LONDON: A 12-member jury in Kingston Crown Court in London, which is hearing the case of Muttahida Qaumi Moment (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain for inciting people to violence, was told on Friday that “democracy in Pakistan is immature and the real power lies with the Pakistani army”.
The British Crown Prosecution has filed a case against MQM chief Altaf Hussain under the Terrorism Act 2006 for inciting people to violence through a speech from London on August 22, 2016. However, Altaf Hussain denies the allegations.
On Friday, Dr Nicola Khan, a British writer, appeared before a jury as an expert researcher.
Explaining the background behind the formation of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) from Muttahida Mohajir Mahaz, Dr Nicola, a lecturer at Brighton University in the United Kingdom said that MQM is a party representing the Muslims who migrated from India to Pakistan on the occasion of Partition of India.
In the early decades of Pakistan’s existence, the majority of Mohajirs settled in Karachi, and they have been voting for Jamaat-e Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e Pakistan.
Dr Nicola said that when students in Pakistani universities started taking up arms which were readily available to them due to Afghan Jihad in the 1970s, Altaf Hussain also formed an organisation called ‘All Pakistan Mohajir Student Organisation.’
Altaf Hussain founded the Mohajir Qaumi Mahaz in 1984, one of the initial demands of which was to recognise the Mohajirs as the fifth nationality of Pakistan. She said that after the formation of MQM, there was a fierce battle between the Mohajirs and the Pashtuns in Karachi.
She claimed that the Pakistani military conducted several military operations in Karachi to contain the violence, and Altaf Hussain left Pakistan for Britain in 1992.
Dr Nicola said that when the violence in Karachi was at its peak, the MQM was very successful politically and it emerged as the third largest party in the country in the 1988 general elections.
Dr Nicola said that Mustafa Kamal was very popular and he did a lot of development work in the city but after some time Mustafa Kamal left Karachi and went to Dubai. Dr Nicola Khan said that in 2015, Rangers raided MQM headquarters Nine Zero.
She said that the raid of Pakistan Rangers on MQM headquarters was carried out a day after Altaf Hussain announced his support for PPP in the Senate elections.
Describing the organisational structure of the MQM, Dr Nicola Khan said that the MQM has three wings which include political, militant and welfare. She said that the welfare wing of the MQM was known as Khidmat-e Khalq while the MQM had never recognised its militant wing.
Dr Nicola Khan said that MQM is painted badly in the Pakistani press and Pakistani politicians like to hate MQM. She told the jury that three judges of the Lahore High Court in an order directed the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority to block Altaf Hussain’s speeches from London which was successfully implemented by PEMRA.
Dr Nicola Khan said that after Altaf Hussain’s speech on August 22, 2016, two leading leaders of MQM, Dr. Farooq Sattar and Izharul Hassan were arrested and released the following day.
Responding to a question, Dr Nicola Khan agreed that Pakistan Rangers had a history of extrajudicial killings and was accused of extrajudicial killings of MQM workers.
When asked what she meant by extrajudicial killing, she said “killing illegally.” Dr Nicola said that all methods have been used to suppress the MQM.
Dr Nikola Khan said that MQM chief Altaf Hussain had said in many of his speeches that this was the way to get rights.
Replying to a question regarding the ideological basis of MQM, she said that MQM is not a completely secular but politically moderate party.
Dr Nicola Khan admitted that the residents of Karachi have suffered financially a lot due to MQM. She cited estimates by the Karachi Chambers of Commerce, which claimed that the MQM’s strikes in Karachi caused a daily loss of USD 37 million. (ANI)