KARACHI - There was high drama in Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Thursday, which left the existence and future of the nascent MQM-PSP alliance in serious doubt.

The Pakistan faction of MQM yesterday declared it would contest the 2018 general elections under its own symbol and manifesto and not under some other common banner with Mustafa Kamal's party.

Party chief Farooq Sattar, who forged the alliance with Pak Sarzameen Party only a day before, kept out of the meeting which decided sticking to MQM label.

Flanked by senior party leaders Nasreen Jalil and Faisal Sabzwari, MQM leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel announced the decision at a press conference, following an emergency huddle of the party's Rabita Committee.

Disappointed and humiliated, Farooq later in the evening announced resigning from the party, lamenting that his own party members did not respect his words or have trust in him.

He later took back his resignation decision and also told the media late at night that the political alliance with PSP was still intact.

PSP chief Mustufa Kamal, on the other hand, went to the extent of saying that the two parties did not enter into a political alliance on Wednesday; rather, it was the merger of the two.

Earlier, contrary to Rabita Committee’s stance that Farooq stayed out of the meeting owing to some personal reason, an aggrieved Farooq told a hurriedly-called press conference that he did not attend the meeting because he was upset with the Rabita Committee.

"I don’t want my own people to convey their messages through social media; if there is an issue or any confusion, come talk to me in person," he said.

“If party members lose confidence and talk behind my back then I don’t want to hold such authority,” he continued during the hour-long painstakingly dull press conference.

He also bashed PSP and its chief Mustafa Kamal and hinted at ending the alliance saying they cannot work with a party which does not recognise the Mohajir cause and goes too far in criticising Altaf Hussain, creating room for his eventual return as party chief.

In line with the typical MQM style of politics, he announced that he will visit the martyrs’ graveyard in Azizabad on Saturday to pay his respects and the people of Karachi will accompany him.

A commotion ensued following the announcement of his resignation from the party as well as politics, which was immediately followed by chants of "not accepted".

Some MQM workers and members, including Faisal Sabzwari and Waseem Akhtar, were seen appealing to Farooq Sattar to take back his resignation – much like the way they would respond to the resignation announcements by MQM founder Altaf Hussain.

The press conference was cut short after senior party members initiated scenes akin to a pitch invasion, with Waseem Akhtar pounding out media microphones.

Within minutes to his resignation, Farooq Sattar was back on TV screens to announce his taking back the resignation.

He said was taking back the resignation only because his mother, on the insistence of workers, had ordered him to do so.

The whole episode looked so ridiculous and unnatural that he was forced to utter: “By God, it’s not a drama.”



Kamal bashing and upholding Mohajir's cause

"MQM is the voice of Mohajirs; it was the voice before August 22 and will remain to be so," Sattar said earlier during the press conference, referring to the day that led to him sidelining party founder Altaf Hussain.

"Don’t go so far in spreading hatred against Altaf Hussain that you harm your own people. The tone used by Mustafa Kamal yesterday was not of unity and reconciliation," said Sattar, before adding that he could "have said all of this yesterday, but didn’t want to grab the mic from Mustafa Kamal bhai". "MQM is a reality, MQM is here to stay."

On Wednesday, Kamal had made it clear that “it [the alliance] would be anything but MQM”. "I am not backing down from what I stand for — we came to bring down Altaf Hussain and destroy his toxic legacy,” he had maintained. “Farooq Sattar may not be comfortable with PSP at this moment, but we have categorically decided that we will not unite under the name of MQM.”

Referring to Kamal's comments, Sattar said: "You [Kamal] were saying that you can’t negotiate with MQM, yet you were sitting right next to me when saying this. I am part of MQM."

He also dismissed the notion that MQM and PSP were in negotiations for the past six months. "I have not met Mustafa Kamal alone; we've only interacted socially."

"I challenge you to win only one seat from Lahore," Sattar said, addressing Kamal. "If you win one seat from Lahore on KPK, we will bury the MQM flag with our own hands."

Championing rights of the Mohajir community, he said MQM was fighting a war for the survival of Pakistan in Karachi. "Kamal and his colleagues are saying that they want to bury the MQM. I request them to stop saying this — you are hurting the cause of the Mohajir community."

Sattar said that he would not have criticised Kamal, but was forced to as his "feelings were hurt".

"I'd decided to take the negotiations with PSP forward; I had even drafted an agenda [...] but Kamal tried to teach me the way forward, he asked me to let go of my struggle for the Mohajir community and think about national politics," he said, lashing out at the PSP leader.

"Our struggle is against the mistreatment suffered by the Mohajir community. We are against the quota system, the very system which technically ended after 2013 but is still followed by the government," claimed the MQM leader. "Yet, no court or institution has bothered to take action against this illegal practice."

"No political party is bad; however, there are some people who bring a bad name to it. I ask Kamal to join hands with us and help remove these elements from MQM."

"We wanted to make an alliance for a joint political struggle, but it was portrayed in a way as if we were abandoning MQM. How can we part ways with our own people who have sacrificed their lives for the betterment of this city and country?"