News Desk |
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain was reportedly arrested in a raid by the Scotland Yard in London on Tuesday. The London Metropolitan Police confirmed the development in a statement issued following the arrest but did not name anyone.
“A man has today, Tuesday, 11 June, been arrested in connection with an investigation into a number of speeches made by an individual associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Pakistan,” read the London police statement.
In the 1990s, Hussain had requested asylum and later gained UK citizenship. Earlier, during his self-imposed exile in London, the British police had taken Hussain into custody on suspicion of money on June 3, 2014.
“The man, who is aged in his 60s, was arrested at an address in northwest London. He was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offenses contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007,” the statement added.
— Metropolitan Police | #StayHomeSaveLives (@metpoliceuk) June 11, 2019
According to the statement of London’s Metropolitan Police, He [Hussain] was detained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and taken to a south London police station, where he currently remains in police custody.
As part of the investigation, the police said, officers were carrying out a search at the northwest London address, adding that the detectives were also searching a separate commercial address in northwest London.
“The investigation, which is being led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, is focused on a speech broadcast in August 2016 by an individual associated with the MQM movement in Pakistan as well as other speeches previously broadcast by the same person,” the police said. Throughout the investigation, the police said, officers have been liaising with Pakistani authorities in relation to the ongoing inquiries.
In the 1990s, Hussain had requested asylum and later gained UK citizenship. Earlier, during his self-imposed exile in London, the British police had taken Hussain into custody on suspicion of money on June 3, 2014. For roughly three decades, MQM dominated politics in Karachi. Hussain would frequently address crowds of supporters of his party in Pakistan via telephone from London. In the last few years, the party disintegrated into several factions.
Altaf Hussain Taken for Interview at a London Police Station: MQM Coordination Committee
In a statement published on MQM’s website, the Coordination Committee of MQM said that “this morning Founder & Leader of MQM Mr. Altaf Hussain has been taken for an interview at a London police station.”
Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan…it’s down with Pakistan.
MQM is a democratic political party and has firm faith in the British legal system, the statement read, adding that the coordination committee was in constant consultations with the team of lawyers and in this regard, all legal measures will be taken according to UK law.
Altaf Hussain’s Hate Speech
As per the media reports, the MQM founder has been arrested in relation to the 2016 hate speech case in which he urged his followers to “take the law in their hands”. On August 22, 2016, Hussain had delivered a fiery speech after which party workers had vandalized a media office in Karachi and chanted anti-Pakistan slogans.
In the days that followed, Dawn reported that the Karachi wing of the party led by Farooq Sattar had distanced itself from Hussain and the London wing. Parts of Hussain’s speech that went viral on social media minutes after the violence broke out in Karachi showed that while addressing the MQM workers protesting outside the Karachi Press Club against “enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of workers”, the MQM supremo had not only raised slogans against Pakistan but also called the country “a cancer for entire world”.
“Pakistan is cancer for entire world,” he had said. “Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan…it’s down with Pakistan.”
Following his speech, the then interior minister had sought assistance from British authorities and asked them to take action against Hussain for “inciting people of Pakistan to violence”.
Later, on August 23, Hussain had apologized to the then army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, and the Rangers director general for his vitriolic speech. “From the depth of heart, I beg pardon from my remarks against Pakistan, the establishment including Gen Raheel Sharif and DG Rangers,” he had said.
“I was under severe mental stress over extra-judicial arrests and precarious condition of my workers sitting at the hunger strike camp,” the statement added.