KARACHI: Several leaders and workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s London and Pakistan factions will be indicted by an antiterrorism court on Oct 23 in nearly two dozen cases pertaining to alleged hate speech of party founder Altaf Hussain, arson attacks and ransacking of some media houses.

Senior leaders including Dr Farooq Sattar, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Amir Khan, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Rauf Siddiqui, Rashid Godil, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Gul Faraz Khattak, Salman Mujahid, Abdul Qadir Khanzada, Khushbakht Shujaat, Shahid Pasha, Qamar Mansoor, Kanwar Naveed along with nearly 200 party workers have been booked in the identical cases.

The ATC-I judge had amalgamated over 20 identical FIRs registered at different police stations in the city against the MQM leaders for allegedly facilitating and listening to the highly provocative speech of their London-based chief against the country’s security establishment.

The ATC-I set Oct 23 for suspects’ indictment

The court also fixed indictment of the suspects in the cases on Oct 23.

Earlier, Advocate Shaukat Hayat, the counsel for Dr Sattar and Mr Siddiqui, moved applications seeking amalgamation of 22 or 23 identical FIRs, arguing that the alleged offence, its time and place, where it was said to have been allegedly committed, and all the nominated persons were the same.

However, different complainants had got their FIRs lodged at different police stations in the city, he added.

The counsel argued that in the light of a judgement rendered by a larger bench of the Supreme Court more than one FIR could not be registered with regard to the same act. Therefore, he pleaded that all the cases may be clubbed together and the statements of all the complainants in those cases may be recorded and if any cognizable offence was made out, then a joint trial in all cases may be initiated.

In the second plea, the counsel pleaded that his clients were granted interim bail in July in these cases and they were regularly appearing before the court, therefore, their interim bail may be confirmed since there was no likelihood of them to abscond from the court.

Separately, the ATC-II judge also fixed indictment of the MQM leaders Dr Sattar, Amir Khan, Kanwar Naveed and others in two identical cases pertaining to allegedly listening to the highly provocative speech of the MQM chief on Aug 22, 2016 outside the Karachi Press Club that triggered a violent protest, arson attacks and ransacking of media houses.

Earlier, the leaders appeared before the courts.

Nearly two dozen cases were registered against them at the Artillery Maidan, Malir City, Sohrab Goth and other police stations by the individuals.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018