With MQM’s different factions still stalemated till Wednesday night, Farooq Sattar’s spin, that this is a ‘difference of opinion not a division’, has lost its shine. Rumours that the old-timer might be playing another well-calculated, long-sighted hand – like the time he lured PSP into an alliance then exposed Mustafa Kamal as well as ‘forces’ helping him – are also already fading. It would have helped everybody, especially MQM, if efforts to overcome the cleavage before it widened beyond remedy had worked. And whatever ideals Farooq Sattar and Amir Khan are upholding in their ugly fight over Kamran Tessori, the only certainty about the outcome is that they will deal their own Party a savage blow in the Senate, and possibly general, election.
Among other things, MQM’s divisions have led to practically all PPP spokespersons smiling ear-to-ear on prime time television. And naturally they are not wasting the opportunity to shed some light on part of MQM’s more notorious past – the proverbial crumbling wall and the eager push. Of course, these developments also play to the advantage of PTI as it stakes improved numbers in the Senate and hopes for a far better show in Sindh.
There is still time, of course, for MQM to avoid an outright catastrophe Yet even in the best case scenario, it will not be able to undo all of the damage done to it in the past few days. Waseem Akhtar’s statement that the party would no longer follow one man’s decisions, is a reminder to Farooq Sattar that he is no Altaf Hussain. And since he (Sattar) is the oldest surviving comrade of Hussain’s original inner circle, he ought to know best what havoc the old godfather’s authoritarianism wreaked on the party. He should also know that the only way to save face is to return the party to its democratic roots, which struck a chord with the metropolis’s large working middle class. By washing its dirty linen in public, MQM only bends over backwards to benefit its political opponents. Surely no ideal is worth such an outcome.
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