British Govt. dispels impression of ‘protecting’ MQM

Karachi [Pakistan], Sept. 9 : The British Government has flatly refused charges that it is trying to protect the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) from legal charges.

"There is no pressure from any part of the British state to go soft on the MQM," said Home Office Permanent Secretary Mark Sedwill.

According to the Dawn, Sedwill was speaking before British parliament's influential Home Affairs Select Committee, responding to a question from Bradford MP Naz Shah who said the failure to use terrorism legislation in relation to the MQM had hampered previous police investigations.

"Can you confirm, that the abject failure of the Foreign Office to list the MQM as a terrorist outfit should have no bearing on the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) decision on whether or not to use terrorism legislation in relation to the MQM?" Shah asked.

To which Sedwill responded saying, "The police can use terrorism legislation whether or not someone is a member of proscribed organisation." Several parliamentarians with Pakistani heritage have written to various British officials asking about the failure of investigations into the MQM matter.

However, Whitehall insiders admit that there are differences between the Home Office, the Foreign Office and CPS on the MQM issue.

On Aug 23, the Metropolitan Police announced that they were opening an investigation into whether Mr Hussain's speech shortly before the attacks on media houses in Karachi resulted in violence.

"I have been in touch with my Pakistani counterpart to ensure that we provide the Metropolitan Police with all the evidence they need to pursue a proper criminal investigation," Sedwill said, revealing that the UK and Pakistan were cooperating on the case, The MQM maintains that all three cases are failing because there is no evidence against the party or its senior London-based members and the party officials insist that they are innocent of all the allegations made against them.

Source: ANI