Altaf Hussain (centre) addresses a press conference after the judgment in the London properties case with his lawyer. — Photo by author

Altaf Hussain (centre) addresses a press conference after the judgment in the London properties’ case with his lawyer. — Photo by author
  • Altaf says terms decision “disappointing”, “unfair”, “shocking”.
  • Altaf says his name written on hearts of millions of people.
  • Disappointing ruling only bolstered our resolve, says MQM founder. 

LONDON: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain has decided to launch an appeal against the judgement handed down by Insolvency and Companies Judge Clive Jones, effectively depriving the self-exiled firebrand politician of Pakistan of six London properties worth around £10 million.

Speaking at a press conference at his party’s Edgware office, the MQM founder criticised the judgment and said that the judge failed to take into consideration basic facts of how his party was hijacked by Dr Farooq Sattar and other MQM leaders in Karachi who didn’t let Hussain return to the MQM after his 22nd August 2016 speech and then his voluntary relinquishing of powers to Dr Sattar and the Central Coordination Committee (CCC).

Hussain spoke after ICC Judge Clive Jones handed down a decision in the £10 million worth properties case, declaring that the MQM leader and Federal Minister Syed Aminul Haque was right to bring a claim for the Trusts properties; that the real and legitimate MQM was the one based in Pakistan and therefore a beneficiary of the six London properties.

After the “disappointing”, “unfair,” and “shocking” decision by the London High Court judge, Hussain said that the British courts had a long-established history of fairness and justice “but this doesn’t mean that a sitting judge knowingly or unknowingly cannot commit a blunder”.

Hussain said the judge had said the MQM founder “formed a new association, performing from London after 22nd August 2016” and this is laughable because he was the ideologue, founder and lifetime leader of the very party that he had founded as a firebrand student leader in Karachi nearly four decades ago.

Addressing his former loyalists, who now run MQM from Karachi under the leadership of Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and the claimant Syed Aminul Haque, Hussain said: “You erased the name of Altaf Hussain from the constitution of MQM-Pakistan but my name is written on the hearts of millions of people of the Muhajir nation and Pakistan.”

What is written in the hearts of millions of people of Pakistan, asked Hussain. His followers responded with chants of “Altaf, Altaf, Altaf; Dilloon per jis ka raaj hai, Altaf hai, Altaf hai.”

“We have serious reservations over this decision. We are disappointed that the facts advanced by us during the trial were ignored altogether by the judge. The decision that has been delivered has strengthened our resolve. In my 50 years of struggle, I have fought against Pakistan’s corrupt feudal system and dictatorships. No other leader has the track record of political struggle as I have. I have never bowed before dictatorship,” he said.

Hussain’s solicitor also accompanied him at the press conference. He said: “We were not expecting this kind of decision. The only way ahead for us is to appeal against this and we have already started the process of preparing our appeal.”

Insolvency and Companies Judge Clive Jones, sitting as a High Court Judge in the High Court of Justice Business and Property Court of England and Wales, ruled that “the MQM-P is the real MQM and its members are the true beneficiaries of the Trusts that control London’s properties which are currently under the control of Hussain”.

The judge ruled that the MQM’s founder Altaf Hussain had resigned from MQM-P after his 23rd August speech.

The ICC Judge Jones has ruled that the lawyer acting for Syed Aminul Haque of MQM-P has established that the MQM’s April 2016 Constitution was adopted and “It has not been established that the 2015 Constitution was adopted and on the balance of probability it was not”.

Haque started the case on 3 September 2020 at the UK High Court on behalf of the membership of “The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), asking the court: to remove or substitute the current trustees; for relief to prevent misappropriation; and for orders to recover trust assets including rental income. The MQM-P argued in the claim that Hussain and other defendants had failed to keep the books and records required of them as trustees and also failed to account for their use of the properties including the income received from them and the net proceeds of the sale, and there had been a misuse of trust assets for personal use and/or for the use of third parties.

The case of Hussain and his associates was that MQM was registered as a political party in 1987 but from August 2016 its registration was prohibited by the “military establishment” and the MQM-P was hurriedly created after the speech in August 2016 as a result of a “military crackdown” on MQM “to enjoy the patronage and protection of the military authorities whilst masquerading as the same organisation as MQM to the outside world”.

Hussain’s defence argued that the MQM-P for the purpose of its registration as a political party wrongly notified the Electoral Commission that MQM had changed its name to MQM-P. The MQM-L told the court that MQM-P wrongly registered the September 2016 Constitution in place of MQM’s constitution as adopted in October 2015 which had replaced/amended the Constitution MQM had adopted by an amendment in 2012 (“the 2012 Constitution”) and that Hussain could not be removed as founder and leader of MQM as the September 2016 Constitution purported to do.

Hussain had disputed that he had previously handed over power or otherwise stepped down from his role following the speech he made on 22 August 2016. The MQM founder was not and could not be removed by the meetings on 31 August and 1 September 2016 and MQM remained in existence under his leadership, his lawyer argued.

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