Police have arrested one of Pakistan’s most well-known and divisive politicians on suspicion of money-laundering, sparking fears of violence in his power base of Karachi where businesses closed early and residents rushed home.
Altaf Hussain, the leader of Pakistan’s powerful Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, was being quizzed by police this afternoon, as officers searched the house where he was arrested.
Hussain, 60, has lived in self-imposed exile in Britain since 1992, believing that his life would be at risk were he to return, but he regularly addresses large gatherings in Pakistan by telephone link.
He is known for his stirring speeches that can whip his followers into a frenzy, and news of his arrest sparked fears of violence in his home base of Karachi.
The Metropolitan police confirmed that a 60-year-old man had been arrested earlier today when asked about Hussain, but refused to name him.
‘Officers have this morning, Tuesday, June 3 arrested a 60-year-old man on suspicion of money laundering,’ said a spokesman.
‘The arrest took place at a residential address in north-west London.
‘He has since been taken into custody at a central London police station and enquiries continue.
‘Officers are at present searching the address.’
Police officers were seen removing possible evidence from Hussain’s large red brick gated home this afternoon.
In 2010 another MQM politician, Imran Farooq, was stabbed to death in a daylight street attack in London.
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