KARACHI - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) will frame charge against founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in cases pertaining to the August 22 violence and hate speeches, on July 7. The ATC on Saturday once again issued non-bailable arrest warrants for MQM founder Altaf Hussain and others in a case pertaining to incendiary speeches by Hussain on August 22 that erupted violence.

During the proceedings, the court could not frame the charges against the accused as they failed to reach the court on time. However, MQM leaders Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan, Rauf Siddiqui, Kanwar Naveed Jameel, Qamar Mansoor, Shahid Pasha, Rehan Hashmi and others appeared before the court. The court directed the accused to be present on time at the next hearing.

The investigation officer (IO) told the court that the police have been unable to arrest the absconders. Many raids were made to arrest the suspects but they managed to escape, he added. The court had already declared MQM founder Altaf Hussain and seven others absconding in the two cases pertaining to violence and incitement to violence.

The cases against MQM leaders were registered after the violent incidents of August 22, 2016, during and after a telephonic speech by MQM founder Altaf Hussain. MQM workers were staging a hunger strike outside Karachi Press Club when Altaf addressed them, made anti-state remarks and urged party workers to attack media over what he claimed was less coverage to him.

Talking to the media after the court proceedings, Amir Khan said that Farooq Sattar is the only one responsible for the post-February 5 situation, as “we had given him a chance to come back but he is still willing to run the party as a one-man show”. Amir said the coordination committee of (Khalid Maqbool) faction has decided that the decision will be made collectively not by one man. He said that Farooq Sattar wants full powers to run the party as Altaf Hussain had in the past.

Replying to a query about MQM founder’s announcement on boycott of the upcoming coming general elections, Amir Khan said that such announcement would not affect the elections; people will defiantly come out and cast their votes.

Farooq Sattar said that schedule of general elections has been announced and he has requested the Election Commission of Pakistan to resolve some serious issues before the elections. He pleaded to the ECP to extend the date for submission of nomination papers. The disputes regarding constituencies should be addressed before the elections, he said. He said that one seat was cut in his constituency.

Commenting on Khalid Maqbool’s statement about his (Farooq Sattar’s) absence from an Iftar party hosted by MQM’s Bahadurabad faction led by Khalid Maqbool on June 1, Farooq Sattar said he was not invited to the party. He said that he had visited Bahadurabad five times, but the other side was not showing any serious in resolution of disputed issues.