Karachi police seek JIT for grilling MQM leaders over Altaf’s Aug 22 speech

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KARACHI: The police have decided to form a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders Dr Farooq Sattar and Amir Khan in cases pertaining to the controversial speech delivered by Altaf Hussain on August 22, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) was informed on Saturday.

The police told the ATC that it had sent a request letter to the Interior Ministry in this regard.

According to police, there is enough evidence to prove that Khan and Sattar endorsed Altaf’s inflammatory speech, which encouraged the crowd to attack the office of a private news channel.

In the speech to party leaders and workers who were staging a hunger strike outside the Karachi Press Club, Altaf had made controversial remarks about the state and had urged his workers to attack the media over what he claimed was less coverage to him. Since then, the party split into two factions- MQM-Pakistan and MQM-London. The Pakistan group is headed by Sattar while the London’s is headed by Nadeem Nusrat.

The ATC once again issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Altaf Hussain and other absconders in the case and directed authorities to arrest the absconders and present them before the court by November 25.

Submitting the challan, the investigation officer said MQM leader Amir Khan in support of MQM founder’s speech said that “after whatever has been happening [with the MQM] he no longer feels like making pro-Pakistan slogans”.

MQM leader Farooq Sattar clapped in support of Khan’s speech, the challan stated.

The suspects led weight to the incendiary speech of MQM founder, and violence against media houses could have been avoided if the two had not supported it. Their claims of not being aware of the administrative aspects of delivering the speech by the founder is a lie, the challan stated.

SATTAR DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM ALTAF:

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, Farooq Sattar reiterated that he has no relations or association with the MQM founder and “those who should know, know that I am not in contact with the founder”.

Speaking about the arrest of Hammad Siddiqui, prime accused in the Baldia factory fire case, Sattar said that action should be taken against the accused as per law, adding that his party has no space for militancy and terrorism and is the cleanest Mohajir party.

He reiterated that MQM-P has never contended that an accused belonging to his party should not be booked if he faces allegations. But there are a lot of MQM-P workers rotting in jails, most of whom have “surely been booked in fake cases,” he said.

Former MQM member Salman Mujahid Baloch, on October 23 had said that several party leaders, including Farooq Sattar, have been in touch with the MQM founder and the series of allegations between the two sides is just a show-off. Sattar rejected the allegations as “baseless and false”.

Courts have issued arrest warrants for the MQM founder and declared him an absconder on various occasions. An ATC in Islamabad on September 6 found him an absconder and issued permanent arrest warrants.