The head of a Maryland chapter of a prominent Pakistani political party has been accused of threatening to "slaughter" a man and his family in their Virginia home, according to Fairfax County, Virginia, police and a search warrant.
Qaiser Ali, 53, of Halethorpe, Maryland, was arrested Thursday and is facing a single felony count of promising to kill the unnamed victims via a message and video in Urdu posted to Twitter in November, police said. Police declined to say what they think prompted the threats.
Ali is the head of the Baltimore, Maryland, chapter of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, party, which has been linked to violence in Pakistan in the past and has been the subject of a crackdown by Pakistani authorities in recent years that has been criticized by human rights groups. The party is secular and has a base of support in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi. The party's founder, Altaf Hussain, fled Pakistan in the early 1990s and lives in London.
"We the loyalist faithful workers of Brother Altaf Hussain are, willing God, we will storm through and kill (slaughter) you in/at the house," the tweet read in part, according to a translation by police contained in a search warrant filed in Fairfax County court.
The victim told police that he and his family feared for their lives because he knew people who had been executed at the direction of MQM leadership, according to the search warrant. Police said the victim told detectives that he had once been involved with MQM. Ali and the victim apparently were known to each other.
"There was no indication that the suspect made any plans to carry out the threat that was communicated," detective Chad Mahoney wrote in an email to The Washington Post.
Mahoney wrote that police had not uncovered any evidence that Ali possessed weapons or knew the victims' address.
Ali did not immediately respond to a message sent to him on Twitter. His phone number is not listed, and court records do not list an attorney for him. Messages to the Baltimore chapter of MQM and the national organization were not returned.
Fairfax County police launched their investigation in November after the victim contacted them about the Twitter message, according to the search warrant, which was filed to obtain information about an IP address. The victim and two other witnesses told police that they believed Ali was responsible for the post.
Detectives eventually tied the threats to Ali via electronic records, according to the search warrant. Ali's Twitter account features praise of Hussain and commentary on Pakistani politics.
In 2016, Ali was charged in Baltimore with second-degree assault and possessing a dangerous weapon with intent to harm, but the charges were eventually dropped.
Ali's arraignment in Fairfax County is scheduled for Thursday.
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