News Desk |
The founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain, was granted bail on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested by the Scotland Yard for intentionally encouraging and inciting hate in a speech broadcast back in 2016.
MQM leader Altaf Hussain was arrested by a 15-member team of the Scotland Yard during a raid conducted early Tuesday morning. This arrest was made in relation to his publically broadcasted hate speech aired in 2016, which promoted ethnic politics, and called people to undertake violence and revolt against the government of Pakistan.
MQM leader Altaf Hussain was arrested by a 15-member team of the Scotland Yard during a raid conducted early Tuesday morning.
A statement issued by the Metropolitan Police London noted, “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 broadcasted by the same person.”
However, after the arrest was made, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) stated that at present that there is no sufficient evidence to initiate formal charges against Altaf Hussain. Moreover, the authorities in London are “liaising with the Pakistani authorities” to launch a detailed inquiry into the matter and continue the investigation against him.
Altaf Resorts to “No Comment”
Media reports reveal that the MQM founder refused to answer questions put forward by the investigators of the Counter-terrorism Command Unit of Scotland Yard during interrogation. Altaf Hussain was kept at the Southwark Police Station, where his interrogation began at 10 pm on Tuesday night and continued until midnight.
Throughout the interview, Hussain refused to answer any questions aside from confirming his name, residential address and date of birth. Other than that, he took the privilege of remaining silent by choosing the “no comment” stance in response to all the inquiries launched by the detectives. Altaf Hussain was being directed by his lawyers, who remained present throughout the interrogation, and cautioned the MQM founder against answering any of the questions.
The authorities in London are “liaising with the Pakistani authorities” to launch a detailed inquiry into the matter and continue the investigation against him.
His lawyers informed the detectives that Hussain will only provide answers before an independent judge and jury, and not before the police. The interview came to an end as Altaf began complaining of severe chest pains at midnight, and the authorities had to continue the interrogation at 10 am BST, which ended at 2pm. After one hour, the MQM founder was released on bail.
Sufficient Evidence to Charge Altaf
Toby Cadman, the UK-based lawyer hired by the Government of Pakistan, has confirmed that there is sufficient evidence to charge Altaf Hussain under Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 for inciting hate speech and revolt.
Speaking to Geo News in an exclusive interview, Toby Cadman said, “I have seen the evidence, I have reviewed all the evidence from Pakistani authorities and I can say that it presents a compelling case. It is my assessment that there is sufficient evidence to charge Altaf Hussain on a number of counts.”
Cadman revealed that the possibility of Altaf Hussain being charged with the crime is “extremely high” and he is certainly expected to “face charges”, however, it is important to understand that a process of this nature can take months.
Altaf Hussain was kept at the Southwark Police Station, where his interrogation began at 10 pm on Tuesday night and continued until midnight.
Toby Cadman further observed, “I would certainly expect him to face charges. He may be held in custody, he may be bailed. But he will be brought before a magistrate and face trial.”
Cadman highlighted that in the instance the Metropolitan Police or the Crown Prosecution Service decided to suspend the charges leveled against the MQM founder, the Government of Pakistan can still access other alternatives to make sure he is persecuted.
Cadman said, “On behalf of the Government of Pakistan, I would advise a challenge to that decision, a judicial review of that decision. There is also the possibility of private prosecution.”
Stressing that the Government of Pakistan would appreciate the role played by the British authorities and the Crown Prosecution service in this matter, Toby Cadman highlighted that Islamabad has other options if this process fails to deliver the desired results.
Cadman reiterated, “As I said, the evidence is there and the witnesses are willing to give evidence. Having reviewed that material, I am entirely satisfied that he will be charged.”