Evidence against Altaf to be shared with UK ISLAMABAD: The government will share evidence of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain inciting violence in Pakistan with British police next week, an official said on Friday.
“We are gathering pieces of evidence and will send the details to the United Kingdom, seeking action against him,” the official told Dawn.
He said concrete evidence was available to prove that Mr Hussain had asked his workers to ransack media houses not broadcasting his speech.
Islamabad and London don’t have an extradition treaty, says official
Soon after the attack on media houses in Karachi, the matter was taken up by the interior minister with the British home secretary, he said, adding that Pakistan’s high commissioner in the UK was also in touch with British police.
The British authorities were very supportive, the official said, referring to a statement issued from 10 Downing Street, condemning the attack on media houses. “In the first phase we will see how the London police act and later we intend to send our legal counsel there to pursue the case,” he said.
The official said in reply to a question that Pakistan and the UK did not have an extradition treaty and Mr Hussain was a British citizen.
He said the death penalty in Pakistan was the biggest obstacle in the way of signing an extradition treaty with the UK.
About the status of Mr Hussain’s Pakistani nationality, he merely said: “At the moment he is just a British citizen.” He did not elaborate whether the MQM leader’s Pakistani citizenship had been revoked.
The official disclosed that an exercise would be ‘silently’ carried out to examine the legal aspects of banning the MQM. “We will just see if a case is made out to ban the party,” he said and pointed out that a ban was imposed on the orders of a court.
He said the announcement by MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar to dissociate himself from the party’s London leadership might be a cover-up. “Let us see how the things unfold.”
He pointed out that it was not the first time that Mr Hussain had been practically sidelined by the Pakistan-based MQM leadership. In December 1992, Mr Hussain announced retirement from politics in favour of then MQM chairman Azeem Ahmed Tariq. But he was active again months later. On May 1, 1993 Mr Tariq was shot dead in Karachi and the killing still remains a mystery.
Although dozens of cases of serious nature, including murder, were already registered against Mr Hussain who had been living in self-exile in the UK for around three decades, he maintained a firm control over his party. But the language used by him against Pakistan on Aug 22 stirred a revolt against him, with a number of party leaders disowning his remarks.
The remarks were condemned by even the political parties that had been supporting the MQM until recently.
A day after Mr Hussain’s diatribe against the country, the Pakistan-based leadership of the party distanced itself from his comments and decided to strip him of organisational powers for an indefinite period.
Mr Hussain has been running the day-to-day organisational affairs of the party by phone from the confines of his palatial London residence and international secretariat for a long time, although he does not hold any office in the MQM, which is a political party registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan in the name of Dr Farooq Sattar.
Without condemning or criticising the MQM supremo, Dr Sattar, who was arrested by the Rangers and released after remaining in custody for some eight hours, announced that the party’s leadership in the country would solely run the show with full authority.
He said Mr Hussain was under mental pressure and had health issues, which needed to be addressed before he took over the reins of the party again.
Authorities have demolished a total of 10 offices of the MQM and sealed over 195 offices across Karachi. Similar action was being taken in other cities and towns in Sindh.