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Crime Diary: No result likely from five FIRs against MQM chief

Crime Diary: No result likely from five FIRs against MQM chief

Last Tuesday, a number of cases were registered against MQM chief Altaf Hussain at various police stations across the country, following his speech on July 11. Five cases were also registered in Islamabad at Margalla, Golra, Kohsar, Secretariat and Bharakhu Police Stations.

All five FIRs registered with the capital police were similar. The complainants stated on July 11, Altaf Hussain made a number of offensive statements against the armed forces and other institutions of the country.

A complainant said that he was shocked to hear the MQM chief’s diatribe against the armed forces and other security institutions.

“The MQM chief also provoked people against these institutions. And used words which cannot be repeated,” the complainant stated.

In the FIR, it was further alleged that Hussain engaged in hate speech, provocation, ridiculing Rangers officials and attempting to wage civil war.

The charges at all five stations were the same-PPCs 120-B Punishment of criminal conspiracy, 121 waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan, 123 concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war, 124-A sedition and 153 wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot if rioting be committed; if not committed along with 7 Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Discussing the cases registered against Altaf Hussain, a senior police official, on the condition of anonymity, told Dawn that rather than registration of numerous cases, one case should have been registered.

Moreover, the official said, that the Rangers official targeted in the speech should have been the complainant rather than ordinary citizens.

Regarding the fate of these cases, the official said that like other cases, such as those registered in the past against media houses, these too would remain under investigation for a long time.

“There are always motives behind such cases but as police we are bound to register these cases,” the official said.

He added that no matter what the motive, the legal process would be completed.

Since a section of ATA (anti-terrorism act) was included in the case against the MQM chief, a joint investigation team (JIT) will be constituted to probe all five cases.

“The investigators would ask the complainants to furnish evidence, which would be later examined,” the officer explained.

He said that if the evidence is provided, the JIT would examine it and decide if the PPC and ATA sections under which the accused was booked were suitable or needed to be replaced or deleted. In the next step, the accused is interrogated.

In usual circumstances, the investigators ask the accused to appear before them for interrogation but in this case, the accused is in the United Kingdom and there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

“So it is difficult to approach the accused directly and have him appear before the investigators,” he said.

Under such circumstances, the investigators submit an application against him in the court of law under CrPC 87 (if any court is satisfied after taking evidence that any person against whom a warrant has been issued by it has absconded, or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed, such a court may publish a written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified place and at a specified time, no less than thirty days from the date of publishing such proclamation).

In the next step, investigators may seize the property of the accused with the help of the court.

A police official, however, told Dawn that chances of such a step being taken are low and no such directive has been issued so far.

He said that if the investigators submitted a challan with the court of law under CrPC section 512 (Record of evidence in absence of accused), it would mean the completion of the investigation or legal process on the part of the police.

After submitting the challan, it will up to the court of law to either conduct a trial in absentia or delay the proceedings until the accused is arrested, the officer said.

“Usually, our trial courts delay proceedings until the arrest,” he added.

The police officer further explained that usually when the accused is abroad and out of the reach of investigators, the district or provincial police approach the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and have a Red Warrant issued.

This warrant allows the accused to be arrested with the help of Interpol, once the accused travels to a country with which Pakistan has signed an extradition treaty.

Another senior police official, when asked about the political motives behind the case, said: “Justice will be ensured and the accused will be allowed to clarify his position.”

He also said that notices will be issued to the accused and delivered to his residence in Karachi, shortly after the investigation has begun and the JIT examines the evidence.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2015

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