Mustafa Kamal, Anis Kaimkhani invited to rejoin MQM

KARACHI: In a surprising development, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – Pakistan Convener Dr Farooq Sattar has invited Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairperson Mustafa Kamal and President Anis Kaimkhani to join his party, Express News learnt on Sunday. Both have been offered senior posts in the party.

Sattar has sent a message to an important member of the PSP that they are standing with Pakistan and have absolutely no ties to the party’s London faction.

Sources within the party revealed that Sattar spoke to a key leader in the PSP for 30 minutes in the Karachi airport lounge, during which he extended the invitation to Kamal and Kaimkhani. He said that he asked the PSP leader to urge Kamal to rejoin the MQM and work on their platform.

According to the sources, Sattar also expressed concern about the upcoming elections. He reportedly said that if the two parties were to remain divided in the upcoming general elections, then other parties will take advantage of their divided vote bank in Sindh, especially in Karachi.

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It was also revealed that Sattar has offered Kamal the post of senior deputy convener, while Kaimkhani will be given the post of deputy convener. Sattar apparently spent the entire 30 minute meeting trying to convince the PSP leader that working together will benefit both the parties.

A credible source within the party has said that Sattar believes the party is facing troubles due to its Senior Deputy Convener Amir Khan. The party’s head said the problems caused by Khan are affecting the functioning of the party and not allowing its members to work in an effective manner. He has reportedly asked Kamal and Kaimkhani to take over running of the party’s affairs.

Farooq Sattar’s MQM struggles to step out of Altaf’s shadow

MQM-Pakistan suffered several setbacks in 2017. Interparty conflicts, the emergence of factions, unsatisfactory performance of local body representatives and facing a new election without the cover of its party founder are among the multitude of challenges facing the party in the general elections

The party, which once held the city in its grip, is now struggling to maintain its shaky hold on areas that once comprised its stronghold.

Inter-party conflict plagued the party last year, with many leaders urging Sattar to remove deputy convener Kamran Tessori. The issue of Tessori’s appointment remained a bone of contention amongst several top tier leaders of the party, who expressed their reservations on his ‘intrusions’. They even tried to alienate him from party affairs, which led to Sattar pacifying Tessori in a late night meeting.

In November, 2017, Sattar announced an alliance with the PSP, only to retract his announcement and offer his resignation hours later, under some compelling circumstances. The dramatic night on which Sattar resigned from the party was captured by media outlets and broadcast across the country. Members of the party’s Rabita Committee, who had earlier expressed their dissatisfaction with Sattar’s decision, jumped in to dissuade their party convener from resigning. It finally took a mother’s persuasion to reverse Sattar’s decision.

After 30 years, the fate of MQM is still uncertain

However, his announcement had one casualty – MNA Ali Raza Abidi resigned from the party.

The PSP’s organisational structure is similar to MQM-Pakistan’s and Kamal and Kaimkhani have a wealth of political experience in contesting elections. MQM-Pakistan’s elected mayor, Wasim Akhtar’s restricted municipal powers will gain the party little ground as unlike the provincial chief minister, he has no major projects or renovations to his name.

Two MNAs and 11 MPAs have already jumped ship and joined the PSP, putting MQM-Pakistan on even shakier ground.

Having Kamal and Kaimkhani back on his team, may help Sattar save his party.

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