Altaf Hussain flays
Pakistan military at
UK court hearing

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22

LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain criticized the Pakistani military establishment and said that they are interfering in the politics of Pakistan while appearing in a hate speech case at the Kingston-upon-Thames crown court on Wednesday.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain

He said that he is struggling for the rights of Mohajirs and all nationalities of Pakistan and wants Pakistan free from the interference of the military establishment.

Talking about Pakistan, he said that the nation must be “liberated from the brutal rule of the 2 per cent elite class”.

“I am for the 98 per cent poor, lower middle class and middle class people. I am fighting for them. I am fighting for their rights. I will continue to fight,” he said.

Hussain pleaded not guilty to the charge filed under Section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006. He was charged with inciting violence in an incendiary speech relayed from the United Kingdom to his followers in Pakistan on Aug 22, 2016.

He was arrested and released on bail. However, charges were filed in 2019, three years after Scotland Yard launched an investigation into speeches made in the UK that allegedly encouraged violence in Karachi.

68-year-old Hussain entered the court premises flanked by London-based party central coordination committee members, other office bearers, workers, and relatives.

As he disembarked from his vehicle, he spoke briefly with reporters and said he has faith in the British judicial system but will not comment on the trial as it was a sub judice matter.

Talking to media outside the court he said, “I have endured such difficulties and tests during my 45-year struggle numerous times.”

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain

“I cannot comment on the present situation of Karachi, as to what should happen and what should not happen. I can give well wishes and pray. Whoever is in politics and the parties there should work for the prosperity and peace of Pakistan’s biggest economic city,” he said.

When asked about his health, Hussain said he has not felt his best since he contracted Covid-19 early last year.

The hearing was adjourned and will continue on Thursday before the jury.

The MQM founder has lived in self-imposed exile in London since the early 1990s, when he applied for asylum.

He was later granted British citizenship. From London, Hussain has played an active role in politics, regularly broadcasting political speeches to his followers in Karachi. (ANI)