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Farooq Sattar smells ‘conspiracy’ behind ECP verdict

ISLAMABAD: Assailing today’s verdict of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) removing him as convener of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement- Pakistan (MQM-P), Farooq Sattar said the verdict will go down in history as a dark chapter.  

Speaking to the media, visibly discontented Sattar said, “The decision will be remembered as a dark verdict in history. The ruling is utterly illegal and unconstitutional.”

He said there was no precedent for such a decision in the country’s history.

Sattar insisted that the electoral body had no jurisdiction to adjudicate the matters involving intra-party disputes.

He said it had previously refused to entertain such matters and referred them to courts for adjudication, whereas in his case, a verdict was given.

He termed the verdict a conspiracy to implement “minus Farooq Sattar formula”. “There is something fishy going on,” he claimed.

The MQM-P leader said the order had been managed to deprive him of leading his party and that it was part of a conspiracy to eliminate the MQM-P from political landscape of the country.

He asked Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who leads the Bahadurabad faction, to hold intra-party elections afresh to determine their popularity among party workers.

Sattar opined that the verdict against him would strengthen the MQM London.

– Sattar suffers setback – 

Earlier, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, a five-member bench allowed petitions of MQM Bahadurabad leaders – Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Kanwar Naveed Jameel – through which they challenged Feb 18 intra-party elections of the Sattar-led MQM-P group.

The bench declared the intra party polls null and void through a short order.

It also rejected Sattar’s application questioning the jurisdiction of the commission in intra-party matters.

Sattar through his counsel argued that the electoral body lacked authority to intervene in intra-party conflicts, requesting it to dismiss the petitions.

He further requested the poll supervisory body to decide the case in line with the party’s constitution.

Barrister Faroogh Naseem, who represented the Bahadurabad group, argued that the commission was not a post office and had jurisdiction to decide intra-party conflicts.

The bench had earlier reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from both sides.

Internal rifts within the MQM-P are said to be brewing since the start of this year, but they became much more evident, making headlines when the party virtually split into two factions – Dr Sattar-led PIB and Amir Khan-led Bahadurabad, over the issue of party tickets for the recently-held Senate elections.

As a result, Bahadurabad removed Farooq Sattar as party chief for “violating its constitution and overstepping his authority”.

Afterwards, in a tit for tat move Sattar dissolved the Rabita Committee and announced to hold intra-party elections to elect new party head.

On Feb 19,  the elections were held at KMC Ground in PIB Colony, in which Sattar was re-elected as party convener after securing 9, 500 out of around 12,000 votes cast in the polls.

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