The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday announced its verdict declaring Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as convener of Mutahidda Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) in a jolt to senior party leader Farooq Sattar. Sattar had approached the IHC against the election commission decision removing him as party convener in March this year. During the hearing, Babar Sattar appeared before the court on behalf of Dr Sattar and Barrister Farough Naseem represented MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
Dr Sattar’s counsel had contended before the court that the ECP did not have the jurisdiction to interfere in a political party’s internal affairs. He had maintained that since the MQM-P was registered under Dr Farooq’s name, the ECP did not have the authority to hear cases by another person who claims to be the party convener. Justice Umar Farooq had reserved verdict on Sattar’s plea over MQM-P convenership on April 17. On March 26, the ECP had given a verdict against Sattar in the wake of a rift within the party over the nomination of Kamran Tessori for a Senate seat. The controversy over Tessori practically divided the party into Satter-led PIB group and Siddiqui-led Bahadurabad group.
The Bahadurabad faction later filed petitions in the ECP, seeking removal of Sattar as convener with the argument that the party’s Rabita Committee had replaced him with Siddiqui by a two-thirds majority. It also challenged the Feb 18 intra-party polls which Sattar had won with a heavy margin. Sattar subsequently approached the IHC against the ECP and the court on March 29 suspended the ECP’s verdict of removing Dr. Farooq Sattar as convener of MQM-P Hearing a petition filed by Farooq Sattar, Justice Amir Farooq issued stay order against the ECP and sought response from the litigants.