British MP Naz Shah asks UK authorities to proscribe MQM ‘terrorist organisation’

LONDON: Member of Parliament for Bradford West Naz Shah has asked the UK authorities to consider proscribing the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as a terrorist organisation because of Altaf Hussain’s incitement of violence, attacks on Pakistan’s armed forces and the state of Pakistan itself.

Naz Shah MP, who is member of the powerful Home Affairs Select Committee, has written to Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the chief of Scotland Yard; Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary who replaced Theresa May; and Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

In her letter to the Scotland Yard chief, Naz Shah MP asked him to explain why the police have failed to take action against MQM founder over his several speeches which incited violence in Pakistan.

She argued that MQM founder’s speech of August 22 cannot be defended under any circumstances.

“Had this speech been made in a private setting we could well argue it is under the freedom of speech. However, within the context of being in a position of political leadership and addressing the public, his speech cannot be defended legally, morally or objectively. Furthermore, has consideration been given to whether MQM should be proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK and if not then please explain the reasons for the same.”

She told the police chief that the state of Pakistan has attributed recent civil and political unrest “directly to a speech made on British soil by Mr Altaf Hussain”.

She said that on August 22, 2016, MQM founder “made a highly provoking, threatening and offensive speech against the state of Pakistan, Pakistan’s law enforcement Institutions as well as Pakistan’s media” and as a result, two media houses were attacked.

She told the police chief: “Pakistan is our ally in our global fight against terrorism. The Pakistan Army has been very successful in its Operation Zarb-e-Azb against militant groups and at this crucial stage we should provide all necessary support and this includes taking immediate action against those who use Britain to advocate violence in Pakistan.”

She called on the Scotland Yard chief to investigate MQM founder’s speeches under the Terrorism Act of 2006.

“We have witnessed the recent judgement in the case of the hate preacher Anjum Choudhry who was convicted under the Terrorism Act 2006, a precedent has been set in that anyone who encourages terrorism directly or indirectly inciting or encouraging others to commit acts of terrorism will be investigated and prosecuted. I, therefore, ask the question why no action has been taken against Altaf Hussain after his clear provocation, incitement to violence and advocating terrorism?”

MP Naz Shah added: “I request that these allegations are investigated as a matter of urgency and all appropriate steps are taken to fully ensure that Altaf Hussain is not permitted to incite violence and hatred whilst in Britain.”

In her letter to the chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Naz Shah MP questioned why the MQM related cases in the UK are not being investigated under the terrorism legislation and said that Altaf Hussain’s speeches have been “glorification of terrorism”.

In her letter to the Home Secretary, Naz Shah MP told Amber Rudd that British national Altaf Hussain’s speech on August 22 was “a clear incitement to violence”.

“You may also recall that earlier this year Mr Hussain suggested his supporters may like to play football with the decapitated heads of Karachi’s police officers.”

Naz Shah said that Pakistan, a Commonwealth member, is a great ally in the international fight against terrorism.

“I have grave concerns that Mr Hussain’s comments, made on UK soil, are a threat to that burgeoning democracy and Pakistan’s efforts to combat politically motivated violence.”

MP Naz Shah asked the new Home Secretary to explain why the MQM has not been banned because of its proven links with violence.

“There exists a catalogue of historic police investigations into both MQM and its leadership regarding potential links to terrorism, money laundering and murder. In 2010, British Judge Lord Bannatyne stated that MQM was a ‘violent organisation’ which had been responsible for the deaths of over 200 police officers. Given these facts as Home Secretary can you please clarify why MQM is not proscribed as a terrorist organisation?”

She asked the Home Secretary, to whom the police reports, that Altaf Hussain incited violence and glorified terrorism in his speech on August 22 against an allied nation but “why have British police not launched any investigation?”.

MP Naz Shah indicated that she will subject the Home Secretary to questioning on this issue when she appears before the Home Affairs Select Committee. “I have written to the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP to also look into these issues as I understand you will be appearing before the committee, of which I am also a member, in the near future.”

Naz Shah told the Home Secretary that Altaf Hussain’s naturalisation as a British citizen was awarded as a result of a ‘clerical’ error in 2002. She called on the Home Secretary to review the original decision. “I have not the slightest doubt that had a constituent of Bradford West been similarly beneficent the matter would have been immediately re-examined and the UK nationality rescinded, to this end I am also asking why this has not happened to date in the case of Mr Hussain?”