London [UK], January 28 (ANI): The trial pivoted on the ownership of Altaf Hussain led Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) properties in north London concluded on Thursday evening. The judge reserved the judgment after a series of hearings and would release a detailed judgement in the coming weeks.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), previously known as Muhajir Qaumi Movement, is a secular political party in Pakistan, founded by Altaf Hussain in 1984. The party is currently split between two main factions.
The hearings proceeded under judge Jhon at the High Court of Justice, Business and Property of England and Wales.
The trial opened at the end of November last year and saw the MQM supremo Altaf Hussain come face-to-face with ex-loyalists now with MQM-Pakistan which was created by the military establishment after August 22. The ex-loyalists are now laying claim to seven properties worth about 10 million pounds.
The case was filed by MQM-P leader and Federal Minister Syed Aminul Haque, who had left MQM in 1992 during an army operation against MQM and joined army created faction. Aminul Haq re-joined MQM in 2011 after seeking an open apology.
A new constitution disassociating Hussain was then created by MQM-P, which the claimants are relying on for the possession of the London properties.
At a hearing on Thursday, Hussain appeared at the high court where lawyers of both sides presented final arguments, recapping events and laying their claim to the properties in question after back-and-forth arguments.
Barrister Nazar Mohammad representing the claimants made his arguments first, saying that MQM-P is the true leadership of the party and therefore deserves ownership of the London properties. He presented evidence and said MQM-P leaders are the ultimate successors, heavily relying on the new 2016 constitution.
Hussain's counsel Richard Slade presented his final arguments, saying that every constitution from 1984 onwards states Altaf Hussain is and will remain the party's founder leader, ideologue and higher authority.
He said both the 2015 and 2016 constitutions bound the Central Coordination Committee to seek guidance from Hussain as a founder, leader and ideologue on all major issues, and said the constitutional amendments made on August 31 2016 by now MQM-P leaders were invalid.
He questioned how a founder leader can be removed from a party and its constitution without having ratification of Altaf Hussain. He said that Dr Farooq Sattar hijacked the party with invalid and unlawful amendments.
Hussain's counsel Richard Slade read out, as part of the evidence, a story published in Dawn on August 26, 2016, in which then adviser to the then Prime Minister Musaddiq Malik said that "MQM had to disassociate from its chief Altaf Hussain or face the consequences". Slade relied on this clip to show that the ex-loyalists changed the constitution not only out of their free will but under the pressure by "Dark force". He further said that MQMP is not the right beneficiary of the properties.
The two sides argued back and forth to assert their right over the party's assets. MQM-P's lawyer admitted that the email address which contained email evidence was inaccessible, and said that perhaps it was hacked.
The claimant's lawyer responded by saying that, being Pakistan's IT minister, Aminul Haque should have figured out a way to access the emails to present as evidence.
In a previous hearing, during cross-examination by the counsel for the claimant, the MQM chief Altaf Hussain asserted his command over the party and addressed the question of who was in control. Hussain explained how he was the ultimate decision-maker, and that the party revolved around him and the final say from London.
He said MQM-Pakistan was a breakaway faction, and that it was created under pressure by the state to break the MQM's vote bank and support. Hussain said that though he wasn't involved in the smaller issues, the overall control and leadership were widely understood to rest with him. (ANI)