LONDON: The former MQM convener and its founder Altaf Hussain’s once chief lieutenant Nadeem Nusrat has said the breakaway MQM-P leadership should never have brought the case of seven properties against the party founder at the London High Court.
Speaking to Geo News after giving his witness statement at the Properties and Business Division of the High Court before Insolvency and Companies Court (ICC) Judge Clive Jones, the former MQM convener said MQM’s founder and the MQM groups should have resolved this matter out of the court despite having differences.
“Both are spending half a million each to fight this case. This money should go to the deserving families of the MQM,” he said. Nusrat’s entry in the case supports the case of MQM-P. He said he had joined the trial reluctantly after MQM-London mentioned him in the case and left him with no choice. He was cross-examined by Altaf's lawyer Richard Slade KC for over three hours.
Nusrat told said that regardless of the outcome of the trial, he didn’t believe that the MQM-P leadership will honestly deal with the proceeds of seven London properties if at all sold for the benefit of MQM-Pakistan.
He said the London properties should neither go to the London faction nor the breakaway Pakistan party, whose leader and Federal Minister Syed Aminul Haque has brought the claim against Altaf. Nusrat questioned why Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was nowhere in the claim and in the case after having encouraged Haque to start the case against Altaf.
Nusrat has called on Siddiqui and others to vacate the MQM properties they were using for personal use. Earlier the court heard from Nusrat that he had actually declared in September 2016 that MQM was nothing without Altaf and that he embodied the MQM – a month after the MQM-P's leader Dr Farooq Sattar had expelled Altaf from the party after August 22, 2016’s controversial speech.
The Voice of Karachi leader, who is now based in the USA after separating ways with Altaf on very bitter terms, appeared as a witness on the third day of trial for the control of seven London properties that the MQM-P wants to gain from Altaf through a court decision. The two sides are fighting over constitutional legitimacy. Both are laying claim on separate constitutions: MQM-P on 2016’s Constitution and MQM-London on 2015 constitution.
Nusrat said that the MQM was run by no constitution but by the “whims and wishes” of the MQM founder. Richard Slade KC put tough questions to Nusrat when he said that the MQM started changing from an ideological party into a cult after 1997 when it started winning elections and Altaf became powerful and unaccountable.
He said the MQM founder suspended the Rabita Committee hundreds of times as the RC didn’t have any powers before Altaf. When asked why he had supported Altaf and his party till 2017 – for over three decades – and defended the founder and opposed the actions of Sattar following the August 22 speech, Nusrat claimed that he did so due to security reasons and didn’t have the means and courage to stand up to Altaf.
He referred to the killing of Dr Imran Farooq in London in 2010. “Azam Tariq was killed too. I feared for my life. When Altaf Hussain became upset with me in London I was ordered to leave my residence.
My home was ransacked. When I came back to the party in 2012 there was intimidation and violence. I was threatened in the USA over and over, I had to look over my shoulder every single day after I left Altaf Hussain for good and moved to the USA in 2017,” he said.
During cross-examination by the King’s Counsel, Nadeem Nusrat said he wholly supported the position of Altaf Hussain after the August 22, 2016 speech in order to “salvage” the party.
Nusrat, who was Sattar’s counterpart at that time, differed with the statement given by Sattar against Altaf and agreed that Sattar didn’t discuss with him the removal of Altaf from the party position. He said it was true that Altaf was to take a break from the party affairs and the party was going to be run from Karachi but that didn’t mean that Altaf had resigned completely from the party affairs.
When Nusrat said that he thought soon after his August 22, 2016, speech that it was impossible for Altaf to make a comeback, Altaf’s lawyer ran him through those statements in which he had stood by Altaf but Nusrat said those were political statements by him and his belief was genuine.
“I made those comments to please Altaf Hussain. We were moving in circles. It was the right decision by MQM-Pakistan to separate ways from Altaf Hussain.” When asked about his removal as Convener of the party by MQM-P, Nusrat said he was content with that decision and knew it will happen.
Haque has brought the case against Altaf to gain control of the following seven properties: Abbey View in Mill Hill where Altaf Hussain resides; 1 High View Gardens in Edgware which is on rent; 5 High View Gardens in Edgware; 185 Whitchurch Lane in Edgware; 221 Whitchurch Lane in Edgware; 53 Brookfield Avenue in Mill Hill and 1st Floor Elizabeth House in Edgware which used to be the MQM’s International Secretariat.
The MQM-P has asked the UK High Court to give control of these properties to MQM-P as Altaf is no longer eligible to control these trust properties after the MQM was taken over by the Pakistan chapter of the MQM. The trial continues. Richard Slade KC is representing Altaf and Nazar Mohammad KC is representing MQM-P.