Karachi has become a focal point of the country’s political discourse due to the forthcoming Senate elections.
On the 5th February 2018, the party got split after major differences erupted within the party groups.
MQM-P Bahadurabad was led by Rabitta Committee while MQM-P PIB Colony was led by Farooq Sattar. MQM already had 3 more factions before the fiasco MQM (Haqqiqi), MQM-London and PSP. And now Karachites witness one more group within MQM-P.
The latest split in MQM-P took place after the differences in the party got flared up over the nomination papers of the candidates for Senate elections. The whole fiasco began when Farooq Sattar suggested the name of Kamran Tessori.
Tessori, who is known as a close confidant of Farooq Sattar, joined MQM a year ago. It is believed that Kamran Tessori joined MQM-P in the worst period of the party and resuscitated the party after Altaf Hussain’s departure.
PTI attempted to step in Karachi but lost it gradually because of its Punjab-oriented politics. Urdu speaking community has a very different approach to politics and needs a separate political entity for their representation
The party faced diminution from various quarters. Party offices were shut down and workers were picked up by the LEAs.
But Farooq Sattar cannot neglect the Rabitta Committee nominees because they are the ones who have been serving the party for decades.
There was also a serious revolt within MQM-P when Kamran Tessori was suggested as their candidate in PS-114 by-election last year. It’s understood that Kamran Tessori is the ATM man of MQM-P. Far more significant is MQM which was supposed to be different from the mainstream political party is today aligned with them. It was well known for putting forward middle-class applicants. But they are also under the breach of ATM man, unlike other political parties. It has become a trend and an essentiality for political parties to have at least one ATM man.
Before the final nomination of Senate candidates, MQM-P held a balloting. And the names which had majority votes amid Rabitta Committee were finalized.
However, the constitution of MQM also empowers Rabitta Committee to nominate the candidates. But Farooq Sattar was willful over Tessori’s nomination. Even in Altaf Hussain’s regime, Rabitta committee had the decision power and Altaf use to announce appendix on it.
The Rabitta Committee announced Khalid Maqbool as the convener. In a tit for tat, Farooq Sattar dissolved Rabitta Committee. Subsequently, ECP accepted the names of MQM-P Bahadurabad group. However, PIB faction lost the battle just because of Farooq Sattar mulish attitude. For at least week, the country witnessed how the infighting continued within the party. The same situation took birth on MQM-PSP merger but it was later diffused by the party leaders.
Throughout MQM-PSP merger, when Sattar was isolated by the Amir Khan group. He tendered his resignation. An episode occurred which reminded us of the Altaf screened for long and steps down as party head and subsequently Rabitta Committee urging him to take back the decision. After Altaf Hussain, only Farooq Sattar was eagerly stopped from taking the resignation. Therefore, Sattar believed Altaf in him.
For long, MQM was under fascism during Altaf tenure. After distancing themselves from him, the leaders became free birds. Consequently, MQM-P is facing power struggle. Amir Khan and Farooq Sattar are the leading characters. The primary problem with MQM is that they cannot stand alone on their feet. They always need ‘someone’ to give them the assistance. Even in MQM-PSP, a story popped up in media that PTI Karachi leader Faisal Vawda and any Khaki personnel made them sit together.
This support was massively given by the military dictator Musharraf. They openly created destabilisation in the urban Sindh but development was also observed under Mustafa Kamal’s mayor-ship. But nobody was present to stop them.
The fight is still ongoing. Few MPAs have already announced not to cast vote in the Senate elections, Khuwaja Izhar (leader of the opposition in Sindh assembly) is amongst them.
Nevertheless, it will benefit PPP in the Senate elections as majority MPAs now have free ground. And PPP will exploit the breakup scenario and bargaining tool will also be manipulated.
In this drama, MQM-P had lost what they had to but people of urban Sindh became a hostage. MQM-P got obtained an internal crisis. Currently, nobody is representing the urban Sindh. Karachi is on its verge regarding the development program. Karachi was once the leading city in terms of development. Since PPP regime in 2008 MQM-P failed to deliver in urban Sindh from where they represent. MQM-P backdated, arranged sit-ins regarding the ban on their chief speech but failed to stand up against the due rights of Karachites.
Nonetheless, Sattar or Amir Khan doesn’t appear as the leader of the 4th biggest political party of Pakistan. It is not the only problem of MQM-P but all the political parties who haven’t prepared any second-tier leadership.
If the fissures between MQM-P aren’t remedied, then voter turnout in urban Sindh will remain low in GE. The mainstream political parties have failed to convince the urban Sindh voter. PTI attempted to step in but gradually lost Karachi for having Punjab centric behaviour. Urdu speaking community has a very different approach and needs a separate political entity for their representation.
Afterwards, the mediation committee was set up to patch up between the Bahadurabad and PIB. But the circumstances are not appearing to be ending happily. The deadlock remains spry. Is another bracket devising within MQM? It has raised the eyebrows of many.
The writer is an academic. He tweets @muhd_hani
Published in Daily Times, March 2nd 2018.