Ihtasham ul Haque
PAKISTAN has decided to aggressively pursue the issue of Altaf Hussain’s hate-mongering and violence-inciting speeches with the British government so as to get him extradited and tried in London.
According to informed sources, a consensus has emerged between the government and the armed forces to get Altaf Hussain convicted for his three back-to-back hate speeches in which violence was incited and support sought from India, Israel, United States, Iran and Afghanistan to harm Pakistan.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor Lt-Gen (retd) Nasir Janjua and Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar are expected to shortly visit London to apprise the British authorities that crimes were being committed by their national against the very State of Pakistan that warranted serious action.
Sources said that the issue was discussed threadbare as a single item agenda between the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif on Thursday during their one-on-one meeting. “Both leaders have decided to put pressure on the British government to initiate a criminal case against Altaf Hussain whose Pakistan chapter of the so-called Rabita committee has abandoned him at least for a while,” said a senior PML leader privy to the outcome of the meeting between the two Sharifs.
The British government, he said, would be demanded either to extradite Altaf Hussain to Pakistan or try him in London for which all the relevant records along with audio and video tapes will be provided to the senior British authorities. “In such a case, State and not the government has to raise the issue with a foreign country and this time both the government and the armed forces mean business and think alike to close the chapter of a British national whose hate speeches have become order of the day and cannot be tolerated anymore,” the PML-N leader said requesting anonymity. These tapes, he pointed out, contain hard evidence to try and get him convicted in just two to three hearings in the court of law.
He said the interior minister, who have had inter-action with previous home secretary, now Prime Minister Theresa May, would apprise her and other important officials about the hate speeches that are inciting violence, loot, plunder, arsenal and extortion by the so-called MQM leader.
The British police were already assessing the contents of his first speech and the other two subsequent speeches made to his party men in the USA/Canada and South Africa in which he used highly objectionable language against the State of Pakistan by saying he struck to his first speech and that he never regretted or apologized to the people.
In a statement made by the Scotland Yard immediately after his first speech said,” we have received numerous calls from the public and are currently assessing the content of a speech given by an individual associated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to ascertain if any crime has been committed under the UK legislation. Where evidence of criminal activity is found we will consult with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)”.
Scotland Yard said that existing enquiries against Altaf Hussain will continue alongside a new one but insiders claim that the previous two enquires – money laundering and the murder of Dr Imran Farooq – had been dumped in the cold storage and would continue to be in the doldrums.
The military authorities in Pakistan wanted a strong momentum to be built against Altaf Hussain because of using foul language even against the army chief, DG Rangers and others.
However, the question being asked here in the federal capital is whether there was any ‘real willingness’ on the part of the British authorities to move against Altaf Hussain and MQM’s London international secretariat, notwithstanding the UK High Commissioner’s strong condemnation of the attack on media on Monday last in Karachi.
Generally, it is said that why didn’t the British government take any action in April this year when the Metropolitan Police’s National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit submitted a file to the CPS containing evidence of the Hussain’s alleged money-laundering activities.
The officials of the ministry of interior are reportedly wondering whether the money laundering case was being dropped despite the fact that it contained hard evidence including the recovery of half a million pounds cash from Altaf Hussain’s residence and his secretariat.
Three major suspects, allegedly involved in the murder of Dr Imran Farooq are in the government’s custody but the UK and Pakistani governments could not resolve their differences over their extradition to the United Kingdom. The British government is reportedly interested in trying one of the three suspects – Mohsin Ali Syed, while Pakistan says it will either extradite all three or none at all.
Sources said Chaudhry Nisar was fully supporting the security establishment’s view that the issue of Altaf’s anti-Pakistani speeches be effectively raised in all international forums including the United Nations. The interior minister is being supported by some key cabinet ministers that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when visits New York in September to attend the General Assembly session, he should mention the issue in his speech by saying that Altaf was being supported by RAW and the Modi’s government to create problems in the country.
However, some others in the government believe that there was no need to give tough time to the MQM as in case it decides to resign from the national assembly, the PTI of Imran Khan would follow suit and their combined resignation of close to 60 legislators could create further political instability posing a serious threat to the PML-N government.
The interior minister, it is said, conveyed to the security establishment that the government would soon be filing a reference to the British government against Altaf Hussain for maligning Pakistan by making telephonic speeches to his followers outside the country. The government has already put a ban on his speeches in Pakistan which is said to be one of the major irritants of the London- based MQM leader whose party is in disarray and has distanced itself from him.
But the MQM’s leader in Pakistan Dr. Farooq Sattar seems non-committal about any political role of Altaf Hussain and continues to say that as long as his (Altaf’s) mental health is not improved all decisions will be made by the Karachi- based Rabita Committee.
On the other hand Wasay Jalil, Mohammad Anwar and Nadeem Nusrat claim that all decisions about the party will be made and endorsed by Altaf Hussain and that nobody can replace the London-based leader. This shows all is not well and MQM’s leaders are helplessly condemning Altaf on TV channels, experiencing unique kind of an embarrassment. On the other hand, head of Pak Sarzameen Party Mustafa Kamal is calling the present debacle in MQM as “mere drama” and hopes all patriotic elements in that party will soon join him.
Meanwhile, PTI, PAT, JI and other opposition parties are accusing the government of adopting diversionary tactics to cool down the Panama leaks issue by ‘asking’ the MQM to create a law and order situation in Karachi.