahadurabad headquarters, however, where senior leader Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui spoke to the media to say that the party had decided to nominate Nasreen Jalil (on first priority), followed by Dr Farogh Nasim, Aminul Haq, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Amir Khan and Tessori for six Senate seats.
He said Dr Sattar had wanted to “sacrifice” two of the top four candidates to accommodate Tessori.
After Dr Siddiqui’s media talk, Dr Sattar emerged from his home and told reporters that it was ‘unconstitutional’ to hold a party meeting without his permission.
Dr Sattar has often been criticised for favouring Tessori over seasoned party leaders and workers since he made the former deputy convener, gave him a ticket to contest a by-election on a Sindh Assembly seat (PS-114) and now wants to nominate the jeweller-turned-politician for a Senate seat.