LAHORE - Though MQM is regarded as a well-knit party, the differences over which Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani have distanced themselves from it may lead to emergence of a new faction.

The party insiders on Tuesday said though the possibilities of emergence of a new MQM in the lifetime of Altaf Hussain seemed minimal, small dents among MQM ranks could lead to a new faction.

However, MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil, when contacted, said Mustafa Kamal had tendered resignation for personal reasons while his resignation had not been accepted by the party leadership. “Kamal who is part of MQM is abroad to resolve his personal issues,” he said.

“Anees Qaimkhani is also abroad on a private tour and he will be seen in the party moots, being part of the coordination committee on his return,” Wasay Jalil claimed.

MQM has already two factions of which MQM (Haqqiqi) is steered by Afaq Ahmed, a founding member of the MQM now led by Altaf Hussain. Another group was founded by Naeem Ahmed under the name of MQM (Imran Farooq Shaheed).

The slain Imran Farooq was the convener of the MQM led by Altaf Hussain, who, according to Naeem, was planning to launch a new party before his assassination on a London street.

In the latest episode, Mustafa Kamal, former Karachi nazim, and Anees Qaimkhani, former deputy convener, apparently distanced themselves from the MQM steered from London, while some others also want to disassociate themselves from the party activities for the reasons they cannot disclose at this stage.

However, Altaf loyalists who enjoy much wider support than their opponents leading the other two MQM groups rejected the news concerning emergence of a new faction of the MQM and claimed they were only ‘Altafists’ and others had no impact over the party’s electorate.

Informed political sources claimed that MQM which had been founded by the working class leadership had many complexities, including second-tier leadership and ethnic groups within the party.

They maintained that the party group which became prominent after the self-exile of the party chief was steered by Dr Farooq Sattar while the other emerged under the shadow of Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad, but reportedly led by Anees Qaimkhani. They further said MQM had also ethnic groups among its ranks prominent of while were UP, CP Lucknow and Bihari camps.

However, Wasay, rejecting all the information regarding any kind of groups among the party, said, “MQM, being a party of the working classes, has been a target of a malicious campaign since its inception, but nobody ever succeeded in shaking the foundations of the party and, despite all conspiracies, MQM is united under the leadership of Altaf Bhai.”

He added that all the seats of MQM in the Parliament, the Sindh Assembly and the Senate had been secured only due to the popular leadership of Altaf Bhai.

The biggest organisational change in MQM some time back was considered by many veteran party leaders and political observers a step to loose the grip of some leaders who had created pockets for their own groups in the party.

In that change, MQM announced a new 22-member coordination committee with three deputy conveners, replacing both Dr Farooq Sattar and Anees Qaimkhani, in a bid to stop their influence over the past several years.