Pak politician Altaf Hussain held in London

  • AFP, London
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2014 19:15 IST
File-photo-of-Altaf-Hussain-AFP-photo

The leader of Pakistan's MQM party, Altaf Hussain, has been arrested in London on suspicion of money-laundering, reports said Tuesday as panic spread through his home city of Karachi and protesters torched vehicles.

British police said only that a 60-year-old man had been detained at a residential address in northwest London and officers were searching the building.

"Officers have this morning arrested a 60-year-old man on suspicion of money-laundering," a Metropolitan Police statement said.

Hussain fled Pakistan for Britain in 1992 after a military operation to end ethnic unrest in Karachi, gaining British citizenship in 2002.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has its power base in the violence-racked city of Karachi, Pakistan's largest, which it controls with an iron fist.

Panic gripped the sprawling metropolis of 18 million people soon after local television broadcast the reports. Angry protesters torched at least a dozen vehicles, according to rescue officials.

Many rushed to stock up on groceries in anticipation of a prolonged shutdown while office workers left for home early, clogging up roads.

"We don't know for how long the shops will remain closed and I want to store as much groceries as I could," Razia Begum, 45, said as she jostled for space in a packed shop.

A spokesman for Pakistan Railways told AFP that all trains leaving Karachi had been temporarily halted.

The MQM's parliamentary leader inside Pakistan meanwhile appealed to party workers to remain calm and pray for Hussain.

"We should stay calm, we should not become impatient in any condition. The workers must be aware with the developments, keep in touch with the party office, stay united and also look around you," said Dr Farooq Sattar.

"We should act on the teachings of Altaf Hussain. We should pray for his health, we should say that he should be given medical treatment and his medical tests should be conducted," he added.

British officials said they had temporarily closed their deputy high commission in the city, as Karachi police strengthened security in the city's diplomatic enclave.

"We have tightened the security of the consulates, especially of the British," said city police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo.

The Karachi Stock Exchange plunged three percent on the news, from 29,784 points to 29,009 points.

Karachi is Pakistan's economic heart but is frequently rocked by ethnic, sectarian and militant violence and has one of the world's highest murder rates.

The MQM party was created to safeguard the rights of the city's Urdu-speaking community, who migrated from India to the newly created Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947.

Hussain's residence in London was raided on suspicion of money laundering in 2012 and 2013 by British police.

In 2010 the murder in London of Imran Farooq, one of the party's founding members and a confidante of Hussain, sparked speculation of an "inside job".

From Around the Web
Sponsored by Revcontent

also read

Trump’s NATO comments show ‘lack of preparedness’: Obama
Show comments

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Chrome and Ad BlockPlus users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar at top right of this page

2. Click on ‘Enabled on this site’; this should now change to ‘Disabled on this site’


chrome



For Chrome and Ad Block users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don’t run on pages on this domain’ and then click ‘exclude’ on the pop up


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Mozilla and AdBlock Plus (ABP) users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Internet Explorer and AdBlock Plus users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock Plus’ icon in your status bar at the bottom of the screen

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Safari and AdBlock users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don't run pages on this domain’ and then click 'exclude'


chrome