Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain, living in exile in the UK, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant him and his colleagues asylum or at least some financial assistance to take his case to the International Court of Justice.
Promising that he would not interfere in politics, Hussain took to social media last week to relay a new speech, in which he also welcomed the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case.
The 67-year-old is due to stand trial in the UK on an offence of encouraging terrorism through a speech relayed to his followers in Pakistan a few years ago.
“If India today, and Prime Minister Modi, allow me to come to India and provide me asylum with my colleagues, I am ready to come to India along with my colleagues, because my grandfather is buried there, my grandmother is buried there, my thousands of relatives are buried there. I want to go there, to their graves,” said Hussain, in a speech dated November 9.
A controversial but powerful figure in Pakistan’s politics, Hussain has been accused of inciting violence in Karachi from exile in the UK. He has managed to remain on the right side of the military establishment through his troubles, including earning major concessions under Pervez Musharraf as Pakistan PM. With the MQM a party of the Mohajirs, Urdu-speaking Muslims who migrated to Pakistan from India, and given his pro-India remarks, Hussain has often invited charges of being propped up by Delhi.
In his speech, Hussain said, “I am a peace-loving person. I will not interfere in any politics, I promise. But just give me, along with my colleagues, a place to live in India. I request you to grant some Baloch, Sindhis whose names I give asylum as well.”
In his plea to India, the MQM leader said his house and offices have been seized, leaving him no means to “fight for justice” against the Pakistani regime. “If you don’t provide us shelter, give us some influential financial people to go to the international court. I have no money, so you ask your people to pay the court fees. I will fight alone at the International Court of Justice for Baloch, Sindhis and Muhajirs and all other ethnic religious minorities,” said Hussain.
During the broadcast, he welcomed the Supreme Court order offering land for a new mosque in lieu of the demolished Babri Masjid, and said those who did not accept the ruling should leave India. Saying the current Indian government has a right to establish “Hindu raj” and attacking AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi for his remarks regarding the verdict, he added, “As Pakistan has been created on the basis of Islam, you needn’t live in Hindustan. Go and live in Pakistan.”
Hussain is currently on strict bail conditions, imposed after the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command charged him last month. In another speech, Hussain referred to India’s abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and rebuked the Pakistan Army’s “core commanders” for failing to do anything.
It remains to be seen if his speeches, to be found on the official MQM Facebook page, amount to a breach of his bail conditions.
(With ENS inputs)