ATC indicts Farooq Sattar, others in provocative speech case


KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday indicted Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders, including Dr Farooq Sattar, in provocative speech case.

As the court took up the matter for hearing on Saturday in the presence of the accused, the charges against them were read out wherein it was stated that hate speech was delivered outside the Karachi Press Club in August 2016 and party leaders facilitated the provocative speech. The court said that speech challenged the integrity of the country.

“The party chief then ordered the workers to attack a media house,” the court remarked.

The leaders of the party were then asked by the court whether they listened all such content in the speech. All of the accused replied in negative, to which the court responded, “Have some fear of God and speak the truth.”

The MQM leaders repeated their earlier statement that they did not listen to any such remark.

Those who were indicted included Amir Khan, Kanwar Naveed Jamil, Qamar Mansoor, Shahid Pasha, Gulfraz Khattak, M Ishaq and Mehfooz Yar Khan.  Notices were issued to the investigation officer and witnesses to appear before the court in the next hearing.

Later speaking to media, Sattar said, “During the court hearing, all of us rejected the charges of being anti-state. Nobody would have raised a slogan against the country.”

He called upon the government to clarify its policy on the case. “We are peaceful people and we do not endorse statements coming from London in any capacity,” Sattar insisted.

On August 22, 2016, Sattar had made had delivered a provocative speech outside the Karachi Press Club in which he made hateful remarks and threatened a private TV channel. Suspects in the case played the role of facilitator in the speech and announced to revolt against country’s sovereignty.

On October 23, 2018, an ATC in Karachi indicted several party leaders in 21 cases on charges of facilitating the dissemination of hateful speeches made by party founder Altaf Hussain, arson attacks and the ransacking of some media houses.

The leaders all pleaded ‘not guilty’. All were extended interim bail in the cases they have been indicted in.

Senior party leaders, including Sattar, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Amir Khan, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Rauf Siddiqui, Rashid Godil, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Gul Faraz Khattak, Salman Mujahid, Abdul Qadir Khanzada, Khushbakht Shujaat, Shahid Pasha, Qamar Mansoor and Kanwar Naveed, along with nearly 200 party workers, were booked in the identical cases.

On their counsels’ request, the ATC-I judge had previously clubbed over 20 identical FIRs against the party leaders, accusing them of facilitating and listening to a provocative speech against the country’s security establishment delivered by Altaf Hussain.

On October 3, Sattar along with Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar was indicted in the Loudspeaker Act violation case. In 2015, MQM held a protest against the Rangers raids at party offices and the arrest of workers. The police registered cases against the MQM leaders for violating the Loudspeaker Act as they made speeches during their rally.