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Chasing Altaf Again

Yet another investigation has been launched against the leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, in London. The British’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has sent the International Letter of Request to the Pakistani government, asking for assistance in Hussain’s case. This time the charges relate to the violence associated with speeches given by Mr Hussain on March 11, 2015 and August 22, 2016.

This is not the first time Pakistan’s help has been sought by the United Kingdom’s law enforcement in trying to convict Atlaf Hussain – in fact it would be more accurate to say that the MQM chief’s conviction has been a joint project of the Pakistani and British authorities for a while now. However, the previous major collaborative investigations have not yielded the required result; will this time be any different?

The precious charges – related to large scale money laundering offences and the murder of an MQM leader, Imran Farooq respectively – could not muster enough evidence. This instance has a clearer link between Altaf Hussain and the charge. His recorded speeches urge his followers to go out and attack local media houses, and as a result of the violence, one person was killed and several others were injured.

The charges being considered by the British range from encouraging violent disorder, inciting others to commit terrorism outside England and Wales to encouragement of terrorism. Other charges could include intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence. The various offences fall under the Terrorism Act, the Serious Crime Act and the Public Order Act.

While there seems to be better evidence this time around in the shape of a direct cause and effect link, criminal prosecutions require a heavy burden of proof, which still might be difficult to prove to the satisfaction of a court of law – especially since MQM leader was not at the scene of the crime. Pakistani government might be chasing a dead end, again.

 

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