Lahore    -   Altaf Hussain, the self-exiled founder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, has been charged with a terrorism offence in the UK on Thursday.

According to BBC, the Metropolitan Police in London confirmed that the 66-year-old had been charged in connection with a speech he made to supporters in Pakistan in August 2016.

Altaf Hussain, who requested asylum in the 1990s and later gained UK citizenship, pleaded not guilty. Despite a split in the MQM, he still wields considerable influence. He is influential both in the party and its main power base, Karachi.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said that the speech had been relayed from London to crowds gathered in Karachi on 22 August, 2016. Violence erupted after the speech when MQM activists and police clashed in Karachi.

The MQM founder was taken into police custody and was produced before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, where he was granted conditional bail.

The conditions of his bail include a bar on him to broadcast any speeches and remaining at his residence for a restricted amount of time each night. He also cannot apply for a travel document and his passport will remain in police custody.

After Altaf Hussain appeared before judge Emma Arbuthnot, the charge against him was read out. He pleaded not guilty.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) asked for Altaf Hussain to be granted conditional bail. The conditions sought included a restriction on Altaf Hussain not to broadcast any message, either video or audio, via social media, radio, TV, or internet to people in the UK or overseas concerning this case or comment on the political situation in Pakistan.

The court then entered into a recess as the lawyers for the prosecution and Hussain discussed the bail conditions further. He was subsequently granted bail.

The next hearing of the case will be held at the Central Criminal Court on November 1.

Altaf Hussain, who had earlier Thursday appeared at a London police station after his bail expired, was charged by detectives from the Met Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.

“Altaf Hussain [...], of Abbey View, Mill Hill, NW7, was charged under section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 with encouraging terrorism,” the Met Police said in a statement on its website.

The Met Police said: “Hussain was previously arrested on 11 June on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was released on bail and subsequently charged as above.”

The Pakistani authorities have repeatedly demanded action be taken against him - but his supporters have always maintained his innocence.