Some reprieve for Farooq Sattar as IHC suspends ECP’s verdict

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  • MQM-P’s leader visits Bahadurabad in a bid to reunite party
  • Court reinstates MQM-P leader as party’s convener until a final verdict is given on his petition 

ISLAMABAD: After the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict of removing Farooq Sattar as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener, Sattar on Thursday evening visited Bahadurabad and said that it was the joint home of both MQM-P factions.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Sattar said,”Bahadurabad is our joint home despite differences and all workers in PIB and Bahadurabad are part of MQM-P.”

Upon his arrival, he was presented a flower bouquet by MQM-P lawmaker Kishwer Zehra who said that she wanted to personally escort him to the Bahadurabad headquarters.

Sattar said, “Whatever our differences may be, both groups share the same ideology.”

Sattar’s wife and and Syed Ali Raza Abidi accompanied him during the visit.

Meanwhile, MQM-P leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan announced that he was leaving MQM-P’s arbitration committee.

Following IHC’s decision, Sattar had said that he would visit Bahadurabad freely since all obstacles that prevented him from visiting Bahadurabad were removed. He said that those from MQM-P’s Bahadurabad faction were as part of the party as himself.

Sattar further said that his maternal family and in-laws were from Bahadurabad and asked the party members to pray for his successful visit to Bahadurabad.

Sattar’s announcement came after reports of a telephonic conversation between Sattar and Siddiqui in which the two reportedly discussed organising a meeting in Bahadurabad on Thursday evening.

Earlier, a five-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, had given the order on Monday in the case pertaining to the intra-party dispute on the position of party convener.

During Thursday’s proceedings, the court reinstated Sattar as the MQM-P convener until the final verdict is passed.

The petition was heard by Justice Amir Farooq. Advocate Babar Sattar, who represented the MQM-P chief in court, argued that ECP does not have the jurisdiction to interfere in a political party’s internal matters. He said that since MQM-P is registered under Farooq’s name, the ECP does not have the authority to hear cases by another person who claims to be party convener.

He, however, conceded to hold intra-party elections again if the ECP orders.

IHC Justice Aamer Farooq then set aside the ECP order and issued notices to Sattar’s rivals, Siddiqui and Kanwar Naveed Jamil, to submit their response.

The hearing was then adjourned until April 11.

The ECP bench had also dismissed Sattar’s petition challenging the jurisdiction of ECP in the case and nullified the intra-party elections of MQM, in which Sattar was elected party chief.

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

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

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