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World

November 9, 2019

Has the MQM founder breached his bail conditions?

World

Sat, Nov 09, 2019

LONDON: Pakistan has complained to the British government that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain has breached bail conditions set by the court after making a highly volatile political speech on Saturday condemning a national institution of Pakistan from his home in Edgware.

He has been charged under the Terrorism Act 2006 for Intentionally Encouraging or Assisting Offences, Contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 in relation to his August 16, 2016 speech from London and the violence that followed in Karachi because of that speech.

A source told this reporter that on Friday, the Pakistani government put the British government on alert after the MQM London issued a press release, saying the MQM founder would be making a speech to his workers. On Saturday afternoon, Hussain took to Twitter and condemned the 1990s operation against the MQM. The government of Pakistan told authorities in Britain that Hussain attacked Pakistan's national institutions in his speech.

A source in the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) told The News that Pakistan has made the complaint that Mr Hussain has breached his bail conditions, but the prosecutors will assess whether he was in breach or otherwise.

The MQM founder also condemned the opening of the Kartarpur border, the attitude of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) towards Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and stressed that he was the only genuine political leader.

A source in the MQM said the founder has been barred from commenting on his incitement court case only and all aspects related to the case. Altaf has been asked by the court not to say anything which is linked with his case set for trial next year. "He has freedom of expression to talk about any matter. He made a long speech but he didn't comment on his case," said the source.

Hussain will go on trial at the Old Bailey on June 1, 2020 in the terrorism case brought against him by the Crown Prosecution Service's Counter Terrorism Division related to the incitement speech made in August 2016 from London to Karachi.

The News had reported on October 25 that Hussain's bail conditions have been relaxed. The Westminster Magistrates' Court had imposed tight restrictions on the MQM founder, barring him from using social media or making political speeches, but his conditions were relaxed after MQM lawyers assured to the CPS that Mr Hussain would not comment on his case and would not do anything to influence the witnesses of the case. Altaf Hussain has pleaded not guilty to the charges.