MQM leader does a U-turn: Resigns then withdraws decision hours later
Karachi, Nov 10: Amid high political drama, veteran politician and central leader of the Mutthaida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Pakistan Farooq Sattar resigned from the party but withdrew his decision in a span of hours after deliberations and persuassions.
Sattar said he had decided to leave MQM Pakistan because the impression was given by his party's central committee members that he had "sold out" the rights of the Urdu-speaking Muhajirs when he went to meet Mustafa Kamal, who heads the rival Pakistan Sarzameen Party (PSP).
"I have been disheartened by the behaviour of the MQM Pakistan central committee members whom I consulted and later went to meet with the rival PSP on Wednesday to forge an electoral alliance. The idea was that the votes of the Urdu-speaking Muhajirs should not be split in the next elections. But today they gave the impression that I had sold out the cause of Muhajirs and went to the PSP myself," he said.
Sattar, who worked closely with Altaf Hussain since the student wing of the MQM was first launched and before it became a political force in Karachi, said he was leaving politics and stepping aside but would remain in Pakistan.
"I felt let down by my supporters and party workers who questioned my motives in the social media and by the party leaders because I only went to meet Kamal after consulting them," he said.
While Sattar was announcing his decision to step down from the party post and quit politics, the members of the central committee showed up at his residence and forced him to end his press conference and were heard imploring him not to leave the party. In emotionally-charged scenes telecast live on TV channels, the party workers were seen in tears as they made emotional pleas that Sattar take back his decision, even as other senior leaders took away the microphone from him. After several hours of deliberations with the party leaders behind closed doors in his house, Sattar emerged with his mother and wife to make a fresh announcement.
"I can not say no to my mother and she wants me to continue working for the Mohajir cause," Sattar said, adding that "So I am taking back my decision but I swear I did not do any drama."
The drama unfolded when PSP chief Kamal, during the joint press conference with Sattar on Wednesday evening, lashed out at MQM founder Hussain. He also made it clear that his party would only form an alliance with the MQM Pakistan under a new symbol, manifesto and party for the 2018 elections. He also insisted that the new alliance would not use the word of Mutthaida or Muhajirs.
Sattar later said that he was "terribly disappointed" at the words used Kamal at Wednesday's press conference.
"I can not be part of any alliance or party which does not recognise the sacrifices of thousands of martyred Muhajirs or does not respect or understand the significance of the word Mutthaida," he said.
Later in the evening, the members of the MQM central committee held a press conference, saying that no alliance had been worked out with the PSP. Sattar was not present in the conference.
MQM is split into several rival groups since August 2016 when its founder and now exiled leader Hussain was banned from politics in Pakistan after being charged with making "anti- Pakistan hate speeches, instigating violence and having links with the Indian spy agency."