A UKIP Commonwealth spokes-man, who played a key role in boosting the party’s multi-cultural credentials, was forced to resign after it was discovered that he had been the leader of a major kidnapping gang.
35-year-old Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto, from Leeds, has admitted being ‘boss’ of the kidnapping circle and also confessed that he had admitted charges in a UK court under a different name in 2005.
Suspicions arose when Bhutto mysteriously ‘vanished’ from the UKIP’s website just before the new year. Now UKIP have tried to distance itself from Bhutto, saying he has resigned of his own accord after he was confronted about his criminal history.
Bhutto, had been pivotal for UKIP in gathering a following from the Asian communities in Britain. He had even organised two visits to mosques in Rochdale and Bradford last year for UKIP leader Nigel Farage and helped canvass in a key by-election in which the party came close to gaining its first MP.
But, in the latest embarrassment for the party, Bhutto has been exposed as being the ‘boss’ of a high-profile gang which struck in Karachi in 2004, in a kidnapping that netted him a £56,000 ransom payment.
The money was found hidden in Bhutto’s bed in a house in Leeds, and he was forced to repay it when he appeared in court.
His apparent respectability as a politician went down the gutter when it was revealed that in June 2004, a gang, led by Bhutto, kidnapped Ahmed Naeem, the son of a wealthy businessman, at gunpoint from a car in Karachi.
Five days later Bhutto had flown to England. Police said that at one point, as he negotiated a ransom, he threatened to cut the victim’s head off and post it to his father, Mohammed.
He had personally collected the ransom at the Arndale shopping centre car park in Manchester. Bhutto admitted charges in a British court and received a seven-year jail sentence, but claimed asylum to avoid being deported back to Pakistan.
He was sentenced under the name Majeebur Bhutto.
Bhutto, from Leeds, told Newsnight he had admitted charges against him rather than risk being sent back to Pakistan and hanged.
He said: “The evidence which was brought against me was from Pakistan. The allegation was simply because of political rivalry and because of my fathers high-profile.”
He claimed the case against him in Pakistan had been thrown out by the country’s Supreme Court. However, senior Pakistani police sources told the BBC that Bhutto is still very much wanted.
The emergence of Bhutto’s past, comes just a few weeks after David Silvester, a UKIP councillor in Oxfordshire, provoked ridicule by claiming that this winter’s floods were God’s revenge for the new law allowing gay marriage; and last summer, MEP Godfrey Bloom, who represents Yorkshire and The Humber, caused outrage when he said Britain should not be sending overseas aid to ‘bongo bongo land’.
More surprisingly, Bhutto had joined the Conservative party just months after he came out of prison and had defected to UKIP in 2011.