KARACHI - Infighting in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) may lower the prospects of the party to put up a stiff competition to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in by-elections in Karachi.  The division in MQM-P — once a unified force to clinch the majority seats in urban centres of Sindh, particularly Karachi — has brought it to a weak position. It is passing through the worst crisis and it was able to grab only four National Assembly seats in the last general elections, the worst performance of the party since its entry into electoral politics. "A more disastrous situation would hit the party hard if the leadership in the party remains busy in infighting and leg-pulling," sources in the MQM-P confided on Saturday and added that results of the by-elections would prove this.   The electorate in Karachi would cast vote in by-elections in one National Assembly and three Sindh Assembly constituencies on Sunday, October 14, and in another National Assembly constituency after a few days. Sources in the party said it would be "wishful" thinking on part of the party to clinch these seats easily. "It would be hard to secure the seats in the present crisis-like situation and if the party wins, it would be definitely a miracle,” the source said.

The gulf in the party was also evident from the appearance of MQM leaders in the court and their departure from court premises on Saturday.

Though MQM leaders were present in the courtroom, they didn't meet each other. Dr Farooq Sattar, who spoke against MQM leadership at a press conference a day earlier, didn't meet any of the MQM leaders who were present on the court premises.