01:31 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Altaf Hussain

    Exiled Pakistani Politician in London Charged With ‘Encouraging Terrorism’ Over Hate Speech

    © Photo: Altaf Hussain Official/facebook
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    The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is a political party, based in Karachi. It has traditionally garnered votes from the Muhajir community - the descendants of Urdu-speaking Muslim migrants who came to Pakistan from India after its formation in 1947.

    Detectives have charged the exiled leader of the MQM, Altaf Hussain, with encouraging terrorism in connection with an alleged hate speech he made in August 2016.

    Hussain, 66, is a controversial figure who has lived in London since fleeing a crackdown on the party in Pakistan in 1991.

    The MQM subsequently split into two factions - one based in London and led by Hussain and the other, which remained in Pakistan and is led by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

    Hussain has continued to broadcast speeches which are livestreamed to his supporters in Pakistan.

    The Crown Prosecution Service has charged him that “on 22 August 2016 he 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.”

    ​Hussain and other MQM leaders have been accused by the Pakistani authorities of making more than 20 hate speeches.

    In one of the speeches he said "Pakistan is cancer for entire world…Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan…it's down with Pakistan.”

    The speech went viral on social media.

    ​He later apologised to the chief of Pakistan’s Army, General Raheel Sharif.

    Hussain, who was arrested in June and bailed, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday, 10 October.

    In the past Hussain has criticised the partition of India and has been accused of trying to form a breakaway state, Jinnahpur, in Karachi.

    ​In 2010 another exiled MQM politician, Imran Farooq, was stabbed to death in north London in a crime which remains unsolved.

    It was reported at the time that Farooq's murder was linked to disputes within the MQM, but the party's convener, Dr Farooq Sattar, claimed the allegations were "baseless".

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    Metropolitan Police, London, Karachi, Pakistan
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