Tag Archive: Altaf Hussain

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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Altaf Hussain goes free

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Less than one week after one of Pakistan’s best known politicians was detained by police on suspicion of money laundering, the controversial character was released on bail pending further inquiries.

60-year-old Altaf Hussain, the exiled leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the most powerful political party in the Karachi state of Pakistan, was arrested on Tuesday by police from his London home.

ARRESTED: Altaf Hussain, exiled leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was initially detained by police on suspicion of money laundering

ARRESTED: Altaf Hussain, exiled leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was initially detained by police on suspicion of money laundering

Just four days later, he was released on police-imposed bail and must return to their custody next month for renewed questioning.

Speaking to supporters in Pakistan via a streamed speech online, Hussain declared his innocence, saying: “I respect British laws and the judicial system. My lawyers are studying my case in accordance with the British laws.
“Truth will prevail by the grace of Allah.”

Hussain’s arrest had caused widespread business disruption and sporadic violence in his movement's power base in Karachi. His hold on Pakistan’s biggest city is so strong that he is capable of shutting down entire neighbourhoods of the area of 18million.

London's Metropolitan Police say they are investigating the source of approximately £400,000 seized last year during searches of London properties linked to Hussain's party, including his own home.

Following his arrest, Hussain spent three days in custody at a hospital receiving previously scheduled medical treatment, including an angiogram for suspected cardiovascular problems, his party said. Police finally questioned him on Friday.

Hussain's party frequently has been accused of threatening and killing political opponents. His party denies this, even though Hussain himself has repeatedly targeted opponents and journalists with threats that they could end up in ‘body bags’.

In a London-issued statement, his party appealed to followers in Pakistan to remain calm. It described the ongoing police investigation as ‘completely normal behaviour in a democratic country’.

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