KARACHI - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) Saturday expressed it annoyance over absence of prosecution witnesses in two cases pertaining to August 22, violence and hate speech of MQM founder Altaf Hussain.

The ATC was hearing two cases pertaining to hate speech and attack on media houses, wherein Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) former leaders Dr Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan, Shahid Pasha, Qamar Mansoor, Kunwar Naveed Jamil and others, appeared before the court.

The trail court expressed its displeasure over the absence of witnesses, the prosecutor appeared before the court and filed an adjournment application.

In last hearing, the court had directed the investigation officer to produce the witnesses, but the order was not complied by the prosecution on Saturday’s hearing. The court repeated the same direction and also warned the prosecution for the legal action if they fail to produce the witnesses in the next hearing. In their verbal direction, the court warned for the penalty if the prosecution fail to comply with the order, and also directed the penalty to be paid by them would be deposited into the dams fund.

The court adjourned the hearing till Feb 9.

The MQM leaders were booked for allegedly subsequent attacks on media house on August 22, 2016 outside the Karachi Press Club on the outset of proceeding.

Earlier, the police submitted challan which said that both Farooq Sattar and Amir Khan had disowned the speech, however, there are concrete evidences as they were not only present but were also clapping when Altaf Hussain was delivering his anti-Pakistan speech.

According to the charge-sheet, Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan, Kunwar Naveed and Shahid Pasha provided a tent outside the club.

In the previous hearing, the court indicted the MQM leaders 60 others in two identical cases regarding incitement, murder, revolt and attack on media houses. However, the MQM-P leaders pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the cases.

MQM founder Altaf Hussain has already been declared absconder in the case along with Rafi Akbar, Zakir Qureshi, Javed Kazmi, Arif Khan, Muhammad Sabir, Akbar Rajput and Aslam Khan Afridi. The ATC has already issued red warrant against the MQM founder.

The court noted that the speech, during which “Pakistan was called a running sore”, caused incitement and was an attack on the sanctity of the country.

The MQM founder also ordered attack on media houses, it added.

The court was also presented a CD of Amir Khan’s speech on August 22, 2016 but he disputed its content. The court also referred to a video showing the accused holding sticks when incidents of vandalism took place.