As no lawmaker belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement quit his seat on party founder Altaf Hussain’s latest call, veteran politician Dr Farooq Sattar said on Friday that the option to resign from the assemblies was open to the MQM-Pakistan and the party would exercise it when needed.
Unlike Mr Hussain, who had only asked the MQM’s members of the national and provincial assemblies and the Senate to resign and contest election afresh in his video posted on the social media on Thursday, Dr Sattar hinted that if his party exercised the resignation option it would quit not only parliament but also the local governments of Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas.
“We will resign from every forum, if [the option] is exercised,” he told a press conference at the MQM’s temporary headquarters in PIB Colony on Friday evening. He said that if it exercised the option, the MQM-Pakistan would abandon the entire political process and leave the fate of Mohajirs to God.
The message that Dr Sattar gave was that the elected representatives of the MQM would not resign on Mr Hussain’s call and, if needed, the MQM-Pakistan would take this decision on its own.
He said that 26 town organisers — the new name the party gave to its infamous sector in-charges — were present at the Friday meeting along with all elected representatives despite the video released on Thursday.
Dr Sattar was perturbed over the arrest of a member of his coordination committee, Gulfraz Khattak, for “facilitating” the Aug 22 telephonic speech of Mr Hussain.
Mr Khattak was reportedly taken into custody when he came out from the antiterrorism courts complex on Thursday noon. Police sources said that he was nominated in the Aug 22 case and was among various party leaders who had facilitated the provocative speech of Mr Hussain. Both the MQM-London and MQM-Pakistan condemned his arrest.
Dr Sattar said that Mr Khattak was arrested despite the fact that he had disowned the policy of Mr Hussain and now stood with the MQM-Pakistan. He said that MQM leaders Kanwar Naveed Jameel, Shahid Pasha and Qamar Mansoor were arrested in the Aug 22 cases although none of them was present at the Karachi Press Club on that day.
“We are ready to court arrest. Why arrest Gulfraz Khattak only? Tell us a date and venue and we will come with 1,950 nominated persons to surrender ourselves,” he said. “We prefer the premises of the Sindh High Court for courting arrest,” he added.
He said that the MQM-Pakistan had rejected the policy of Aug 22 and decided to stand with the politics of Pakistan. “We have dissociated ourselves from [MQM] London but the establishment is forcibly attaching us with the Aug 22 events and London.”
Dr Sattar said that if the establishment wanted to stop his party from carrying out political activities then they should let him know; he would himself lock up the PIB headquarters.
He said that his party had formulated a programme for the people’s welfare and development of the city. He demanded that the prime minister and other senior government functionaries ensure some space for the MQM-Pakistan.