The most dangerous moment for a strict no-dissent party is when it begins to reform. It appears to be the case for MQM, which at one time used to be a party under Altaf Hussain, where dissent was virtually unthinkable. Now things are considerably different, with the party seeming to have broken down with many camps.

MQM took a blow after the breakdown of the party into MQM and PSP. The former Karachi mayor and MQM member Mustafa Kamal bashed the MQM, and hinted towards the establishment having a role in the mooted alliance between the,. Now unity and alliance in the MQM are at an all-time low, where one half of the party openly disagrees with the other half over picks for the Senate election.

The group representing what they described as “a majority of the coordination committee”, headed by party leader Faisal Sabzwari, curtailed party head Dr Farooq Sattar’s powers to grant tickets to election candidates. A day after Sattar filed separate nomination papers for his respective candidates for the March 3 Senate elections; the MQM-P coordination committee decided to take back Dr Sattar’s discretionary powers.

The conflict is over Dr. Sattar’s nomination of jeweller-turned-politician Kamran Tessori, which the party says it is against the party’s constitution and mandate. The Election Commission of Pakistan will likely have to decide the matter whether Dr. Sattar’s candidates or the candidates of the coordination committee will be accepted. There can be no bigger sign of a party in complete disarray than the fact that an external third-party has to decide its Senate candidates.

It seems like the party is headed towards further disintegration, as Dr. Sattar and Faisal Sabazwari’s attempts to reconcile have failed to show any results so far. Even if it manages to reach a compromise with its dissenting members, the authority and clout of the party has certainly diminished from the Altaf days.

One can take the disintegration as a positive or negative event depending on their view of what the party used to be. It is a sad end for those who viewed MQM as an ideological left disciplinarian party for the middle class. However, for those who saw it as a one-man, authoritarian party, MQM’s disintegration is an expected outcome of a tight-knit, cult-of-personality based party opening up.

Political parties in Karachi must be rejoicing at this development, hoping to pick up the pieces themselves. At the moment, the PPP seems to be the most likely party to be able to do that effectively.