Altaf Hussain acquitted by London Court over charges of inciting violence

On Tuesday, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain was acquitted by a London court over charges of inciting violence in Karachi.

The jury at the crown court announced a verdict of 10-2 in the MQM founder’s favour. They declared that Hussain did not violate UK’s anti-Terrorism laws on August 22 2016.

The MQM founder was facing two charges related to encouraging terrorism. He delivered two speeches from London on August 22, 2016, which led to a spree of violence in Pakistan’s port city. During the trial, Hussain’s lawyer told the court that his client wouldn’t take the stand.

The arguments concluded on Friday last week, after which the jury reserved their verdict.

Justice May told the jury that it was the prosecution’s job to prove guilt. She said that the prosecution didn’t substantiate their acts of terrorism with solid evidence.

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The prosecution argued that Altaf Hussain did not “answer, explain or apologise,” and did not give answers to obvious questions.

The defence counsel said Hussain did not have anything else to add. The counsel said Hussain’s apology on Twitter after his speeches demonstrated his regret.

It is pertinent to state that the MQM founder is also wanted by the Pakistani authorities in various cases. He delivered the speech via telephone to a party gathering outside the premises of the Karachi Press Club on August 22, 2016. After his speech, party workers chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and stormed into a media office nearby.

The Scotland Yard charged Hussain with terrorism offences in October 2019. The agency said that the speech led to the incitement of violence and disorder.

It merits mentioning that Hussain was arrested on June 11, 2019, as he violated Section 44 of the Crimes Act 2007. He was released on bail a few days later. The MQM founder has been in self-imposed exile in London for about two decades. He pleaded for asylum in the 1990s and gained UK citizenship.

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