Scotland Yard set to investigate Altaf’s incitement to violence speech

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LONDON: Scotland Yard has confirmed that it’s “assessing” the contents of Altaf Hussain’s speech against the state of Pakistan in which he also incited violence against media and the armed forces of Pakistan.

Speaking to Geo News, a spokesman of Scotland Yard confirmed that “the police are currently assessing the content of a speech given by an individual associated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to ascertain if any crimes have been committed under UK legislation”.

The police confirmed that it has received numerous calls from the public seeking action against Altaf Hussain. “Where evidence of criminal activity is found we will consult with the Crown Prosecution Service,” said the police.

The police revealed that they are investigating various speeches – not just one – made by the London-based leader of the MQM who has been accused of using his London office to incite acts of terrorism inside Pakistan. Previously, the police had said that they were only investigating one speech, after having dropped the previous investigations into incitement.

But the latest outburst of incitement is different and Altaf Hussain himself admitted in his apology that he actually did incite violence in Pakistan and everyone in the MQM – and outside – agrees that MQM chief in his recent speech crossed the red line of laws governing Britain’s freedom of speech.

To demand the arrest and prosecution of Altaf Hussain for inciting violence in Pakistan, World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis (WCOP) organised a protest outside 10 Downing Street to demand intervention by the British Prime Minister Theresa May. Leaders and activists of PPP, PMLN, PTI, PSP, JI and others attended the large protest that lasted for over two hours. At the end of the demonstration a petition was presented by the WCOP to the British PM informing her that “on 22nd August 2016, through his live public address, transmitted from London to Karachi, the MQM supremo incited and encouraged the audience consisting of MQM officials and party members to spread violence in the port city Karachi, Pakistan. He incited them to target media houses, government buildings and civil armed forces and once the audience asked him for permission to go and target them he gave his blessing to do so. Immediately after his orders, the participants attacked a number of private media houses and clashed with police in various areas of the city where one innocent citizen of Pakistan lost his life apart from damage to property. Mr. Altaf Hussain very clearly and publicly incited violence and there is enough proof in media which should be more than enough to charge him under the British law”.

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The petition, signed by Syed Qamar Raza and Tariq Dar, to the British PM, said that Altaf Hussain has issued apology and confessed that he incited violence. “This apology in itself is a proof of his incitement to violence as he accepts that he did commit the crime and thinks he can get away by a mere apology.”

It reminded the British government that “this is not the first time that Mr. Altaf Hussain has incited other people to commit an act of terrorism and violence in Pakistan and encouraged them to commit, prepare or instigate such acts against innocent people and public and government property and machinery. A number of cases are also pending in courts against Mr. Altaf Hussain which are under investigation for murder, money laundering and hate speech/inciting violence both in UK and Pakistan. It is our utmost request and demand as citizens of UK having stakes in Pakistan where our family and property is under threat due to the actions and words of Mr. Hussain that he should be immediately prosecuted and indicted for encouraging and inciting terrorism under Terrorism Act 2006 ss1-2 and Terrorism Act 2000 s.59.”

Earlier on Tuesday, PTI’s London President Barrister Waheed-ur-Rehman protested outside Altaf Hussain’s house in Mill Hill while the MQM leader was present inside the house. Barrister Waheed arrived at the house of Altaf with at least two dozen PTI activists and chanted slogans against Altaf Hussain and in favour of Pakistan. Altaf Hussain’s security called the police outside the house. The demonstration passed off peacefully and the police said that the protestors had every right to air their views peacefully. Barrister Waheed said that protests will be held outside 10 Downing Street and Altaf Hussain’s house until he is arrested and charged with incitement to violence in Pakistan.

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Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative party chair, accused the Downing Street of ignoring MQM’s record of torture, murder and intimidation. She said in a statement: “We mustn’t allow British citizens to use the UK as a base to incite violence against our allies.”

Khalid Mahmood, who chairs Tackling Terrorism All-Party Parliamentary Group in the British parliament, called on the British government to take urgent action against Altaf Hussain. He said that it was unfair that a British citizen was destabilising the biggest city of Pakistan from London. He said that there is little doubt left that Altaf Hussain has incited violence and law of the land must come into action.

Also on Tuesday, PTI’s London leader Soraya Aziz wrote to Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of New Scotland Yard, and called on the Scotland Yard to take the issue of violence being peddled from London seriously. She called on the police to prevent the MQM chief Mr Altaf Hussain from making hate speeches & incitement to violence in Pakistan; hold him to account for the actions today as well as previously reported; and remove the protection of his citizenship under which he is evading many criminal charges against him in Pakistan.

Large scale protests have also been planned outside 10 Downing Street and outside the house of Altaf Hussain over the weekend.

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