Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar has said that the “estranged” behaviour of his colleagues at the party’s helm is encouraging other parties to offer him to jump ship.
Talking to The News on Thursday, Sattar said he has been offered to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) by a “close friend”. He chose not to name his “friend”, but said he is certainly a “civilian”. “I’m thinking about it, but I’m not sure if I’ll make the decision.”
The MQM-P leader said his association with the MQM has surpassed 35 years and it would be almost impossible for him to leave the party he has shared his ideology with. “I’ve spent my life here [with the MQM]. I may not be able to go anywhere else.”
A day earlier, talking to journalists at the anti-terrorism courts, he had said he was offered to contest the by-election in NA-247 (South-II) on a PTI ticket.
The seat fell vacant after Arif Alvi, who had won the National Assembly constituency in the July 25 general elections, was elected president of the country.
It seems that the challenges within the MQM-P have resurfaced, as Sattar is seen neither in any of the decision-making meetings nor in the make-or-break negotiations with other parties. Meanwhile, Ali Raza Abidi has left the party.
All of this points towards the possibility that the infighting within the MQM-P that led to the party’s split into the Bahadurabad and PIB Colony factions is still under way. The MQM-P leadership, however, denies that any rift exists within the party.
Aminul Haque, member of the party’s coordination committee, said that all the leaders are on board and every decision is taken after due consultations. He stressed that the party is moving forward instead of looking back.
Haque said the recovery of missing persons from Karachi and Hyderabad, development packages for the two cities and the establishment of higher educational institutions are among the party’s top priorities, for which they are negotiating with their political partner, namely the PTI.
Nevertheless, the MQM-P is going through a difficult time. Besides being split into more factions, it has lost the title of being the largest political party of Karachi, the economic and cultural hub of the country. The party can currently boast of only four MNAs and 13 MPAs, which is arguably its all-time low representation in the legislatures of the country.