Thursday Dec 01 2022

Nadeem Nusrat appears under security in trial against Altaf Hussain's London properties

— Photo by author
— Photo by author

  • Nadeem Nusrat records testimony against Altaf Hussain.
  • Nusrat appears before UK court in property dispute case.
  • Nusrat’s life in danger, attacked previously, his lawyer says.

LONDON: A judge at the UK High Court ordered special security measures for the former MQM convenor Nadeem Nusrat when he appeared before the court to record his testimony in favour of MQM-P and against Altaf Hussain and MQM-London (MQM-L).

Nusrat gave testimony under special arrangements in support of Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom Syed Aminul Haque who has brought a claim against Hussain in order to take control of seven expensive London properties from him.

The judge also heard a complaint from Nusrat and MQM-P’s lawyer that Nusrat was trolled online by Hussain supporters after he gave an interview to Geo News about his role in the case.

The MQM-L lawyer told the judge that criticism was natural as Nusrat gave an interview to Geo News and volunteered to be criticised. The judge asked both sides to avoid getting involved in social media fights during the duration of the trial.

Geo News has seen a copy of the order obtained by MQM-P’s lawyer at the UK High Court’s Business and Property division from Justice Leech.

MQM-P’s Barrister Nazar Mohammad told the court that Nusrat’s life was in danger and he had been attacked previously. The court was told that an MQM official in America had previously announced plans to kill Nusrat.

The court order said: “The claimant shall have permission to call Nadeem Nusrat to give his oral evidence by video link from a separate courtroom in the Rolls Building”.

Nusrat said: “I can confirm that I am a witness for the Claimant in the High Court, Rolls Building, London. The court will decide the issue of which of the two parties is the successor to the MQM after the split in 2016.”

As reported in this paper on 22 May 2019, the head of MQM’s Maryland chapter Qaiser Ali had been imprisoned for one year with one month of prison and eleven months of a suspended sentence for threatening to kill Nusrat, his wife, and Wasay Jalil.

Qaisar Ali pleaded guilty before Virginia’s Fairfax County Court to the charge of threatening to slaughter Nusrat and others in a threatening tweet. Hussain’s supporters had denied any direct or indirect involvement in the threat.

Nusrat and Jalil parted ways with MQM founder Hussain around five years ago and left London for America. They worked together for a few years but it’s understood they are no longer on talking terms and separated ways.

Nusrat runs Voice of Karachi and South Asia Minorities Alliance Foundation from his base in Washington DC. He has been openly attacking MQM-Pakistan but decided to join hands with MQM-P against Altaf Hussain and his supporters.

He has also said the London properties should go to the families of martyrs and not to MQM-P.

The MQM-P is represented by Nazar Mohammad and Richard Slade KC is acting for Altaf Hussain, Qasim Ali, Iftikhar Hussain and Euro Properties Ltd.

The court order asks MQM-London to explain “what searches they have carried out to identify the recording tapes which record the incoming and outgoing telephone calls from MQM’s London office at 1st Floor Elizabeth House during the period 21-22 October 2015” and explain the position if no recording tapes have been found”.

The main issue in relation to the 2015 constitution is when Hussain gave his assent for the apparent approval, the recording tapes were demanded by the claimant's lawyer to confirm if Hussain indeed did give his assent, MQM-L had always recorded every call incoming and outgoing from their offices since 1992, so something this important must be recorded.

The court has ordered the MQM-P to explain what “searches have been conducted of the e-mail address [email protected] as part of the Claimant’s disclosure process” and “provide a copy of Mr Syed Sardar Ahmad’s original affidavit”.

The affidavit confirms that the 2015 constitution in question was indeed a draft version only, and that it was never adopted or assented to by Hussain, the search of the email account was requested to confirm if the constitution's final version was received or not.

It’s understood that MQM-P leader Haque did not want to appear in person and asked for his appearance via zoom but this was rejected and he was ordered by the court to be present at the court throughout the trial.

However, Haque told the court later he was unable to obtain UK visa. He was then allowed to appear via video link from Karachi.

Haque, nominated by MQM-P has brought the case against the party’s founder to gain control of the following 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 which is being used by MQM-London where their family lives; 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.