MQM trashes BBC programme, considers lawsuit

Sattar insists seizure of cash from party chief’s house should not be subjected to media trial.

Rabia Ali July 11, 2013
The party’s leaders lashed out at the BBC Two report on Thursday, calling it propaganda and part of a defamation campaign. PHOTO: MQM

KARACHI: Key leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Thursday heaped scorn at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for running a vilification campaign against its London-based chief Altaf Hussain and raising questions about their party’s alleged involvement in money laundering.

The party’s leaders lashed out at the BBC Two report on Thursday, calling it propaganda and part of a defamation campaign.

MQM deputy convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui at a press conference said such programmes strengthen the bond between their leader and party workers. He said that they reserve the right to protest peacefully, and would do against such programmes. “We have full confidence in our chief. His statements were taken out of context.”

BBC Two, in its investigative report on the MQM during its programme Newsnight, had raised several questions about allegations of money-laundering, murder of Dr Imran Farooq, incitement of violence through hate speech, and the MQM’s overall image of violence. Host Jeremy Paxman termed the party one of the most feared parties in the country.

Federal lawmaker Ali Raza Abidi while talking to The Express Tribune said the report was biased and ignored the targeting of MQM by the Taliban. “MQM is the only remaining sane voice against terrorism, but sadly the BBC did not highlight that.”

MQM’s Rabita Committee member Wasay Jalil, who is currently in London, said on Twitter that the report was aimed to tarnish the image of their leader, and the propaganda was not new.

Meanwhile, speaking on condition of anonymity, a MQM member stated that the party was considering filing a defamation suit against the BBC.

In the programme, Paxman put up a series of questions including if Britain was providing sanctuary to an organisation which threatens and persecutes others? Will Britain put Altaf Hussain on trial? And why does the government keep doors open for the MQM?

In the report, Owen Bennett Jones, showed Altaf’s house where the Scotland Yard conducted a raid in June and according to the BBC seized hundreds of thousands of pounds. The programme also carried interviews of eyewitnesses and reported on threatening speeches by Altaf Hussain, including the one in which he threatened the UK government against hatching conspiracies against the party.

After the report, Paxman grilled MQM leader Farooq Sattar live, asking him how much money was seized, what it was for and where it come from.

Responding to the scathing criticism, Sattar said that the matter was “under investigation” and should not be made subject of media trial.

“BBC is a very reputable organisation. But after seeing the report, it seems that there has been an influence of pro-Taliban and radical forces,” blurted out a visibly disturbed Sattar.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed to The Express Tribune on Thursday that the incitement probe was under way. “Investigations started in May when we received a series of complaints,” he said; referring to the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) activists who complained to Scotland Yard against Altaf, when during one of his speeches he threatened them by alluding to the three swords of Clifton.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.


Such Bolta Hoon | 10 years ago | Reply

@arzal Ahmed, @ mrs Ahmed,@ Aysha @true Karachiwala You are all brainwashed, it is so unfortunate for Karachi that supporters of MQM like you cannot recognise what has been happening to Karachi and you are at the mercy of a 'thug' sadly who you worship. There are three D's for you; You are in Denial, Delusional and Disassociated with ground realities. From Quaid-e-tahreeq, then Pir,(images seen on leaves etc) then Haqparast Sathi, then Bhai, but he will always be remembered as someone who destroyed community cohesion in Karachi and whatever Scotland Yard will prove. MQM's complete ideology is senseless, flawed and based on distorted facts of history. You will see soon Scotland Yard will prove everything and Karachi hopefully can see its lights again. InshaAllah.

Bravo BBC to highlight this menace to the world. I wished this was done 27 years ago and we as Karachites would have been in a better/ peaceful situation. Also hoped our media persons had the courage then to show what we Karchites have been through i.e. Bhattas, torture cells, body bags, targetted killings, vandalism, setting buses on fire, intimidation/ threats, terror, snatching of hides during Eid, wall chalking with discriminatory slogans, unnecessary strikes, setting buses on fire, threatening of teachers, introduction of cheating in institutions , damage caused to various public departments such Karachi water and sewerage board, etc.

The thug has openly threatened the British system in his speech and is an embarrassment.

expaki | 10 years ago | Reply

@SHB: "£400,000 or $600000. From where he got this money? What is the answer by Mr Altaf? oye Jhaliaa, answer is very simple its BHATTA.

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