Altaf Hussain – the founder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has been formally charged by Scotland Yard at Southwark Police Station in South London. Altaf Hussain was charged under section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 for encouraging terrorism through a speech delivered in London and broadcast in Karachi on August 22, 2016.
The charges will be read out to Altaf Hussain at Westminster Magistrates’ Court later on Thursday afternoon. The Crown Prosecution Service has determined there is sufficient evidence to frame charges and Hussain’s lawyers will now aim to secure his release on bail.
The Scotland Yard officially stated that detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command have charged a 66-year-old man with a terrorism offence in connection with a speech made in August 2016.
“Altaf Hussain (17.09.1953), of Abbey View, Mill Hill, NW7, was charged under section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 with encouraging terrorism, namely:
“On 22 August 2016 published a speech to crowds gathered in Karachi, Pakistan which were likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom they were published as a direct or indirect encouragement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and at the time he published them, intended them to be so encouraged, or was reckless as to whether they would be so encouraged,” read the statement.
“Altaf Hussain was previously arrested on 11 June on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was released on bail and subsequently charged as above.”
Section 1 (2) of UK’s Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 states: “A person commits an offence if — (a) he publishes a statement to which this section applies or causes another to publish such a statement; and (b) at the time he publishes it or causes it to be published, he — (i) intends members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism or Convention offences; or (ii) is reckless as to whether members of the public will be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate such acts or offences.”
In the now-infamous speech broadcast at an MQM gathering outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on August 22, 2016, Altaf Hussain incited his supporters in Karachi to take the law into their own hands.
Following his speech, MQM activists ransacked a private television station before clashing with police, leaving at least one person dead and over half a dozen injured.
Altaf Hussain, 66, has lived in self-exile in London for more than two decades. He requested asylum in the 1990s and later gained UK citizenship. The Pakistani authorities have repeatedly demanded action be taken against him for inciting people in Pakistan.