The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has filed a claim for declaratory relief and proprietary injunction – akin to a freezing order – in the Chancery Division of the High Court against MQM founder Altaf Hussain for the recovery of trust properties located in London.
Nazar Mohammad, Head of Chambers at Legis Chambers based in the City of London, confirmed to The News and Geo in a conversation.
There are at least seven valuable properties at the centre of the action – valued at around £15 million. Although the focus of the claim is currently on the seven properties, tracing for other assets may reveal even more valuable assets, including cash.
In the claim, there is material evidence from previous court cases in which Altaf has 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 has maintained these properties in question were trust properties held specifically for the MQM-P and he did not have a personal interest in them.
It is difficult to deny the facts currently within this claim. Altaf will need to explain to the Court in the present proceedings why he should not vacate, for example, his property at Abbey View.
Nazar Mohammad, the barrister for the MQM-Pakistan, initiated the case against the MQM founder at the London High Court two weeks ago on behalf of its client Syed Aminul Haque, the MNA from NA251 Karachi who is a Federal Minister and the Member Rabita Committee of MQM-Pakistan.
Nazar Mohammad specialises in civil & criminal litigation and was educated at the Universities of London, Oxford and City and was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple.
He told The News and Geo: “The law recognises two different types of ownerships. One is legal ownership and the other beneficial ownership. Another word for beneficial ownership is equitable ownership. Equity is a concept in law which assists applicants to achieve a result that is just and fair if other circumstances support the desired result, even if there is a small failure in the process.”
The lawyer explained that equity does require parties to “come with clean hands”.
He explained: “The question of whose hands are clean will also be an important issue in the case. Companies and natural persons may own property in their names, but unincorporated associations such as political parties cannot own property in their names. Unincorporated associations require trustees that are reliable people to hold the land in trust for them. That is why, for example, the MQM purchased properties in the names of various people. This case between the MQM and the Defendants is about who owns several London properties and who is entitled to benefit from them.”