LONDON: Deputy High Court Judge Peter Knox sitting in the High Court London (LHC) has ordered to freeze immediately all six trust properties controlled by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain including the palatial house in West London where the MQM founder currently resides with his bodyguards, Geo TV reported.
The six properties that have been frozen through a court order include: Abbey View house, High View Gardens first house, Whitchurch Lane first house, Brookfield Avenue house, High View Gardens second house, Whitchurch Lane second house, and the MQM 1st Floor Elizabeth House office.
The freezing order means that Altaf Hussain and his associates can stay in the properties pending the outcome of the case – brought about by the MQM-Pakistan as the beneficial owner of these properties – but the properties cannot be sold. The Court also made an order for costs against the MQM-UK on parts of the case. The cost order is subject to assessment by the Court. The court didn’t give an order to the MQM-Pakistan on the monthly rent.
The interim injunction was filed and argued on behalf of MQM-Pakistan by Barrister Nazar Mohammad of Legis Chambers. The case will now proceed to trial in due course, according to a source in the court who shared that it will take a “couple of months” for the trial and in the interim period Altaf Hussain will no more be able to sell the properties.
Barrister Nazar Mohammad had initiated the claim against Altaf of Abbey View, Iqbal Hussain of Exchange Boulevard, Glendale Heights, Illinois, Tariq Mir of West London, Muhammad Anwar of Edgware, Iftikhar Hussain of High View, Gardens Edgware, Qasim Raza of Cowper Gardens, and Euro Property Developments of Highview Gardens. All of these were named as defendants in the claim document.
The MQM-P had filed a claim for freezing order in the Chancery Division of the High Court against MQM founder Altaf Hussain for the recovery of trust properties.
These properties are valued at around £15 million.
The claim relied on material evidence from previous court cases in which Altaf had deposed that these properties are held on trust for the MQM. For instance, during the divorce settlement with his former wife, which included a lumpsum payment of £1.5 million and monthly payments of £15,000 per month to his wife, Altaf had maintained these properties in question were trust properties held specifically for the MQM-P and he did not have a personal interest in them.
The claim was started around two months ago in London on behalf of the claimant Syed Aminul Haque, the MNA from NA251 Karachi who is a Federal Minister and the Member Rabita Committee of MQM-Pakistan.
The MQM’s former senior leaders Muhammad Anwar and Tariq Mir have already told Altaf that they will not hand over the control of the two Whitchurch Lane properties.