Hours after Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Rabita Committee (Coordination Committee) moved to remove him from the convener’s position, Dr Farooq Sattar called a general workers’ meeting at PIB where he announced to dissolve the Rabita Committee and called for holding fresh intra-party polls on February 17, to determine the new leader of the party.

Sattar called it a gathering of “responsible party members” and asked the audience to raise hands if they wanted to see the coordination committee dissolved, to which they responded with a positive gesture.

Citing a section of the party constitution, Sattar announced to sack all the conveners and deputy conveners of the party in a counter move, following the party’s Rabita Committee move to remove him from the convener’s position after the Election Commission of Pakistan allowed MQM-P deputy-convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui the authority to hand out party tickets for the upcoming Senate elections.

Addressing the gathering, Sattar asked the charged crowd that who they wanted as the party’s leader? The crowd responded with chants of “Farooq Bhai, Farooq Bhai”.

Earlier in the day, party leader Kunwar Naveed Jamil explained that there were “many reasons why Dr Farooq Sattar was removed from his position”.

“The registration of a party as organised as the MQM was cancelled by the ECP only due to the negligence of Dr Farooq Sattar. Despite continuous reminders from the coordination committee, Sattar did not file the party workers’ wealth statements with the ECP, due to which the party’s registration was cancelled,” he added.

“Dr Sattar purposefully sabotaged the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation [the welfare arm of the MQM] by committing gross mismanagement in its affairs,” he alleged. “Nazeer Hussain University is dysfunctional now and its employees haven’t been paid for seven months now.”

“Dr Farooq Sattar also altered the party constitution to his own benefit and took all authorities and powers for himself,” Jamil further alleged.

“We all love Farooq bhai deeply in a personal capacity. He was our party’s convener. He no longer is. We deliberated in great detail regarding this issue — the reasons I’m detailing are a small fraction of all the ones we deliberated.”

“The whole issue started when Dr Farooq Sattar tried to force Kamran Tessori as the party’s candidate for Senate elections,” he said.

Expressing the committee’s reservations regarding the rapid ascent of Kamran Tessori in the party, Jamil alleged that Tessori was only made convener of MQM at the insistence of Dr Sattar, keeping merit aside.

He also alleged that Sattar had remained unwilling to accommodate the coordination committee’s requests despite multiple overtures to seek a solution to the problem.

Jamil claimed that the committee had even abdicated its right to nominate senators completely for the sake of maintaining unity in the party, but Sattar remained unwilling to remove Tessori from the list of nominees.

“We have decided to promote the movement and not individuals,” he continued.

“Dr Farooq Sattar does not hold any position of responsibility in the party anymore. He is now a common worker of the party,” he concluded.

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, speaking after Jamil, said Sattar’s removal had been necessitated by the latter’s call for a party workers’ convention today that would have split the party completely.

He, however, did not foreclose the possibility of Sattar being reinstated as the convener of the party, saying the committee would be open to it if Sattar “realises his error”.