Farooq Sattar gets two days to submit reply on pleas filed by Bahadurabad group

  • PIB, Bahadurabad factions will accept ECP’s decision, leaders maintain

KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has given two days to the PIB faction of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) to submit replies in petitions filed by the Bahadurabad group against Dr Farooq Sattar.

The petitions include removal of Sattar as convener by two-third majority of the Raabita Committee and replacing him with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the other challenges February 18 intra-party elections held under the leadership of Sattar – an election that he won by a heavy margin, becoming the party convener.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Sattar’s lawyer Advocate Babar Sattar sought time to submit reply. Following which Barrister Farogh Naseem, representing Bahadurabad, reminded the commission that the matter should be resolved before Senate elections on March 3. Naseem insisted that the PIB-group submit a reply on Tuesday. However, the ECP accepted Advocate Babar’s request, giving his client until March 1 for the submission.

The hearing was attended by Rauf Siddiqui, Aamir Khan and Waseem Akhtar of the Bahadurabad faction while Syed Ali Raza Abidi, Syed Iqbal Qadri, Kamran Tessori and Kishwar Zehra represented PIB.

Speaking to the media outside the ECP office, Naseem said Sattar was given notice 10 days ago yet he did not appear in person. He claimed that 95 per cent of the party was supporting Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. “He is duly the elected-convener,” he told media. “He was elected through a procedure that follows the party constitution.”

Talking to reporters, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that the ECP’s decision would be final and acceptable by all parties to the petition.

“This is a discussion on a few issues between brothers,” he said. “We can solve this matter both, through the ECP and directly.”

Siddiqui further stated that the party’s Bahadurabad faction was open to negotiations.

Similarly, Kamran Tessori also maintained that both the factions will accept the decision of ECP. He added that one thing was clear between both the groups, that the party will not be divided.

In his press talk, Babar informed the media that a detailed reply on two-third majority and other claims will be submitted on March 1. He stressed that his client’s case was strong, terming the removal of Sattar unconstitutional. “A party bearer cannot be removed without a show-cause notice,” he said. “Their [Bahadurabad group’s] claims are contradictory.”

The conflict between two factions of the party-Rabita Committee-led Bahadurabad and Sattar-led PIB groups-emerged over the distribution of tickets for upcoming Senate elections. Rabita Committee strongly opposed Sattar’s decision to give the ticket to newcomer Kamran Tessori.

As per media reports, Bahadurabad group has rejected Sattar’s suggestion to dissolve Rabita Committee. The former, in return, has suggested PIB group to constitute a parliamentary board.

The suggestions came after Tessori’s meeting with Rabita Committee on Sunday night. While hinting at a ‘positive turn’ in talks, he added that MQM-P will make all efforts to re-conciliate for the interests of Muhajirs.

Tessori met Rabita Committee members including Naeem-ul-Haq, Faisal Sabzwari, Amir Khan and other leaders.