Altaf_Hussain_670
MQM Chief Altaf Hussain.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The London Metropolitan police Wednesday launched an investigation against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain following complaints by hundreds of British and Pakistani citizens.

“Yes, we have started investigation against him on hundreds of complaints we have received,” metropolitan police spokesman Richard Jones told Dawn.com.

He said the police was in process of collecting evidence.

The London police have dispatched text of Hussain’s speech to the home department for translation in English.

“We would see what course of action should be taken once we get all the evidence,” said Jones.

Earlier in the day, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson told newsmen that the London police department had been "flooded" with complaints regarding Hussain's statements.

“We are well aware of Altaf Hussain’s remarks immediately after the election.  We received quite a number of representations on them.  More to the point, the London Metropolitan Police have been flooded with complaints from both Pakistani and British citizens about those remarks,” said Thomson.

In a speech televised across various media channels Sunday night , Altaf Hussain demanded to separate Karachi from the rest of Pakistan if the public mandate of his party was not acceptable to the 'establishment.' However, Hussain's party later clarified saying it was taken out of context.

“What we say is that wherever somebody has a concern that hatred or violence is being incited, that one community or another is being turned against others, this should be reported to the police. And I know that they take such allegations very, very seriously indeed,” Thomson said.

He added that the London police was independent to investigate the complaints and was under no pressure from the UK government.

He, however, observed that Altaf had later denied making such statements.

“It may be that they were never said or they have been retracted. But as far as the United Kingdom is concerned, we have very strong laws which are enforced on that prohibit the incitement to violence or incitement of hatred.  And we take these laws seriously.”

Responding to another query about extradition, the British High Commissioner said that that Pakistan and United Kingdom have no formal extradition treaty. He said that extradition “is complicated in the UK Pakistan case as there is no extradition treaty.  It doesn’t make it impossible, but it does make it quite difficult.”

Shahzad Raza contributed to reporting. His twitter handle is @shahz79

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