KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court has declared 21 Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders, including Altaf Hussain, proclaimed offenders in around two dozen cases registered over the MQM chief’s alleged hate speech against the military.
ATC-I Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso gave the order after the investigating officer contended the police were unable to trace their whereabouts. The order came after the police were asked to initiate proceedings against these MQM leaders under sections 88 and 89 of the Criminal Procedure Code involving proclamation and attachment of the properties of the absconders.
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Senior leaders Farooq Sattar, Khalid Maqbool, Rashid Godil, Rehan Hashmi and Khushbakht Shujaat are also among those declared proclaimed offenders.
The court also extended the interim bail of four other MQM leaders, who have appeared before the court in these cases. The hearing was adjourned till April 17.
The suspects include Karachi mayor-elect Waseem Akhtar, former minister Rauf Siddiqui, Sindh lawmaker Khwaja Izharul Hassan and Qamar Mansoor. Senator Tahir Mashhadi has already been discharged from the case over lack of evidence.
The cases, identical in complaints, were lodged in July last year after the MQM chief allegedly lambasted the military establishment in a speech over the ongoing Karachi operation.
The MQM leaders have been charged under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging or attempting or abetting war against the country), 122 (possessing guns with intention to wage war) and 123-A (condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty).
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The case also includes Section 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 25-D of the Telegraph Act and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2016.
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