The UK news programme that took on MQM

Jul 11, 2013| Courtesy by : DAWN.COM

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Mr. Altaf Hussain is being investigated for money laundering worth at least 400,000 pounds as well as for incitement to violence, The UK’s BBC Two programme ‘Newsnight’ reported on early Thursday morning.

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The news was part of a short documentary prepared by Newsnight on the MQM, and included video clips of Mr. Hussain making violent statements, an outline of the death of assassinated party leader Imran Farooq, as well as interviews with a former MQM leader, a policeman accusing the party of murder, and party leader Farooq Sattar.

Starting out the show with a clip showing Mr. Hussain saying “We will prepare your body bags,” host Jeremy Paxman posed the question: “Supposing if it (Britain) was offering sanctuary to an organisation that was using Britain as a base from which to threaten and persecute others?”

He then described the MQM as “one of the most feared political organisations in Pakistan,” and said Mr. Hussain is accused of 30 murders here, which he denies.

The programme then showed the MQM chief’s house, with reporter Owen Bennett Jones pointing out that a police raid had taken place there earlier in connection with the Imran Farooq murder. Describing Mr. Hussain, he said “he exerts total control over his party” from London.

According to NewsNight, “The police found hundreds of thousands of pounds of unaccounted for cash and that led to a money laundering investigation.” The Metropolitan Police are also investigating “Whether he’s using his London base to incite violence in Pakistan,” and whether his speeches are a breach of the law.

According to a London-based terrorism barrister named Ali Naseem Bajwa, who was interviewed by BBC Two for the documentary, Mr. Hussain’s speeches are potentially a “terrorism offence” – The use of threat of force, made for a political cause, designed to influence the government “all seem to be made out” in the MQM’s chief’s case according to the barrister.

NewsNight then shows senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar saying, “I categorically deny and refute that Mr. Hussain would have ever said what you are saying,” after the reporter asks him about the MQM chief’s violent language. At the same time, the BBC programme shows Sattar sitting in the audience while Mr. Hussain speaks “about tearing open abdomens”.

The programme also showed an interview with an ex-MQM member, who was, according to them, the only former party member who was willing to talk. The ex-member, Naim Ahmed appeared openly and said “They are not a peaceful party, they are a militant group, they are like a bunch of mafias …. They are an ideal party for violence.” Describing how he would question neighbourhood youth who would commit acts of violence in the name of MQM, Ahmed said “They directly said, ‘we got our order from London.’”