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Accountability court defers indictment of Rauf Siddiqui in illegal appointments case


March 7, 2021

An accountability court on Saturday deferred the indictment of former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Rauf Siddiqui and six others accused in a case pertaining to illegal appointments in the Sindh Small Industries Corporation.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a reference against Siddiqui and six others, Mushtaq Ali, Muhammad Abid, Umer Ali, Sarwat Fahim, Muhammad Naeem and Ayaz Hussain, for causing a loss to the national exchequer to the tune of Rs420 million by making illegal appointments in the corporation between 2008 and 2012.

According to the anti-graft watchdog, the former MQM leader, when he was serving as the provincial minister for industries and commerce, made around 372 appointments against the code and merit in collusion with the other accused. NAB said that most of the inductions were on a political basis.

The accountability court judge adjourned the framing of charges after one of the accused, Hussain, could not make it to the court and his lawyer moved an application seeking another date.

The judge ordered all of the accused to ensure their presence on the next hearing on March 18.

Incendiary speech case

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court sought witnesses against the MQM leadership in a case pertaining to the August 2016 incendiary speech of their party founder Altaf Hussain.

Police had registered several FIRs against then MQM leaders, including Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan, Rauf Siddiqui, Wasim Akhtar and Shahid Pasha among others, for facilitating the speech delivered over the phone from London where the MQM chief lives.

The ATC judge ordered the investigation officer to bring witnesses and also directed the accused to appear in the court on March 27 for recording of the statements.

According to the prosecution, the MQM founder uttered controversial remarks about the country and allegedly incited his party workers to resort to violence during his speech on August 22, 2016. His party was staging a demonstration against a ban on his media appearance.

One person was killed, several others were injured, and a police vehicle and motorcycle were set on fire allegedly by the charged protesters.

Soon after these violent incidents, a crackdown was launched by the authorities against the MQM which culminated in the party splitting in two factions of the MQM-Pakistan and MQM-London, which is a pro-Altaf Hussain faction and faces a blanket ban on its activities.