Altaf Arrested


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The controversial Pakistani politician, Altaf Hussain, was arrested at his London home earlier this week, according to his office in Edgware, sparking fears of a violent backlash in Pakistan.

Hussain, who is leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the most powerful political party in the Karachi state of Pakistan, was detained by police on Tuesday 3rd June on suspicion of money laundering.

CONTROVERSIAL: Altaf Hussain, leader of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement, was arrested  in London, with many fearing riots in the Karachi state

CONTROVERSIAL: Altaf Hussain, leader of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement, was arrested
in London, with many fearing riots in the Karachi state

Although Scotland Yard did not identify him, they said a 60-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of money-laundering during an early morning raid on a house in northwest London with special operations officers searching the property.

A British citizen, Hussain has lived in exile in the UK since 1991, yet still rules the party despite being more than 4,000 miles away.

Following the news of his arrest, an immediate lockdown took place in Karachi, with local shops and businesses closing, whilst streets were gridlocked as people attempted to get home.

The news was expected to see riots break in the streets as Hussain’s notorious following took to protest the decision.

Hussain, one of Pakistan's most divisive and controversial leaders, is wanted back in his home country in relation to a murder case, yet has lived in London in self-imposed exile since the early 1990s.

Known for his fiery addresses to his supporters in Karachi through a loudspeaker connected to a telephone, he effectively controls the violent port city from London.

His hold on Karachi is so strong that he is capable of shutting down entire neighbourhoods of the city of 18million.

Supporters praise him as a business-oriented leader of Pakistan's middle class, but opponents describe him as a tyrant and accuse him of murder and violence.

Within minutes of his arrest, panicked shop-keepers and market stall owners rushed to close their businesses for fear of violence, with the British High Commission even shutting down temporarily.

“We deployed extra security at the British High Commission in the southern part of Karachi as soon as we learnt about Altaf Hussain's arrest in London through media,” Deputy Inspector General Abdul Khalique Shaikh told Reuters.

“We have increased police patrolling and we are making further deployments at sensitive spots in the city.”

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