Ali Raza Abidi of the Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan, the runner-up from NA-243, has resigned from the party over its decision to not field him in the upcoming by-polls. It is likely that MQM-P will award a ticket to Faisal Sabzwari instead.
In last month’s general elections, Abidi bagged 24,082 votes against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, who won with a lead of 67,291 votes. Khan, who was later elected prime minister had decided to vacate the NA-243 East-I constituency and several others that he had won from across the country in favour of his hometown seat of NA-95 Mianwali-I.
In the wee hours of Sunday, Abidi shared his resignation letter dated August 31 on his Twitter account. The letter stated that he “will not be able to continue participation with MQM-Pakistan due to personal reasons.”
The party convener, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, has however, denied receiving it.
Talking to The News, MQM-P leader Aminul Haque said that it was their internal matter which would be resolved amicably. He said Abidi is a young asset of the party and hoped the coordination committee will persuade him to come back.
Haque said four people including, Sabzwari, Mehfooz Yar Khan and Amir Chishti, have submitted their nomination forms with the Election Commission of Pakistan for the by-polls to be held in October. He added that the final decision for awarding the ticket had not been taken yet.
This is the second time that Abidi has resigned from the party. In a similar tweet in November 2017, he announced to quit his then MNA seat over the botched MQM-P and Pakistan Sarzameen Party merger stating that this was not what he “believed in and stood for.” He, however, withdrew the resignation.
Later, when the MQM-P infighting began and the party split into the PIB Colony and Bahadurabad groups spearheaded by Farooq Sattar and Amir Khan, Abidi stood with Sattar. The groups reunited later to avoid conflict amid the elections. However, most of the candidates who were with the PIB Colony group lost in the polls.
Still in a tug of war
Though the groups have ended the infighting publicly, the party still seems to be facing internal challenges.
A senior MQM-P leader, talking on the condition of anonymity, said that the decisions of the party were not being taken by the coordination committee but “being imported”.
He said that there was dissent within the party over the nominations for NA-243 by-elections. He added that some leaders supported Abidi for his “effective” campaign against PTI chief in the constituency and were of the opinion that he should be awarded the ticket again.
Haque denied this and said the party’s coordination committee was independent and the decisions were taken after due consultation among the members. “These are mere allegations intending to harm the party,” he said.
According to Haque, the MQM-P decided to support PTI in the Centre against all odds because there was no other way to redress the issues faced by the people of urban Sindh. “We believe that the recovery of missing persons, development packages and due resources can only be obtained through this, otherwise there is no chance,” he said.
‘It’s better to leave’
Abidi told The News that he took the decision to resign because the leadership had shown him that he was not wanted in the party. “There are many other issues that have been accumulating which were hurting my life and career. So it’s better to leave when I am a liability for the party.”
According to the ECP schedule, the by-polls in NA-243 will be held on October 14. Rashid Godil, Alamgir Khan, Aftab Siddiqui and Ashraf Qureshi of the PTI have filed their nominations, while Muzammil Qureshi, Hassan Sabir, Asif Hasnain and Salman Rahim from the Pak Sarzameen Party have submitted their forms.