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PPP leader may help British probe against MQM chief

Last Updated: Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 17:35

Karachi: A sudden visit to London by senior Pakistan People`s Party leader Zulfiqar Mirza has triggered speculation that he plans to help British police in their probe against MQM chief Altaf Hussain, accused of involvement in money laundering.

Sources in Mirza?s family were quoted on the website of the Dawn newspaper as saying that he would meet Scotland Yard officials in the next few days.

Mirza, who has settled with his family in Dubai, flew to London after he was contacted by British officials, the report said.

British police are investigating allegations that Hussain was involved in money laundering and inciting violence in Karachi, Pakistan`s largest city. Mirza, who was once close to President Asif Ali Zardari, has served as Home Minister of Sindh province.

Zardari, currently in London, telephoned Mirza and requested him not to meet British investigators but Mirza refused to abide by the President?s advice, Dawn.Com reported.

Scotland Yard officials have reportedly requested Mirza to produce evidence he had offered to present against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Hussain in 2011.

The ongoing investigation against Hussain, confirmed by a BBC news programme, has caused widespread unrest and tension in Karachi. The BBC reported that 400,000 pounds were found during raids on Hussain`s home and a MQM office in London.

The MQM has been a dominant force in Karachi since the 1990s. In the recent general election, the MQM won a majority of parliamentary and provincial assembly seats in Karachi.

Mirza resigned as vice president of PPP?s Sindh chapter and as a member of the Sindh Assembly following a spat with the MQM, which was earlier a partner in coalitions led by the PPP at the centre and in Sindh. Mirza had accused the MQM and its chief of involvement in target killings and other heinous crimes.

Senior MQM leaders have hit back at the allegations against their leader, describing them as an international conspiracy to defame Hussain.

Political and security analysts remain concerned about a possible backlash in Karachi if British authorities formally charge Hussain, who has been living in London for over two decades.
Some MQM leaders have indicated that it would be difficult for them to control party supporters and workers if any case is made against Hussain. In the past, the MQM has shown its street power and dominance in Karachi and other cities and towns of Sindh by organising strikes or other protests.
A senior leader of the Karachi business community, who did not want to be named, said he hoped the Pakistan government would be able to tackle the situation diplomatically and legally as the port city is the country`s economic lifeline and could not cope with more closures and strikes.


First Published: Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 17:34

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