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Farooq Sattar removed as MQM-P convener

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to remove Dr Farooq Sattar as convener of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Pakistan faction.

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The MQM-P stalwart had petitioned the IHC against the ECP decisionto remove him as party convener in March this year.

The court initially restored Sattar by suspending the ECP order until until it decided on Sattar’s petition.

IHC Justice Aamer Farooq today dismissed Sattar’s petition, enabling Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to head the party.

The IHC in April reserved its verdict after the petitioner’s counsel and respondents concluded their arguments.

Neither Sattar’s nor Siddiqui’s counsel were present in court when Justice Farooq announced the decision.

The ECP had removed Sattar from the position of MQM-P convener by accepting a challenge to his election to the post in the party’s intra-party polls filed by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Kanwar Naveed Jameel, leaders of the MQM-P Bahadurabad — a rival faction of the Dr Sattar-led PIB group.

The ECP rejected Sattar’s plea that it had ECP had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon internal matters of the party.

A five-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, had annulled the intra-party elections of the MQM-P held under Dr Sattar’s leadership, which he claimed to have won with a huge margin.

The ECP also accepted a petition challenging the resolution passed at an “emergency general workers’ meeting” called by Dr Sattar last month.

At the convention, when he had asked the participants through a resolution if they would endorse the coordination committee’s decision to remove him from the position of the convener, the workers had replied in the negative.

Following the ECP’s judgement, Dr Sattar had told the media that the decision would be remembered as a ‘dark verdict’.

He had termed the judgement “illegal and unconstitutional” and said the commission had never issued judgements on intra-party disputes in the past.

“I have been punished for standing against MQM founder Altaf Hussain on Aug 23 [2016],” Dr Sattar had said, referring to the day when he announced parting ways with Hussain over his incendiary speech, “And for standing alongside Pakistan, the Constitution and the Pakistani state.”

Rifts in the MQM-P had emerged on Feb 5 over the distribution of party tickets to candidates for the March 3 Senate elections. The party split into two groups — one led by Sattar and the other by senior leader Amir Khan — and both sides took extreme actions against each other.

The Bahadurabad group ousted Sattar from the post of convener with a two-thirds majority and in a tit-for-tat reaction Sattar held a workers’ convention the same day, dissolved the coordination committee and announced intra-party elections.

On Feb 18, Farooq was elected party convener after securing over 9,000 votes in the intra-party elections.

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