LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Aminul Haque surprised a UK court on Thursday when he admitted to having submitted an ‘incorrect document’ in the case he and others have brought against party founder Altaf Hussain, over the ownership of seven London properties.

Mr Haque, who is a claimant in the case initiated in 2019, gave testimony in court via video link, alongside MQM-P leader and ex-mayor Waseem Akhtar.

He told the court during cross-examination that he had included with his claim a document purported to be the 2015 party constitution. It emerged a year later, by Mr Haque’s own admission, that the document was fake and should be discounted.

Instead, the federal IT minister beseeched the judge to consider a document which contained the MQM-P’s constitution from 2016, which disassociated the party from Mr Hussain.

He said he realised after a year that he had made a mistake, and that he had tried to rectify it.

Claims ‘wrong MQM constitution’ attached when case filed in 2019

The MQM split into two factions; MQM-London and MQM-Pakistan, in August 2016, after a speech made by Mr Hussain triggered violence in Karachi. Earlier, a group led by former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal had already separated to form the Pak Sarzameen Party in March 2016.

A new constitution was then created by MQM-P, which the claimants are relying on for the possession of the London properties.

Waseem Akhtar was also cross-examined by Mr Hussain’s lawyer about the 2015 constitution, but said that he was unaware of how it was drafted and disseminated.

MQM-London leader Altaf Hussain has thus far appeared confident ahead of each hearing, and expressed his views in video interviews outside court.

A video of a party member warding off the evil eye by holding cash and waving three customary circles around Mr Hussain ahead of his court appearance was shared on Twitter, in which Mr Hussain smiled and expressed his confidence in the British justice system.

Dr Farooq Sattar, who also gave evidence via video link, defended the steps taken ahead of removing Mr Hussain from the party. In his testimony, Dr Sattar had said he was under no pressure from the paramilitary force to break away from the main party, and that he did so of his own volition.

Former MQM convener Nadeem Nusrat, who is also in the UK to give evidence in the case, also insists he has been dragged into the case and did not initiate it. Mr Nusrat has been granted special security measures, and was allowed by the judge to give his testimony via video link while seated away from the main courtroom.

Interestingly, in a press conference held in Karachi on Thursday, Dr Sattar distanced himself from the case, saying he was not in favour of bringing such matters to court from day one.

Dr Sattar has been facing a social media backlash following his testimony, where he also admitted to having ousted Mr Hussain in Aug 2016.

Azfar-ul-Ashfaque in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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