ISLAMABAD: Pakistan formally sent a reference to the British government against Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain on Tuesday – more than a week after his telephone speech stirred up rioting in Karachi.
One person was killed and more than half a dozen were wounded when MQM activists rampaged through a busy neighbourhood of the metropolis on August 22, setting fire to vehicles, clashing with police and storming a media house.
PPP submits resolution against Altaf’s speech
The MQM activists, according to the findings of an inquiry, were incited by their leader, who is a British citizen, in a telephone speech from London. The MQM has since disowned Altaf and his aides based in the London office of the party.
Islamabad has asked London to initiate legal action against those responsible for inciting people to violence in Pakistan, said a spokesperson for the interior ministry while sharing details of the legal reference with the media.
The reference says that Altaf Hussain has not only violated British law but also breached international laws; therefore, he should be convicted according to the laws. The interior ministry’s spokesman maintained that evidence of Altaf’s provocative speech has also been shared with the British government.
According to sources, Pakistan has laid stress on the evidence related to incitement to violence by Altaf. They said the British government gives high value to freedom of expression, and provoking people to attack the media is considered a serious offence in the country. “Therefore, the reference carries evidences which prove Altaf’s speech was violation of the right to freedom of expression,” said an official.
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A copy of an FIR registered against Altaf has also been attached with the reference along with photographs showing MQM workers attacking media houses and creating a law and order situation. It also carries the transcript of his hate speech. “However, no demand has been made for Altaf’s extradition,” he said.
Sources said authorities do not want his extradition as currently Altaf has no Pakistani passport. They hope British authorities, keeping in view the content of the reference, would take action against him.
Earlier in the day, the head of the National Council of Human Rights petitioned the Supreme Court seeking the court direction to the government to outlaw the MQM.
Tariq Asad prayed that the court summon records from the Rangers, intelligence agencies and the Sindh government of the events that unfolded on August 22 following Altaf’s seditious and inciteful speech. He argued that if the court finds enough evidence of MQM’s involvement in terrorist activities, it should direct the federal government to ban the party.
Asad also requested the court direction to the federal government to take up the matter with British courts and file a reference against Altaf. He requested that the court direct the Sindh chief secretary to change the name of ‘Altaf Hussain University’ in Karachi and Hyderabad.
The top federal and provincial officials, including secretaries of interior and foreign ministries, Pemra’s chairman, Election Commission of Pakistan, Sindh’s chief secretary, Britain’s high commissioner and Altaf Hussain, have been named as respondents in the petition.
Courtesy : Express Tribune