Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Altaf Hussain arrested in London for money laundering

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain was arrested on Tuesday in London on suspicion of money-laundering as thousands of people in his home city of Karachi staged a sit-in calling for his release.

The London Metropolitan police confirmed that a 60-year-old man had been arrested from a northwest London property on charges of money-laundering, but they declined to disclose the exact identity for "legal reasons."

The police said a Specialist Operations unit was currently carrying out a search operation at the property in northwest London.

DawnNews quoted the Scotland Yard as saying that the investigation would continue for 24 hours.

Moreover, London police has said that an audio-video statement has been recorded of the arrested man.

How the case unfolded


Also read: Politics and exile: The story of Altaf Hussain

Moreover, a spokesman for the British High Commission said that the UK's consulate in Karachi has been temporarily closed down.

“We deployed extra security at the British High Commission in the southern part of Karachi as soon 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,” he added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the issue of Hussain’s arrest was of an extremely sensitive nature, adding that the government would take all legal angles into account.

The premier has directed parliamentarians and members of the PML-N not to comment on the news.

MQM leaders confirm reports, call for calm

After initially denying reports of Hussain’s arrest, the MQM Rabita Committee confirmed that Altaf Hussain was taken to the police station for interrogation and later to a local hospital.

In a press release, the committee said Altaf Hussain was undergoing medical checkups at the hospital.

“Doctors have seen him and asked for blood tests. The fasting blood test will be carried out tomorrow, Wednesday, at around 11am,” said the press release.

“Mr Hussain will remain in the hospital overnight. The doctors will decide after looking at the fasting blood test report if he is medically fit to be interviewed by the police or not,” it added.

Earlier, addressing media representatives via telephone from London, MQM’s Nadeem Nusrat had said that Hussain was at his residence and in touch with Nusrat.

The MQM leader said that Hussain had been ill for some time, adding that he was scheduled to be shifted to a hospital today when the police arrived at his residence.

Nusrat advised all party members inside and outside Pakistan to control their emotions and not do anything that may go against the teachings of their leader.

Nusrat insisted that Hussain was not under arrest but at home.

Moreover, MQM leader Farooq Sattar also 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 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.

MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said it was the prime responsibility of the activists not to resort to violence and remain peaceful.

It is time for party activists to be composed and avoid spreading rumours, he said, adding that those who were trying to create panic among the citizens were not MQM activists.

Our activists are one who follow Altaf Hussain’s teachings of peace and unity, he said.

Situation in Karachi

Within minutes of his arrest, panicked shop-keepers and market stall owners rushed to close their businesses for fear of violence, residents said.

Mohammad Moosa, a resident of Karachi, told Reuters: “All shops and markets are shut. Even small cigarette shops are closed. Petrol station operators have also closed down, fearing violence.”

According to DawnNews, "namaloom afraad" or unknown persons had taken to the streets and the city was in a state of frenzy with a number of neighbourhoods experiencing traffic jams.

Three people were injured in firing in Baldia Town, Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Natha Khan areas.

Three buses and a dozen cars were also set alight in Shafiq Mor and Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

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.

Moreover, the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE-100 index) fell 780 points immediately after the news came and commercial centres across Sindh's provincial capital started to shut down.

In the wake of the frenzy engulfing the city, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) demanded that the provincial capital be handed under military control, adding that if the government failed to establish peace in the next 24 hours, a strike will be held.

Meanwhile, the federal government, on the instruction of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed its high commission in London to immediately provide counselor services and legal assistance to the MQM chief.

Expressing his annoyance, however, over the reaction in Karachi soon after the arrest of Altaf Hussain, a government spokesman said those actions were not justified and against the law.

Also read: MQM chief's arrest not to decide KSE future: analysts

Hussain’s supporters gathered outside the party’s headquarters, Nine Zero, chanting slogans in favour of Hussain.

They said they would continue protesting until Hussain was freed.

Later in the day, MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said that the protest sit-in outside Nine Zero had concluded and now supporters and workers of the party would hold a sit-in at Numaish chowrangi.

Rizvi added that MQM workers would continue the protest sit-in at Numaish until Hussain addressed them.

Hussain was being investigated for money laundering worth at least 400,000 pounds as well as for incitement to violence and MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq’s murder.

MQM leader Farogh Naseem however said that Hussain had not been arrested and Scotland Yard only needed him for a statement in relation to a case.

Last week, senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar had disclosed at a public meeting that Hussain’s bank accounts in London were being frozen and had asked party workers and supporters to continue their ‘peaceful struggle’ against the British government.

Hussain, who has been living in London for over two decades and is now a British citizen, did not address that meeting held to condemn money-laundering investigations against him by UK authorities.

Search, questioning and possible arrest

Speaking to DawnNews, London-based journalist Farooq Shah said Hussain had been arrested and the police was searching his house.

He added that the British High Commission had told the Pakistani government that if they take action against Hussain, it would be with full evidence.

Shah moreover said that if proven guilty for committing a crime in the UK, the guilty person would not be able to leave the country and would be penalised in Great Britain only.

He, however, insisted that evidence against the accused must be strong enough to merit action.

Jaffer Rizvi of the BBC said if people arrests someone, it’s a long process. They may even have arrested him for a statement only and may let him go after 24 hours.

He said he is trying to find out if Hussain was called for a statement only or if he had indeed been arrested.

Rizvi said the police hadn’t named Hussain and had only said that a 60-year-old man had been arrested.

He said the police in London must have strong evidence on Hussain, adding that the development would have a strong impact on Pakistan’s politics and economy.

Also read: The UK news programme that took on MQM

In July 2013, the London Metropolitan Police had confirmed that investigations against Hussain had been initiated on charges of money laundering and incitement to violence.

The Metropolitan Police had confirmed that ‘a considerable amount of money’ had been found during raids on Hussain’s residence and office in London.

The reply had said that the cash was found when a counter-terrorism unit of police raided Hussain’s office on Dec 6, 2012 under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act in connection with the investigation of Dr Imran Farooq murder case.

Police had at the time said that the money was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Comments (96) Closed

Umar Jun 03, 2014 01:39pm

I hope our country too learns a lesson from the british authorities in general and their law enforcement institutions in particular so that justice may prevail!

Raza Jun 03, 2014 01:42pm

May justice be done.

Harmony Jun 03, 2014 01:50pm

So, now we know why he suddenly wanted a Pakistani passport after all these years

Anon Jun 03, 2014 01:54pm

Expect Karachi to be hit by unknown assailants. This will be purely coincidental.

Amir Mahmood Jun 03, 2014 01:55pm

Practical example of nobody is above the law. They got him for minor charges for now.

Munaeem Jamal Jun 03, 2014 01:56pm

It will open a Pandora Box. Wait and see.

Ali Ibrahim Jun 03, 2014 01:58pm

This will open a Pandora's Box into the activities this gentleman was involved in. Good riddance. Stay safe Karachi!

Danish Alam Jun 03, 2014 01:59pm

Another London drama. Another legal action. Another Karachi shutdown. More loss of business. Nothing new. I can only hope "may justice be done".

Shahid Ali Jun 03, 2014 02:01pm

When will Pakistan Police learn lessons and arrest corrupt politicians of Pakistan

Parvez Jun 03, 2014 02:14pm

.....but he is a British national......and has been for 23 his own choice.

Abdul Malik Jun 03, 2014 02:16pm

As much as it will hurt Karachi's political & economic scene, it was about time this man, Altaf Hussain, got arrested and proper detail investigation conducted by the British authorities, responsibility fixed and if found guilty, justice is served.

T.A. Khan Jun 03, 2014 02:17pm

Very good step by London Police

bruce Jun 03, 2014 02:19pm

may justice be done finally!!!

imtiaz Jun 03, 2014 02:32pm

Pakistani politicians will not take asylum in UK again.

Scotland Yard does not make dry runs.

imdadali Jun 03, 2014 02:32pm

very sad news, we condemn this arrest of a leader of MQM if he was arrested.

khuma Jun 03, 2014 02:37pm

Unlike Pakistan there is no body above the law. Let's wait to witness the outcome of all legal process of that country.

asia Jun 03, 2014 02:39pm

how is city now? are mobile phones working?

shuaib Jun 03, 2014 02:41pm

UK police, you have done something which we even could not imagine here.

Saba Jun 03, 2014 03:34pm

Lets see now, whats gonna happen' More losses & shutdown' that's all we can expect after this news' more political instability.

Pakistani Jun 03, 2014 03:35pm

We appreciate the diligent efforts of Scotland Yard for serving the justice.

Adnan Anwar Jun 03, 2014 04:16pm

He should be tried like any other money launderer no special treatment.

Shehzad Zafar Jun 03, 2014 04:23pm

God save Altaf Hussain.

khanm Jun 03, 2014 04:24pm

let us wait.... don't jump on conclusion...premature to say any thing at this time...

Syed Jun 03, 2014 04:38pm

We really need to learn from this, nobody is above law. The British High Commission doesn't feel it appropriate to comment on this issue. Karachi is not a barren land, I am expecting some fresh leadership from Karachi.

Naeem Jun 03, 2014 04:40pm

It is a Sad News that Altaf Hussain has been arrested in London, not because of who he is but because he belong to our leadership community and he is one the representative of 180 million Pakistanis.

Rafay Jun 03, 2014 05:18pm

This is what TRUE Democracy is - Same Law for EVERYONE -

Khalid Chaudhry Jun 03, 2014 05:33pm

@Ali Ibrahim True that....

Khalid Chaudhry Jun 03, 2014 05:34pm

@Abdul Malik Agreed.

SyedA Jun 03, 2014 05:35pm

I dont understand why the MQM is denying the truth. The UK Metropolitan Police Press Bureau has stated the following as updated today:

Officers have this morning, Tuesday 3 June arrested a 60-year-old man [C] on suspicion of money laundering.

The arrest took place at a residential address in northwest London.

He has since been taken into custody at a central London police station and enquiries continue.

Officers are at present searching the address.

Not prepared to discuss further at this stage.

SyedA Jun 03, 2014 05:36pm

The UK police is free anyone can go on their website and check the press release regarding this!

Ali Jun 03, 2014 05:46pm

@Harmony you are so naive

Hasan Jun 03, 2014 05:47pm

@Shahid Ali " NEVER " !!!

Ashok Pandey Jun 03, 2014 05:53pm


Ali Jun 03, 2014 05:58pm

I wonder what took this so long. MQM supporters please chill and use your resources for justice instead. I hope justice is served

Adil Farooq Jun 03, 2014 06:06pm

Kudos to Scotland yard

Murtaza Jun 03, 2014 06:11pm

@Naeem are you really serious?

MA Jun 03, 2014 06:14pm

@Naeem He doesn't represent 180 million people of Pakistan.

Mustafa Jun 03, 2014 06:16pm

So, it took England two decades to arrest him.

farzana Jun 03, 2014 06:17pm

@Ali I hope the out come is in the interest of Pakistan.

Khalid Jun 03, 2014 06:35pm

God save Altaf

Naeem Jun 03, 2014 07:16pm

Yahoo. Good news.

Arisha G Jun 03, 2014 07:25pm

Those STILL in denial, please check the BBC dot Co dot UK front page.

and listen to Sajjad Ali's song from yesteryear......

Maliha Jun 03, 2014 07:38pm

Scotland Yard you are now at a different level of respect and awe in the eyes of majority of Pakistanis. You have done what we Pakistanis could not even dream of!

salim Jun 03, 2014 08:05pm

@Syed this maybe a silver lining that MQM is seeing as a dark cloud. Once new leadership arises,it could become Pakistan's salvation.

Aftab Ahmed Shah Jun 03, 2014 08:13pm

Let us hope good sense prevails among followers & activists of MQM and Karachi and it's residents stay safe. Arrest of a person on well investigated charges must not be a cause of any concern or unrest. We should all be patient and see how things unfold. If arrested person is innocent he shall be released honorably & if found guilty must face wrath of justice. He has always proclaimed rule of law and his followers must let it happen and respect the verdict whatever it may be.

syed Jun 03, 2014 08:13pm

We karachites want former police chief Shahid Hyat to come again to clean this city as london police did!

Beck Jun 03, 2014 08:14pm

whatever you do comes back to bite you, so be carefull what you do!

Bea Jun 03, 2014 08:31pm

@Shehzad Zafar dont worry he will be looked after well in jail.

Riaz Khoso Jun 03, 2014 08:39pm

May justice be done.

Progressive Jun 03, 2014 08:42pm

My question to the trouble makers in Karachi is why are you burning buses in Karachi?

razoo Jun 03, 2014 08:47pm

@Parvez In which case, he has to face British justice. He chose to become a British citizen of his own choice!!!

Imran Jun 03, 2014 09:02pm

Truth should prevail. We trust in British security and Judiciary system. we believe that justice will be done.

Dr. Sehar Khan Jun 03, 2014 09:11pm

Altaf Hussain is the only Pakistani leader who openly condemn braze brutality against against minorties of Pakistan.

Malik Jun 03, 2014 09:28pm

This government adviser to PM said that government of Pakistan would bear expenses for his legal defense? How did you figure out that he needs money for his legal defense? They have plenty of money. A person who is accused of money laundering and this accusation has been level many times by our own politicians and people---does not need money from the tax payers account. The British system is well heeled for delivering justice. They know what to do, they are not Karachi police. Let him face the music. Please don't get involved the tax payers money because it is an issue where Pakistan as a nation is involved. Mr. Siddiqui should be fired as he is serving no purpose and the tax payers money be saved for some other productive purpose.

Fahd Siddiqui Jun 03, 2014 09:30pm

He will most probably pay a fine and go back home.

Please don't burn down your own house in protest. We need these buses and streets. Poor people make daily wages or their children go hungry to sleep. Stay calm. Remember you are Muslims and Pakistanis. Be patient.

Muhammad Ahsan Jun 03, 2014 09:35pm

May Allah protect and safe Altaf Hussain. Ameen

independentthinker Jun 03, 2014 10:02pm

Someone gets arrested in London and buses and automobiles get burnt in Karachi, Pakistan! Businesses are shut down and Karachi Stock Exchange takes a dive! Really, why should the country have to pay a price for the wrongdoing of one individual - and why is Pakistan responsible if the U.K. has decided to arrest Altaf Hussein and charge him? This is insanity and I strongly urge our government not to all these thugs to get away. Anyone causing any disturbance in our country on account of this incident be brought to justice. Pakistan cannot afford to be held hostage for other people's wrongdoings!

asif Jun 03, 2014 10:04pm

Hatred towards one community obvious in comments arrest is direct outcome of nisar meeting with British high ups PMlN is famous for victimisation and hates towards its political opponents

independentthinker Jun 03, 2014 10:06pm

@Harmony Hopefully, he will not need his Pakistani passport for a very long time!

Jawad Jun 03, 2014 10:12pm

Good Job Scotland Yard. I hope Pakistani Judiciary and Police will learn some thing from British legal system i-e " Justice for all" .

sattar kingrani Jun 03, 2014 10:12pm

The matter is so sensitive. The government authorities must take strict measures for protection of Karachi. I am afraid, Karachi would be burn. Karachi be cautious.

Burki Jun 03, 2014 10:21pm

"Rizvi added that MQM workers would continue the protest sit-in at Numaish until Hussain addressed them."

now that's funny, staging sit-ins in Pakistan against the "tyranny" of British government? Why not go over to London and try these antics there, huh?

omer khan shaheen Jun 03, 2014 10:50pm

Money laundering happens to be one of issue. I am sure there is more to come, in few days! and to all my friends who are saying it will open up a Pandora box. I say, "let it open! so that justice is served".

Rizwan Jun 03, 2014 10:56pm

If Altaf Hussien can be arrested for money laundering, I expect UK police should also investigate businesses and wealth of Zardaris, Sharifs, and their party members. As a Pakistani, we can justice to be done across all, not only Altaf or Musharraf.

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Jun 03, 2014 11:10pm

Looks like a big conspiracy against MQM.

Very sad news. We people of Karachi highly condemn this arrest. If he was arrested.

Amir Mahmood Jun 03, 2014 11:15pm

It is time for MQM workers and other supporters of Altaf Hussain to be unbiased and open minded to accept the decision of UK judicial system, because they have no grudge against him, after all they gave him British citizenship.

sajjad Jun 03, 2014 11:50pm

we can imagine the result of Pakistan if our justice is fair like this,may be our whole national assembly will loose all MNAs.

Rizwan Mochh Jun 04, 2014 12:18am

In Pakistan powerful politicians are many times called by supreme court; but no flinch on their face. Even they provoke sentiments against their own Judiciary, and nothing is done against them, No law rules Pakistan. No function functioning in Pakistan, every institution is dysfunctional. May God bless you, your people.

SHB Jun 04, 2014 01:37am

@Rizwan Mochh Please comment about the news and not about Pakistan.

SHB Jun 04, 2014 01:39am

@Shahid Ali Can any brave person from police dept comment or answer?

nisar Jun 04, 2014 02:19am

MQM should have realized that they could dictate terms in Pakistan but under British all are answerable including PM. I hope They should stop burning buses and cars in Pakistan as it will make no difference to Scotland and make matter worst for them. I hope sense will prevail instead of arrogance.

Abbas Syed Jun 04, 2014 02:21am

I do not understand Mr. Sattar statement asking MQM membership to continue peaceful struggle against British government. Peaceful struggle against British government for what ? For its law enforcement agency to enforce a law of the land. After all Mr. Hussain was arrested for not the way he spoke or parted his hair but for suspected crime of money laundering.

Me Shocked Jun 04, 2014 03:13am

Me not shocked with this news. He should be given the opportunity to prove his innocence without any outside pressure.

Umair Awesome Jun 04, 2014 03:32am

I think now is the time for the Rangers and Police to catch any one who tries to disrupt the peace of the city. Anyone who carry a weapon on the street should be locked up for two years. Good thing is that Altaf Hussein is being arrested millions of miles away from the reach of our government's and military's influence. Whatever happens is acceptable to us. We all should not worry about it as he is a rich guy and a lawyer will be provided to him tom prove himself. Carry on Karachi. Jo Hota Hai achay kay liye hota hai.

Umair Awesome Jun 04, 2014 03:38am

@Naeem Yeah it is a sad news but the thing is that they must 've had something on him that they went after him. Going after a major leader is no easy task.

Akil Akhtar Jun 04, 2014 05:08am

What does it tell you about a political party when cities in Sindh go into a lock down out of fear every time the Bhai is in trouble....

mohammad shafiq Jun 04, 2014 08:21am

let the legal system work if he is guilty he should be put away and if he is not guilty he should be released.

Khan Jun 04, 2014 08:29am

Why on earth would the MQM protest in Karachi when Altaf is being arrested in London, where Pakistan has nothing to do with it? They may protest in UK only instead of Karachi. They are damaging the economy of Pakistan via a complete shut-down of the city. God knows when the sanity will prevail in these politicians!

M Jun 04, 2014 09:37am

finally some good news. the question i keep asking is how on earth UK allows their national to run a political party in pakistan and incite its people towards unrest? would they allow a pakistan national living in pakistan to run a political party in UK and do the same?

Peter Jun 04, 2014 09:41am

Better late than never, good work London Police. You at last have arrested a man on whose hands is the blood of tens of thousands of innocent Pakistani citizens of every ethnic group and not to mention its own members who dared be moderate. Though you have done it a bit too late after getting Britain's image much tarnished by looking the other way for too long, therefore, in order to compensate make absolutely no leniency with him under any consideration, please - if at all you have any respect for UK's values in general and would like to save GB's face in the global village in particular, for, world is still looking down upon this country in the wake of Mr B.liar's blunderous collusion in Iraq. Get his British citizenship revoked in the first place - he simply doesn't deserve it.

Peter Jun 04, 2014 09:45am

@Munaeem Jamal London is not Karachi, Mr.Jamal

Peter Jun 04, 2014 09:46am

@Ali Ibrahim You are very much correct, Ali.

Khan Jun 04, 2014 10:00am

@Rizwan Zardari & Sharif are pakistani citizen Uk Police can't investigate them property...

nusrat rafik Jun 04, 2014 10:04am

i hope justice will be done, and he will be punished

Nazir Ahmed Jun 04, 2014 10:34am

British government has its own interests. British government has been supporting him for last two decades. You will see he will soon be set free.

Mirza Jun 04, 2014 12:20pm

Justice just be served !

Azhar Jun 04, 2014 02:04pm

@asif Looks like you are also drunk and don't know what you are talking, like your great leader.

Kabeer Jun 04, 2014 06:21pm

I hope now British Police and Scotland Yard will also take action against the powerful corrupt politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats etc who have hoarded billions of pounds in British banks looted from Pakistani nation as they have shown action against the leader of middle class population of Pakistan

Muhammad Farooq Khan Jun 05, 2014 12:24am

Salam. As per UK laws Altaf Hussain have a right to release on bail on the basis of his Medical Conditions and age. As well as on the basis of his cooperation with the Police.

Tariq Nawaz Jun 05, 2014 07:12am

@Maliha Yes I agree. Police there is obsolutely independent and they will take it to it's logical conclusion.

Salim A Jun 05, 2014 06:42pm

He is probably in a better country if he is hoping to get justice. In Pakistan, he would be garlanded, take part in a parade and make speeches. We shower people with rose petals and sweets who are accused of crimes. The shops in London will stay open while we torch, buses, public and private property in Karachi.

Salim A Jun 05, 2014 06:47pm

Qisas and Diyat are not part of UK's justice system.

Only in Muslim countries where the rich can either pay or intimidate the other side to get out of facing justice for their crimes. Send Shahrukh Jatoi, Siraj Talpur, to UK to face justice for killing Shahzeb Khan.

Salim A Jun 05, 2014 06:58pm

A British citizen is arrested and Karachi, goes under lock down and fear??? What a peaceful country!!!

Guest Jun 06, 2014 02:24pm

history did not forgive anyone

justics Jun 06, 2014 03:30pm

@nusrat rafik: when you've made your opinion that really did what he is accused of, how could you pray for justice?

bias Jun 06, 2014 03:40pm

@asif absolutely correct asif! you are point on.