Altaf to appear in UK court of appeal in Rs3.44bn properties case

Appeal, on narrow grounds, would start on Tuesday morning at the Court of Appeal and will last for two days

By Murtaza Ali Shah
April 23, 2024
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain speaks to members of the media in Kingston upon Thames, south London. — AFP/File

LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain is set to appear before the UK Court of Appeal to challenge the judgement handed down by Insolvency and Companies Judge Clive Jones a year ago - depriving Altaf of six London properties worth around £10 million (Rs3.44 billion).


The appeal, on narrow grounds, would start on Tuesday morning at the Court of Appeal and will last for two days, where Altaf Hussain is the claimant and MQM-Pakistan leader Syed Aminul Haque is the respondent.

In a judgement handed down on March 13, 2023, ICC Judge Jones, sitting as a high court judge in the business and property courts, held that nearly half a dozen London properties were owned by the MQM-Pakistan.

Altaf Hussain’s appeal relates to the interpretation of constitutional documents of unincorporated association (MQM) in particular, whether the MQM which owned properties in the UK was the same entity as the party or as a separate entity. This is a dispute over the ownership of six properties and the proceeds the sale of a seventh in North London.

In March last year, the MQM founder lost £10 million approximate worth of London properties case to his former loyalists in the MQM-P after a legal battle at the UK high court.

Judge Clive Jones had ruled the MQM-P was the real MQM and its members were the true beneficiaries of the trusts that control London’s properties which were under the control of Altaf Hussain.

The judge ruled that the MQM founder had resigned from the party after his August 2016 speech. The ICC judge ruled that the lawyer acting for Syed Aminul Haque of MQM-P had established that the MQM’s April 2016 Constitution was adopted and “it has not been established that the 2015 Constitution was adopted and on the balance of probability it was not.

The judge said in his judgment: “As on 23 August 2016 Mr Altaf Hussain stood down from any role in or involvement with MQM-P. Whether temporarily or permanently that did not alter before his expulsion from MQM-P when he formed a new association operating from London.”

The MQM-P and Syed Aminul Haque were represented by Barrister Nazar Mohammad and Hussain and his colleagues were represented by Richard Blake KC.

The case was launched at the UK High Court by Aminul Haque against Altaf and other trustees/ defendants (Iqbal Hussain, Tariq Mir, Muhammad Anwar, Iftikhar Hussain, Qasim Ali and Euro Property Developments Limited) for the control of the trust that controls the following six properties: 12 Abbey View house in Edgware, High View Gardens first house, High View Gardens second house, Whitchurch Lane first house, Whitchurch Lane second house, 53 Brookfield Avenue house and the MQM 1st Floor Elizabeth House office (once known as International Secretariat).

Altaf Hussain had criticised the judgement and said that the judge failed to take into consideration basic facts of how his party was hijacked by Dr Farooq Sattar and other MQM-P leaders in Karachi who didn’t let Altaf return to the MQM after his 22nd August 2016 speech and then his voluntary relinquishing of powers to Dr Farooq Sattar and the Central Coordination Committee.

After the “disappointing”, “unfair,” and “shocking” decision by the London High Court judge, Altaf Hussain said that the British courts have a long-established history of fairness and justice “but this doesn’t mean that a sitting judge knowingly or unknowingly cannot commit a blunder”.

Altaf had said the judge has said that the MQM founder “formed a new association, performing from London after 22nd of August 2016” and this is laughable because he was the ideologue, founder and lifetime leader of the very party that he had founded as a firebrand student leader in Karachi nearly four decades ago.