KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Friday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of five leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) absconding in an alleged money laundering case against their party founder Altaf Hussain and others.

The MQM chief along with other party leaders, including former federal minister Babar Ghauri, former senator Ahmed Ali, Karachi Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra, Khawaja Sohail Mansoor and Khawaja Rehan have been booked in a case pertaining to alleged money laundering.

On Friday, the matter was fixed before the antiterrorism court-II judge.

The judge issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of five absconding suspects — former federal minister Babar Ghauri, former senator Ahmed Ali, now Karachi Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra, Khawaja Sohail Mansoor and Khawaja Rehan.

The judge directed investigating officer Ghulam Mustafa Rahu of the Federal Investigation Agency counterterrorism wing to arrest and produce them before the court on Nov 12 and adjourned the matter.

On Oct 6 the court directed the IO to submit the interior ministry’s notification regarding purported transfer of the case to another antiterrorism court in Islamabad.

The FIA had booked Altaf Hussain in October 2017 — a year after the British investigators had dropped the same probe against him because of “insufficient evidence”.

On a complaint of UK-based businessman Sarfaraz Mer­chant, a case was registered against the London-based MQM supremo in Pakistan.

In a progress report submitted to the court on the last date, the FIA counterterrorism wing had disclosed that 69 accounts of the MQM, Altaf Hussain and others had been detected abroad and record of the same had been requisitioned through the Foreign Office. “The reply is still awaited,” it added.

The report stated that during an investigation it transpired that the money was collected from people through extortion and ransom and deposited in bank accounts of the KKF.

The KKF’s books have been taken into custody during a raid and scrutinised, the report claimed adding that it had been found that Rs1.32 billion was collected through these books during 2013-14-15 and the amount was also deposited through bank transactions in KKF accounts.

“These amounts were further transferred to personal accounts of the trustees of the KKF, MQM accounts and other firms and subsequently those amounts were sent abroad to the accounts of the MQM UK, Simon and Simons in the UK and other accounts, including personal accounts of trustees,” it stated.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2018

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