KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Farooq Sattar , in rushed press conference early Sunday, said he would "rather die than join PSP or any other party".
He was reacting to the jumping ship of several party members into the Pakistan Sarzameen Party (PSP) — formed by former MQM members Mustafa Kamal and Anis Qaimkhani in 2016.
"The matter is both quite important and very serious, and may pertain to the future of Pakistan … might also be related to the fate of Muhajirs," he said, noting the subtle changes being made ahead of the general elections this year.
"The situation in the cities of Sindh is unfurling, with the aforementioned questions taking a place of key import," Sattar said, claiming that the process of "trying to force changes in loyalties" has already been commenced.
"I'm risking my life … putting my life on the line," said Dr Sattar, who heads the MQM-P's 'PIB group' after a split with the 'Bahadurabad group'.
The MQM-P leader expressed confusion about why his party and PSP were expected to merge.
Sattar underscored that the recent developments were taking place just months ahead of the general elections, which is why he expressed a desire to meet both the nation's top judicial and military authorities.
"I need some time. I wish to meet the Chief Justice (of Pakistan) of the Supreme Court.
"I also intend to go to the Army Chief (Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa)," he stated.
Sattar, in a rhetoric manner, said if this was "how the outgoing assembly was being treated, what could be expected to happen with the incoming [one]".
"We now demand guarantees of safety for our families."
The press talk comes as a reaction to Shabbir Ahmed Qaimkhani, a now-ex-member of the MQM-P, announcing his decision to join the PSP — something that was a "blow to the alliance between Bahadurabad and PIB groups" and may have marked the end of Sattar's patience.
Qaimkhani — a former Sindh minister for excise and taxation — is the first member of MQM-P's Bahadurabad faction to have joined the PSP.
To this, Sattar explained: "Propaganda is rife among workers that I'm sending members (of the provincial and National assemblies) to the PSP myself."
However, he noted that as soon as Qaimkhani left, it was evident that "the cat was now out of the bag".
"It was not Qaimkhani but Kamran Tessori who was the bone of contention prior to the Senate elections," he underscored.
"Our MNAs and MPAs (Members of the National Assembly and Members of the Provincial Assembly) are being given death threats to jump boats without their consent."
Qaimkhani quit the MQM-P days after Mehboob Alam, along with MPAs Saifuddin Khalid and Muhammad Kamran, defected to the Mustafa Kamal-led party.
Prior to that, on April 4, MQM-P lawmaker Muhammad Muzammil Qureshi joined the PSP.
On April 1, Waseem Hussain, MQM-P MNA from Hyderabad, announced his decision to join the PSP, whereas, on March 29, MQM-P MNA Dr Fouzia Hameed announced the same.
Before the aforementioned, two female provincial lawmakers of MQM-P — MPAs Naheed Begum and Naila Munir — had jumped ship on March 28. APP/AFP