Scotland Yard grants relief to Altaf Hussain


–MQM founder allowed to communicate with party workers through social media

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain has been granted some relief by the Scotland Yard as he can now contact his party workers and use social media as long as he refrains from discussing his case, a local media outlet reported on Friday.

This relaxation in bail conditions comes two weeks after a UK court imposed strict conditions on the MQM founder after he was changer under a terrorism section. This development was further confirmed by his tweet, which he posted soon after being allowed to do so.

Reportedly, after Altaf’s lawyers assured the police that their client would abide by the conditions, the police also took away the tag which was tied to his ankles to track his movement. In case the MQM founder fails to comply, tough bail conditions will be restored.

On October 10, the MQM founder was charged with a terrorism offence in a case related to his incendiary speech relayed from the United Kingdom (UK) to his followers in Pakistan on August 22, 2016.

The MQM founder was taken into police custody and was produced before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Hussain had appeared before Judge Emma Arbuthnot wearing dark glasses and holding a paper, as the charge against him was read out. He had pleaded not guilty.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had asked for Hussain to be granted conditional bail. The conditions sought had included a restriction on Hussain not to broadcast any message, either video or audio, via social media, radio, TV, or internet to people in the UK or overseas concerning this case or comment on the political situation in Pakistan.

Hussain’s lawyer Kate Goold had informed the judge that her client was “gravely unwell”.

After he was informed of the bail conditions, Hussain while addressing the judge, had said, “It is a daily routine to arrest my MQM workers […] thousands of my workers have been disappeared and killed and you are putting a condition; if people are killed how can I keep quiet?”

Later in the day, Hussain was granted conditional bail.

The judge imposed a night curfew on him, which means he was not allowed to leave his premises at night without informing the police. He had also been restrained from making speeches to the media or using social media.

The MQM founder was also restricted from applying for travel permit and his passport remained in custody. Night curfew as a condition is applied to serious offenders and those under investigation for serious offences. Electronic tagging is also done to ensure compliance.

The next hearing of the case will be held at the central criminal court on November 1.