Unforgotten idea of merging groups

Another opportunity has presented itself for the political union of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)-Pakistan and the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP). The latest overture — made by the MQM-P’s convenor, Farooq Sattar — comes a little less than three months after the two leaders were involved in an aborted attempt to form a united party. Nearly 90 days on, the goal for a merger remains unforgotten — but somehow no less closer. The MQM-P has offered to take back into its fold the two rebels, Mustafa Kamal and Anis Kaimkhani, and anoint them as deputy convenors. The invitation may seem generous, even wholesome at the moment but the mood in the PSP camp is one of suspicion and distrust. Notwithstanding the assurances of Dr Sattar that his faction of the MQM had no affiliation with the London-based grouping, Kamal and Kaimkhani have not shown much enthusiasm for defection from their party.

It is obvious that the initiative at forging a merger is part of a consolidated election strategy for the Karachi-based parties. Clearly, Dr Sattar’s party is not keen to share the Karachi vote and would be happy to hold on to its vote bank even if it means swallowing some of its pride and striking a compromise with estranged colleagues or sworn enemies for that matters. Such is the nature of political exigencies.

Mustafa Kamal, however, has more weighty matters on his mind. Working together may or not prove beneficial to either the MQM-P or the PSP, Kamal cannot help but think of the danger of his party falling into the orbit of the London faction.

Party watchers are convinced that Dr Sattar does have an ulterior motive as well. His invitation to the PSP leaders is to isolate one of his deputies, Aamir Khan, and ward off the troubles allegedly stoked by him within the MQM-P. There is also a tendency to accept Kamal and Kaimkhani as trusty troubleshooters who could take the MQM-P out of crisis. In the days to come we could see a rearrangement of the political chessboard in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2018.

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