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Exiled Pakistani leader in UK seeks asylum in India, requests PM Modi for financial aid

The 67-year-old is due to stand trial in the UK charged with an offence of encouraging terrorism with a speech relayed to his followers in Pakistan a few years ago.

PTI | New Delhi |

The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain, living in exile in the UK, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant him and his colleagues, asylum in India or at least some financial assistance to take his case to the International Court of Justice, promising that he would not interfere in any politics, Hussain took to social media last week to relay a new speech in which he also welcomed the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case.

The 67-year-old is due to stand trial in the UK charged with an offence of encouraging terrorism with a speech relayed to his followers in Pakistan a few years ago.

“If India today, and Prime Minister Modi, allow me to come to India and provided me asylum with my colleagues, I am ready to come to India along with my colleagues because my grandfather is buried there, my grandmother is buried there; my thousands of relatives are buried there, in India. I want to go there, to their graves. I want to pray,” said Mr Hussain, in a speech dated November 9.

“I am a peace-loving person. I will not interfere in any politics, I promise. But just give me, along with my colleagues, a place to live in India and I request you to grant some Baloch, Sindhis whose name I give, asylum as well,” he said.

In his plea to India, the MQM leader said his house and offices have been seized leaving him with no means to “fight for justice” against the Pakistani regime.

“If you don’t provide us shelter, give us some influential financial people to come and go to international court. I have no money so you ask your people to pay the court fees, I will fight alone at the International Court of Justice for Baloch, Sindhis and Muhajirs and all other ethnic religious minorities,” said Hussain.

During the broadcast, he also welcomed the Supreme Court order offering land for the creation of a new Babri Masjid and demanded that those who did not accept the ruling should leave India.

“A maulvi called Asaduddin Owaisi has said he does not accept the court ruling. They should go ahead and build a Babri Masjid on the land granted by the court instead of resorting to bloodshed,” he said, adding that the current Indian government has a right to establish a so-called “Hindu raj”.

“As Pakistan has been created on the basis of Islam, you needn’t live in Hindustan. Go and live in Pakistan, Maulana Asaduddin Owaisi,” he said.

Hussain is currently on strict bail conditions imposed by the court after the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command had charged him last month under Section 1(2) of the UK’s Terrorism Act 2006 with encouraging terrorism.

Making speeches via social media were among some of the conditions of his bail but Hussain also went online to release another speech this Saturday, in which once again he makes references to India’s revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir that gave special status to it and rebuked the Pakistan Army’s “core commanders” for failing to do anything.

It remains to be seen if any of his recent speeches, to be found on the official MQM Facebook page, amount to a breach of those conditions.

At a procedural hearing at the Old Bailey court in London on November 1, Hussain’s trial was fixed to begin in June next year, with a preliminary hearing scheduled in March 2020. “On 22 August, 2016, [he] published a speech to crowds gathered in Karachi, Pakistan, which were likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom they were published as a direct or indirect encouragement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and at the time he published them, intended them to be so encouraged, or was reckless as to whether they would be so encouraged,” the Met Police said in a statement during his arrest back in June.