An anti-terrorism court on Saturday gave one month to the SHO Boat Basin to prepare his statement and depose in two cases against Muttahida Qaumi Movement–London (MQM-L) and MQM-Pakistan leaders pertaining to anti-state speeches.
Sub Inspector Pir Shabbir Haider, who was posted at the Saddar police station when the incident occurred, was summoned to appear in the court to record his testimony as he was mentioned as a witness in the charge sheet against the MQM leaders. However, he sought time from the court, submitting that he was busy with the Pakistan Super League duty and could not prepare his statement.
The court adjourned the hearing till March 21, directing the witness to appear in court and record his statement on the next date of hearing.
According to the prosecution, the then chief of the MQM, Altaf Hussain, who has been living in self-exile in London for almost three decades now, had 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 were injured, police mobile and motorcycle were set on fire allegedly by the charged protestors. Soon after these violent incidents, a crackdown was launched by authorities against the party which culminated in party splitting in two more faction of MQM-Pakistan and MQM-London, which is a pro-Altaf Hussain faction and apparently faces a blanket ban on its activities.
MQM-P Senior Deputy Covener Amir Khan, MQM-Organisation Restoration Committee Chief Farooq Sattar, MQM’s former spokesperson Qamar Mansoor, former MPA Shahid Pasha, MQM’s former deputy convener Shahid Pasha and MQM-P’s legal wing leader Gulfaraz Khattak and other leaders are booked for abetting speech and violence.
The cases were registered at the Artillery Maidan police station under sections 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 324, 302, 435, 436, 337, 123A, 124A, 109, 114, 427, 506B and 395 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with section 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Hussain has been declared proclaimed offender in the case.
Meanwhile, others ATCs also adjourned as many as 27 cases of similar nature till March 21 without any proceedings.
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 were registered by private persons who contended that they saw the speech on TV and it hurt their sentiments.