Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said Altaf Hussian - leader of Muthahida Qaumi Movement - is responsible for the murder of Zahra Shahid.
On his official Twitter page, PTI chairman Imran Khan tweeted: “I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder [of Zahra Shahid] as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts.”
Zahra Shahid - central vice president and member of central executive committee (CEC) of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf - was shot dead outside her residence in Karachi by unidentified armed men.
The elderly Zahra - popularly known as Zara Aa’pa and president of the PTI women’s wing in Karachi - was killed in the run up to re-election in the violence-prone national assembly constituency NA-250 Karachi. The election commission of Pakistan has ordered re-polling at NA-50 following reports of widespread allegations of rigging, barring voters from casting votes and taking hostage election officials. Later the seat was won by PTI candidate Dr. Arif Alvi.
In reaction to the cold-blooded murder of a senior party activist, Imran khan said he was holding the British government and London-based Pakistani self-exiled leader Altaf Hussain - also a British national - responsible for Zahra Shahid assassination.
Just days before the assassination of Zara, Altaf Hussian, in a broadcast message to MQM workers, hurled threats at PTI activists staging a sit-in at a busy market square to protest poll rigging. Imran believes Altaf’s threats led to the gruesome incident.
“I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened PTI activists in a live broadcasts speech,” tweeted Imran Khan on his page.
Faiz Ali khan, a law practitioner, speaking with Truth Tracker, said if the allegation leveled by Imran Khan against MQM leader Altaf Hussai proved true, then section 109 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) could be applied.
“Section 109 deals with provocation of someone for an offence which verbally, in writing or through any other action aides in the crime, which will be punished in the same manner as the culprit,” says Mr Khan.
Altaf Hussain’s speech was broadcast live by mainstream media outlets apparently containing abutment (provocation) to a crime in part of the speech where he was threatening PTI workers, the lawyer said.
If Imran Khan fails to defend the allegations, then MQM could claim damages under the Civil Procedure Code and sue him for defamation under the Criminal Procedure Code, said the lawyer.
PTI workers also staged a protest demonstration in front of 10-Downing Street - the official residence of the British prime minister - in London demanding prosecution and indictment of Mr Hussain and barring him from inciting violence in Karachi from the safe environs of London.
Dr. Hamyun Khan Mohammad, a central leader and head of the PTI foreign wing, talking to Truth Tracker, clarified that there is a difference between the word “responsible” and “involved”.
“[Imran]…has said that Altaf Hussain is ’responsible’ for the murder of Zahra Hussain,” Mohmand tells TT.
“Mr Hussain is a British citizen and [he] making provocative speeches against PTI workers from London,” says Mohmand. “Imran believes Hussain’s speech prompted the killers to assassinate Zahra … [and] is hence responsible for the murder,” he said.
“We want the British government to prosecute Hussian and stop him from using British soil for inciting violence in Pakistan,” argues Mohmand. “MQM has served a legal notice against the PTI chairman,” informed Mohmand.
Dr Farooq Sattar - MQM parliamentary leader in the National Assembly- denied allegations leveled by Imran against his party leader.
“We condemn the brutal murder of Zahra Shahid Hussain … [but] Imran’s jumping to conclusions without waiting for investigation lays bare his political immaturity,” Dr Sattar said while addressing a press conference in Karachi.
“Imran’s remarks are tantamount to provocation and bound to undermine the probe into the murder….[We] will protest against Khan’s hateful comments by peacefully demonstrating in Pakistan and abroad,” says Sattar.
He confirms that MQM sued the PTI chief on defamation in court of law.
MQM served an Rs.5 billion defamation notice on PTI chairman Imran Khan, while PTI spokesperson Dr Shereen Mazari said PTI will sue MQM for Rs.10 billion on charges of defamation for irrelevant and baseless statements against PTI.
Aqeel Yousafzai, a senior journalist and analyst, talking to Truth Tracker, said that nothing will come out of PTI and MQM accusing each other. “Its a blame-game and is part of politics here [Pakistan],” Yusufzai tells Truth Tracker.
According to Yusufzai MQM has also been blamed for violence in Karachi by other political parties. But this time, the ethnic-based political party is alarmed by popularity and support for cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan in the streets of Karachi.
Truth Tracker, after taking into account the subject of the speech of MQM chief Altaf Hussain and the opinions of some independent practitioners and analysts, finds that the statement of PTI-Chairman Imran khan is half true.