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MQM Factions Reassemble to form ‘Rebranded’ party

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After weeks of “will they, won’t they” uncertainty, different factions of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) joined hands on Thursday to come up with a ‘rebranded’ version of the party which is currently a part of the coalition government at the Centre.

The merger, formally announced during a press conference at Bahadurabad, came after months of meetings, backdoor contacts, and negotiations among the stakeholders — MQM-P, Syed Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party, and MQM Restoration Committee led by Dr Farooq Sattar.

The party leaders, upon arrival, were showered with rose petals amid sloganeering as a large number of party workers and supporters were present at the Bahadurabad headquarters for the merger.In its first “unanimous move”, the MQM leadership vowed that it “would not let local bodies elections happen” on Jan 15 in protest against “unjustified delimitation”.

Sitting alongside MQM convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Dr Sattar and Mr Kamal vowed to stay united under the MQM-P banner. They added that LG polls on Jan 15 was a “test case for their future struggle”.

Their resolve and confidence that LG polls would not take place cast doubts on the fate of the exercise in Karachi and Hyderabad scheduled to be held on Jan 15 — after getting delayed three times in the past.

“Let’s see how this [local bodies’ elections] happens,” Mr Siddiqui said in reply to a question about the strategy of MQM-P for the upcoming polls after the merger. His reply attracted a huge applause from the workers.

“We won’t let this election happen. We are here after rejecting those who raised anti-Pakistan slogans. We are here with those workers and people who love Pakistan and have sacrificed everything for Pakistan. So how can anyone dare ignore their voice and exploit their rights?” he questioned.

“These elections are not elections. These are in fact a robbery on the mandate of those who have given everything to their country,” the MQM-P leader claimed.

Mr Siddiqui thanked Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori for playing a key role in the merger of party’s factions and bringing “old friends closer”.

However, the MQM-P chief insisted that the party should “wait for another day” and if things still did not change, then it would make a “decisive move”.

Former Karachi mayor and PSP founder Syed Mustafa Kamal said a united party could struggle for a better, safe, and prosperous Karachi.

“How can you expect sustainable peace in this city if you keep on exploiting its rights, if you deny the real number of people living here, if you shift the resources and revenue to build other parts of Pakistan?” he questioned. According to Mr Kamal, Nadra records showed 18 million youth lived in Karachi whereas the census by the government put the total population of Karachi at 16 million.”

Dr Sattar described the merger as “better late than never”. The party leader advised the united platform to make a “strong move” and take a “decisive action” to be heard. He regretted that all legal, democratic, and political efforts to convince the authorities have failed, and “sheer exploitation of people in urban Sindh” continued.

“With this rebranded MQM, if we stage a sit-in on main Sharea Faisal for an indefinite period, can anyone even think of holding local bodies’ elections on Jan 15,” he asked.

“I suggest our friends exit the coalition government in the Centre and bring an end to all talks with the provincial government [led by PPP]. We can’t just sit and see that our city and our rights are being violated and no one in this country bothers,” Dr Sattar added.

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