MQM founder Altaf Hussain refuses to answer Scotland Yard’s questions

Zeeshan Baz

LONDON: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain has refused to answer questions of detectives from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism Command Unit.

At the Southwark Police Station, Hussain’s interview started at 10 pm on Tuesday night and continued for two hours till midnight.

The MQM founder only confirmed his name, date of birth and his residential address. Onwards, he refused to answer questions of the police and decided to go for “no comment” option in response to all questions asked by the detectives, credible sources familiar with the development confided to The News.

The interview started with the police officers explaining to the MQM founder his rights and that he had the option of going for no comment but that not commenting could be used against him if he’s charged.

Altaf Hussain’s lawyers, present on the occasion, advised him not to answer questions of the police. They told the police that their client will answer questions only before an independent judge and jury if charged and not before the police.

The source revealed the interview was stopped at midnight after Hussain complained of pain in his chest and that he wasn’t feeling well. The interview started again at 10 am BST (2 pm PST) and was continuing at the time this report was filed.

This means that the police will ask him each and every question they have prepared, including questions made during the grilling. Each and every question and response of the MQM founder is recorded as per law.

Once the interview is over the police will then take the file before the Crown Prosecution to seek a charging decision. It will be for the CPS to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to charge or not.

The refusal of the MQM founder to answer questions of the police is a strategic move and leaves it for the prosecutors to decide whether to ask for more evidence or issue charging decision.

Altaf Hussain was arrested from his London residence on Tuesday morning and kept at the police station overnight. The MQM founder has been arrested in relation to the incitement of violence speech of 2016. According to Scotland Yard, he has been arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.

The lawyer for the Government of Pakistan Toby Cadman has informed The News that according to the material he has seen, there is sufficient evidence to charge MQM founder Altaf Hussain.

The legal team of Altaf Hussain has told The News that their client is innocent and has not committed any crime. The MQM’s London chapter has said that it will continue to stand by Hussain, terming the investigation as politically motivated.

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