The self-exiled founder of one of Pakistan’s biggest political parties, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), has been charged with a terrorism offence in the UK.
Metropolitan Police confirmed that 66-year-old Altaf Hussain, has been charged in connection with a speech he made to supporters in Pakistan in back in August 2016.
Mr Hussain, who founded the MQM in 1984, fled to the UK in 1992 following accusations of torture and murder. He fled to the Uk and requested asylum, and was later granted UK citizenship.
However despite him being absent from Pakistan and two factions in his party, he has wielded considerable influence in the MQM party, all whilst living in London.
From his base in north London, Mr Hussain would regularly address supporters of his MQM party via telephone. His messages would be relayed to crowds by loudspeaker.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police this week said that on 22nd August 2016 Altaf relayed a speech from London to crowds gathered in Karachi. Following his transmission, violence erupted when MQM-L activists and police clashed in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city.
Known as a “maverick politician” his MQM party has dominated politics in Karachi for over three decades. His support mainly came from the densely populated working class neighbourhoods of Urdu-speaking Muhajirs, descendants of Muslims who migrated from India when Pakistan was created in 1947.
Formerly in 2009 under amnesty in Pakistan, 72 cases were dropped against Altaf Hussain, including 31 allegations of murder.
For many years, Pakistani authorities have repeatedly demanded action be taken against him.