Farooq Sattar loses MQM-P convenership

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–ECP rejects Sattar’s application challenging ECP’s jurisdiction to decide party’s internal matters

–Sattar says decision against him has been ‘managed’ despite him taking a stand against MQM founder

–Bahadurabad group’s Faisal Subzwari says Sattar should accept ECP’s decision

 

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday ruled that Farooq Sattar will no longer serve as the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) convener, while declaring the intra-party elections held by the party;s PIB Colony faction on February 18, null and void.

Headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, a five-member bench approved a plea of MQM Bahadurabad leaders – Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Kanwar Naveed Jameel – through which they challenged the recently held intra-party elections of the Sattar-led MQM-P faction.

The bench also dismissed Sattar’s petition challenging the jurisdiction of ECP in the case.

The commission also accepted a petition challenging the resolution passed at an “emergency general workers’ meeting” called by Sattar last month. At the convention, when Sattar had asked the participants through a resolution if they would endorse the coordination committee’s decision to remove him as the convener, the workers had replied in the negative.

One of the petitions asked the ECP to replace Sattar with Siddiqui in its record. It pleaded that Sattar had been removed as convener by a two-third majority of the party’s Rabita Committee.

Another petition challenged the February 18 intra-party elections. The Bahadurabad faction, which had elected Siddiqui as the convener after removing Sattar, had boycotted the exercise.

MQM-PIB leader Ali Raza Abidi while speaking to reporters after the verdict was announced said the ruling was “injustice” with the Sattar-led group.

He said he will urge Sattar to challenge the verdict because the ECP is a “repository of information and not a trial court”.

The ECP which cannot hold a trial does not have the jurisdiction to pass such judgements, he claimed. He observed that the verdict was not read out by the ECP bench, but was disclosed by a reader.

‘VERDICT UNJUST’:

Lashing out at the ECP, Farooq Sattar said the verdict will go down in history as a dark chapter, while calling the decision “unjust” and “unconstitutional”.

Addressing the media in the federal capital, the former MQM-P convener said the decision is a black stain on Pakistan’s electoral and judicial history.

He claimed the decision is ‘managed’, and a result of his standing up to the party founder after the controversy surrounding the MQM in August 2016.

He said there was no precedent for such a decision in the country’s history.

Sattar insisted that the electoral body had no jurisdiction to adjudicate the matters involving intra-party disputes.

He said it had earlier refused to entertain such matters and referred them to courts for adjudication, whereas in his case, a verdict was given.

“I have been punished for standing up to MQM founder and support state’s Constitution and institutions.”

Sattar also deemed the verdict to be part of a ‘conspiracy’ to target MQM. “The MQM which I helped rescue is being dissolved now.”

He alleged that the party’s votes are also being divided so as to ‘give’ them to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and Pakistan Sarzameen Party.

These seats have been snatched from MQM’s workers and given to our brothers in Bahadurabad, he remarked, adding that the Bahadurabad faction of the party does not have the majority.

“MQM without its founder and Farooq Sattar will have the same worth as PSP,” he said and added that “the plan was never minus-one, it was always minus-MQM-P”.

“This decision is a continuation of a plot against the sanctity and integrity of our electioneering sign,” said Sattar.

‘SATTAR SHOULD ACCEPT ECP’s DECISION’:

Meanwhile, MQM-P Bahadurabad faction’s Faisal Subzwari said the ECP declared their stance as truth.

Addressing a press conference outside the party headquarters, he said the ECP had made it clear which group should have the kite and electioneering sign.

“We hope, Farooq Bhai will accept the decision as he had pledged to do so,” he said and maintained that the Rabita Committee was against a divided party.

“We don’t want to accept any divide in MQM-P,” he said, adding that “we are inviting Farooq Sattar, and will extend this invitation in person too, to join hands to take the party forward”.

DISPUTE:

The dispute between party members over nominations for the upcoming Senate elections had earlier resulted in the emergence of splinter groups – Dr Farooq Sattar led PIB Colony faction and the Bahadurabad group consisting of Amir Khan, Nasreen Jalil, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui among others.

As a result, Bahadurabad removed Farooq Sattar as party chief for “violating its constitution and overstepping his authority”.

Afterwards, in a tit for tat move, Sattar dissolved the Rabita Committee and announced to hold intra-party elections to elect the new party head.

On Feb 18,  the elections were held at KMC Ground in PIB Colony, in which Sattar was re-elected as the party convener after securing 9, 500 out of around 12,000 votes cast.

Sattar had earlier challenged the ECP’s jurisdiction to hear a petition pertaining to the party’s convenership on March 1.

His legal counsel Babar Sattar stated that the party’s internal matters cannot be heard by the ECP, demanding the Bahadurabad group’s petition should be dismissed.