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Altaf Hussain trial: Transcripts of recorded calls shared in court

08 Feb, 2022
The MQM leader, Altaf Hussain, who has been living in self-imposed exile in UK since early 1990s, has been charged under Section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act 2006 of inciting violence during a speech made on August 22, 2016. File photo
The MQM leader, Altaf Hussain, who has been living in self-imposed exile in UK since early 1990s, has been charged under Section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act 2006 of inciting violence during a speech made on August 22, 2016. File photo

As the trial for incitement to violence against Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain at the Kingston-upon-Thames court entered the second week, a detective constable from the Met Police’s counter-terrorism department was cross-examined on Monday, reported Dawn.

The officer informed the court about the recovery of a BT enterprise voice recorder, which the police had retrieved during a raid at MQM’s international secretariat at Edgware, London in 2019, according to the report.

After forensically examining the digital contents of the recorder, it was revealed audio calls were made to and from the London secretariat using the device.

As the recorded phone calls were all in Urdu, investigators took the assistance of translators and interpreters to create a chronological timeline and transcript.

During the cross-examination, the prosecution and police witness referred to the contents of the recorder, as well as audio cassette tapes that were recovered by the police.

Other material used to compile the timeline included notebooks, which were recovered from the office. The prosecution used this evidence to establish that Hussain had encouraged violence.

The MQM leader, who has been living in self-imposed exile in UK since the early 1990s, has been charged under Section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act 2006 for inciting violence during a telephonic speech made on August 22, 2016.

During the investigation of case, the Crown Prosecution Service sent a letter of request to Pakistani authorities in early 2019. Later the officers visited Pakistan where certain items were made available to them.

This was revealed during Monday’s trial of the case.

The transcripts of the recorded calls were heavily referenced during the hearing, with a detailed reading of the conversation between Hussain and then MQM leader, Amir Khan, who is now a member of MQM-Pakistan.

It was revealed that the MQM founder repeatedly spoke about the extra-judicial killings of party workers, “fixing” the Sindh police, and charging at the Rangers headquarters in Karachi to confront the then Rangers DG Bilal Akbar.

“DG Rangers must be arrested for the murder of 60 men. I need 500,000 people to go inside Rangers HQ and get Bilal Akbar out,” Hussain was quoted in the transcript.

The transcripts of other calls with unknown men read “if bhai orders it, it shall be done today”.

At one point in the transcript, Hussain said, “The TV channels who abuse MQM, tell them to take their camera and leave.” Also, he expressed anger at Geo and ARY especially, and threatened to have their “heads paraded on donkeys”.

In the call recordings, Hussain made multiple requests to sector-in-charges of Gulshan, Korangi and Malir to bring “50,000 people each” so that a large crowd could be assembled.

“Even if 100, or 200 or 500 get martyred, DG Rangers should be taken out as he has martyred hundreds of our workers,” the transcript quoted Hussain.

“It is better to die once than die every day,” the MQM leader said, in the transcript. “Let’s see how many more of us they can kill, let them kill as many as they can in a day so we can be on jihad.”

A video of Hussain addressing party workers was played for members of the jury. Later the hearing was adjourned.

A video recently went viral on social media, where party members are seen waving money around Hussain's head, in a Pakistani tradition to ward off the evil eye, right before he leaves home for court.