Altaf Hussain released on bail by police in LondonArchive
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) supremo Altaf Hussain was released on bail on Wednesday after remaining in the custody of the London Metropolitan Police for two days.
The Met Police announced Hussain's arrest on Tuesday, saying that an MQM-linked man in his 60s had been arrested in northwest London on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.
Police told DawnNewsTV that Hussain had been released due to "insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime". Sources within the party also confirmed the development.
A number of chanting MQM supporters gathered outside the Southwark Police Station to show support for Hussain following reports that the party founder had secured bail.
The sources said that the case against Hussain "was still open and he could be called again [by police] at any time".
Hussain's arrest was in relation to hate speech made by him on August 22, 2016.
Hours after Hussain delivered the incendiary speech, MQM workers had attacked the ARY News office in Karachi. Shortly after, the Rangers had detained a handful of senior MQM leaders overnight.
In the days that followed, the Karachi wing of the party led by Farooq Sattar distanced itself from Hussain and the London wing.
Parts of Hussain's speech that went viral on social media minutes after the violence broke out in Karachi showed that while addressing the MQM workers protesting outside the Karachi Press Club against “enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of workers”, the MQM supremo had not only raised slogans against Pakistan but also called the country “a cancer for entire world”.
“Pakistan is cancer for entire world,” he had said. “Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan...it’s down with Pakistan.”
The minister for interior at the time had sought assistance from British authorities, and asked them to take action against Hussain for “inciting people of Pakistan to violence”.
On August 23, Hussain apologised to the then army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, and the Rangers director general for his vitriolic speech.
“From the depth of heart, I beg pardon from my remarks against Pakistan, the establishment including Gen Raheel Sharif and DG Rangers,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter by MQM spokesperson Wasay Jalil.
“I was under severe mental stress over extra-judicial arrests and precarious condition of my workers sitting at the hunger strike camp.”