ISLAMABAD: Interpol has refused to issue a red warrant against MQM founder Altaf Hussain, saying it does not intervene in political and religious matters of a state.
A senior official of the interior ministry told Dawn on condition of anonymity on Friday that Interpol had sought a clarification from the government over the request for issuance of the red warrant against Mr Hussain, besides asking for details of the sedition charges against him.
The official said the Interpol communication was being examined at the highest level and would be responded to over the next two weeks.
An Interpol notice is an international alert circulated to communicate information about crimes, criminals and threats from police in a member state or an authorised international entity to their counterparts around the world. The information disseminated via notices concerns individuals wanted for serious crimes, missing persons, unidentified bodies, possible threats, prison escapes and criminals’ modus operandi.
Govt asked to provide details of sedition charges against MQM founder
There are eight types of notices, seven of which are colour-coded by their function: red, blue, green, yellow, black, orange and purple. The most well-known is the red notice which is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today. The eighth — special notice — is issued at the request of the United Nations Security Council.
As a matter of policy, Interpol only publishes a notice that adheres to all the proper legal conditions. For example, a notice will not be published if it violates Interpol’s constitution, which forbids the organisation from undertaking activities of a political, military, religious, or racial character. Interpol can refuse to publish a notice that it considers inadvisable or a potential risk.
The Federal Investigation Agency recently sent a written request to Interpol for issuance of the red warrant against the MQM founder living in self-exile in London. The documents annexed with the request included a copy of the FIR registered against Mr Hussain for delivering a hate speech on Aug 22 last year through a video link inciting the party workers on hunger strike outside the Karachi Press Club to attack some media houses, and documents pertaining to subsequent investigations into the matter, besides a court order declaring Mr Hussain a fugitive.
In his speech, Mr Hussain had not only raised slogans against Pakistan, but also called the country “a cancer for the entire world”.
Days after the highly objectionable speech, Pakistan formally sent a reference to the British government against the MQM founder.
One person was killed and more than six were wounded when the MQM activists rampaged through a busy neighbourhood of the metropolis on Aug 22, setting vehicles ablaze, clashing with police and storming a media house.
The MQM activists, according to the findings of an inquiry, were “incited by their leader, who is a British citizen, in a telephone speech from London”.
The MQM faction in Pakistan has since disowned Mr Hussain and his aides based in the London office of the party.
The government had asked the British authorities to initiate legal action against those responsible for inciting people to violence in Pakistan, said a spokesperson for the interior ministry while sharing details of the legal reference with the media.
The reference said Mr Hussain had not only violated the British law but also breached international laws and, therefore, he should be convicted in accordance with these laws. Evidence of Mr Hussain’s provocative speech was also shared with the UK government.
A copy of the FIR registered against Mr Hussain was also attached with the reference, along with photographs showing the MQM workers attacking media houses and creating a law and order situation. It also carried the transcript of his hate speech.
“However, no demand has been made for Mr Hussain’s extradition,” the spokesperson said.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2017