Altaf's bail conditions eased


From Sardar Shahab

LONDON: The Scotland Yard has relaxed bail conditions of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain two weeks after Chief Magistrate and Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot imposed strict bail conditions on the MQM leader at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court while allowing him bail after being charged under a terrorism section.
Media has learnt that the MQM founder can speak to his party workers again and can use social media for as long as he doesn’t speak about his case and its circumstances.
A source said that the police have also taken away the tag that was tied on his ankles.
The relaxation of bail conditions is a massive relief for the MQM leader who was almost completely gagged at the Westminster Magistrates Court by the District judge.
His legal team argued with the police that the MQM founder would ensure that he abides by all conditions and will not do anything to jeopradise his bail conditions.
Immediately, after the restrictions were lifted the MQM leader took to social media site Twitter to communicate with his followers.
A source in the MQM said that the police have allowed the MQM founder to get involved in politics but there are conditions on his engagement. Its understood that the new conditions will be read out in the court on 1st November at the Central Criminal Court where the MQM leader will be produced for the case hearing.
A police source said that breach of the assurances will mean that the bail conditions will be put back on.
On 9th of October, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court had banned the MQM founder from appearing on any form of media in the UK or Pakistan, after Scotland Yard charged him with a terrorism offence in the incitement speech inquiry against him.
Hussain, 66, was charged with encouraging terrorism after a speech he made in 2016 to supporters in Karachi was followed by violent protests.
He faces several years in imprisonment for the speech which was “likely to be understood” as encouraging supporters to acts of terrorism, or was “reckless” of the possible consequences.
Altaf Hussain pleaded not guilty when charges were read out to him.
The judge had told the MQM founder that he was under bail conditions and must comply with the rules.
The bail conditions required the MQM founder to stay at his Abbey View residence from midnight till 9am; the MQM founder will wear an electronic tag at all times; his passport will remain with the police; and he will not apply for a travel document of any kind.
The judge had imposed Section 52A on the court reporting in this case.