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March 17, 2020

Police ask ATC to put two hate speech cases on dormant file

Karachi

March 17, 2020

Police on Monday asked an anti-terrorism court to put on dormant two hate speech cases against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders after the complainants continued to remain untraceable.

The investigation officer of the cases told the court that the complainants, Gul Khan and Hasim, were not available at their addresses and could not be traced or contacted. He added that there were also no sufficient evidence available against the accused.

He submitted an ‘A’ class report in the court to close the case. The ATC summoned the police officer who had lodged the case to appear and depose on the next hearing on April 16. According to the prosecution, then chief of the MQM Altaf Hussain, who has been living in self-exile in London for almost three decades now, uttered controversial remarks about the country and allegedly incited his party workers to resort to violence in his speech on August 22, 2016, when his party was staging a demonstration against a ban on his media appearance.

One person was killed, several injured, and a police mobile and motorcycle set on fire allegedly by the charged protestors after the controversial speech was made. Soon after these violent incidents, a crackdown was launched by the authorities against the party which culminated in party splitting in the two factions of MQM-Pakistan and MQM-London, which is a pro-Altaf Hussain faction and apparently faces a blanket ban on its activities.

MQM-Pakistan Senior Deputy Convener Amir Khan, former convener Farooq Sattar who now heads the Organisation Restoration Committee, MQM former spokesperson Qamar Mansoor, former MPA Shahid Pasha, former deputy convener Shahid Pasha, MQM-P legal wing leader Gulfaraz Khattak and other leaders were booked for abetting the speech.

As many as 27 cases of the same nature are currently under trial in ATCs. Several cases were registered against the MQM’s foreign and local leadership after the speech was aired on news channels and went viral on social media. Some of the cases were registered by the state and some by private persons who contended that they saw the speech on television and it hurt their sentiments.