Hussain's representatives could not be reached for comment
British police arrested Pakistani politician Altaf Hussain in London on Tuesday as part of an investigation into speeches he gave as founder of a political party that ruled the megacity of Karachi for decades, media in Pakistan reported.
London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement a man in his sixties had been arrested after a joint investigation with Pakistani authorities.
Altaf Hussain arrested, apparently for making this speech, by Scotland Yard in London. 😂 pic.twitter.com/ud0g8eWgnd— Ali Salman Alvi (@alisalmanalvi) June 11, 2019
It did not identify the person but said the arrest was "in connection with an investigation into a number of speeches made by an individual associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Pakistan."
Pakistan's Punjabi generals scared to death of ethnic rebellion probably convinced Britain to silence the Muhajir dissident leader given the huge growth of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement and the recent successful attacks by the Baloch independence insurgents.https://t.co/gEscI12zRH— Lawrence Sellin (@LawrenceSellin) June 11, 2019
Hussain's representatives could not be reached for comment.
MQM has dominated the sweltering metropolis of Karachi, Pakistan's largest and wealthiest city, since the 1980s. When security forces cracked down on the party in the 1990s, Hussain sought asylum in the United Kingdom.
Even from exile in London, Hussain controlled the city through a powerful network. Karachi police and his opponents have accused him of exhorting his supporters to violence, charges he has denied.
Altaf Hussain should have been in prison many years ago.— Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) June 11, 2019
But the political & social phenomena of the MQM was & is bigger than his skullduggery.
Pakistanis should welcome his arrest but be cautious about allowing the moment to become a validation for ethnic stereotyping.
Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power last year vowing to attack rampant political corruption in Pakistan and there have been a string of high profile cases.
Opposition parties say the government is using corruption as a pretext to silence its opponents while it also cracks down on groups such the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), an ethnic Pashtun rights group.
Hussain's arrest in London followed other detentions of opposition politicians in Pakistan.
\On Monday, former president Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on corruption charges.
I was declared “traitor” by Musharraf regime when I played this anti-Pakistan speech of Altaf Hussain in Delhi on the demand of @ImranKhanPTI no action was taken against Altaf Hussain or his party at that time because he was ally of dictator Musharraf pic.twitter.com/s98PJf8vb2— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) June 11, 2019
Zardari spent 11 years in jail on corruption and murder charges before becoming president in 2008. But he was never convicted and denies wrongdoing.
Zardari could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, but the PPP said the cases are politically motivated.
On Tuesday, Hamza Shahbaz, nephew of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was taken into custody on charges of money laundering and possessing assets beyond his means. He later told reporters he was not guilty.
Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party said the arrest was politically motivated and part of a campaign to target opposition parties.