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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 04/06/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) British police said only that a 60-year-old man had been detained at a residential address in northwest london and officers were searching the building.

muttahida qaumi movement (mqm) chief altaf hussain was arrested on tuesday in london on charges of money laundering.

british police said only that a 60-year-old man had been detained at a residential address in northwest london and officers were searching the building.

“officers have this morning arrested a 60-year-old man on suspicion of money-laundering” a metropolitan police statement said.

panic gripped the sprawling metropolis of 18 million people soon after local television broadcast the reports. angry protesters torched at least a dozen vehicles including buses rickshaws and cars according to rescue officials.

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 said that all trains leaving karachi had been temporarily halted.

the mqm’s parliamentary leader inside pakistan meanwhile appealed to party workers to remain calm and pray for altaf.

“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 dr farooq 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.

senior figures in the mqm appealed for calm following reports of altaf’s arrest in london.

“we appeal to all our supporters to remain peaceful calm and united” khawaja izhar ul hassan a senior mqm politician said. “wediscourage any illegal activity” he added.

british officials said they had temporarily closed their deputy high commission in the city as karachi police strengthened security in the city’s diplomatic enclave.

“we have tightened the security of the consulates especially of the british” said city police chief ghulam qadir thebo.

altaf was being investigated in three cases for alleged money laundering worth at least £600000; for incitement to violence through incendiary speeches and murder of an estranged mqm leader dr imran farooq.

the firebrand mqm leader whose party has uncontested sway over urban sindh particularly country’s financial hub karachi and second biggest city of sindh province hyderabad has been living in self-exile in united kingdom for last 22 years. he acquired british nationality and ran the party through tv speeches which randomly ran for hours commanding allegiance of millions of urdu speaking migrants from india.

in july 2013 the london metropolitan police had confirmed that investigations against altaf 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 altaf’s residence and office in london when a counter-terrorism unit of police raided his office on december 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. one report from london said that altaf was being shifted to a hospital for treatment when the metropolitan london police arrested him on tuesday morning. legal experts said the tough money-laundering laws in the uk prescribe jail term ranging from two to 14 years.

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with inputs from afp

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