–Pakistan’s lawyer says sufficient evidence to charge Altaf Hussain
Scotland Yard on Wednesday released Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain after he was granted bail in the hate speech case against him.
Reportedly, Crown Prosecution Service, the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales, said that there is insufficient evidence against Altaf.
Following reports of his bail, a number of MQM supporters gathered outside the Southwark Police Station to show support for him. The case against Altaf is still open and the police can call him anytime again.
Earlier, Toby Cadman, the lawyer who is representing Pakistan in Altaf’s case, on Wednesday said that according to the material he has seen, sufficient evidence is present to charge the MQM founder.
Cadman, a UK-based lawyer, was hired by the Pakistani government to represent it in the cases against MQM.
“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 charges,” Cadman told a private media outlet.
Cadman dubbed Hussain’s arrest as “an important step” while adding that “ordinarily a decision is made 24 hours after the arrest and then we would expect him to be produced before a magistrate and then formal proceedings to start from thereon”.
Earlier, Scotland Yard requested additional 12-hour detention period of Altaf Hussain, who was arrested a day earlier from his north London abode.
Hussain was detained at the Southwark Police Station, where the superintendent submitted the request for additional detention period after the expiry of earlier 24-hour warrant.
Reportedly, the MQM founder had declined to cooperate with the officials of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism Command Unit and said that he would not answer any question asked during the interrogation.
Local media reported that interrogation of the MQM founder had started at 10 pm on Tuesday night and continued for two hours at the Southwark Police Station.
As per the details, Altaf only answered questions about his name and residential address. Later, acting on his legal counsel’s advice, he refused to answer any other question.
Reportedly, around midnight Altaf complained of chest pain bringing the interrogation to a halt.
Hussain — who went into exile in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s — was arrested in the British capital on Tuesday in a hate speech case.
“A man has today, Tuesday, 11 June, been arrested in connection with an investigation into a number of speeches made by an individual associated with the MQM in Pakistan,” read a statement by London’s Metropolitan Police, which did not name Hussain.
“The man, who is aged in his 60s, was arrested at an address in northwest London. He was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.”
“He was detained under PACE [Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984] and taken to a south London police station, where he currently remains in police custody,” added the statement.
“As part of the investigation, officers are carrying out a search at the northwest London address. Detectives are also searching a separate commercial address in northwest London.
“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 broadcast by the same person,” said the statement.
“Throughout the investigation, officers have been liaising with Pakistani authorities in relation to our ongoing inquiries.”
Following the MQM-Pakistan chief’s arrest, Karachi city police chief Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh issued directions to all SSP, DIGs for patrolling and vigilance with anti-riot squads and equipment in Karachi.
Over 20 identical First Information Reports (FIR) pertaining to hate speech were registered against Altaf Hussain and several other leaders and workers of the MQM’s London and Pakistan factions.