LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain got an extension in bail from London’s Southwark police station on Monday in the money laundering case. His bail was due to expire today.Altaf Hussain was accompanied by close aides including Muhammad Anwar, Barrister Saif and Farooq Sattar.The MQM leader earlier left his Edgeware residence accompanied by associates identified as Muhammad Anwar, Barrister Saif and Farooq Sattar, DawnNews reported.
Altaf Hussain will first be given a medical checkup. If he is healthy enough to answer questions, London police will begin questioning him.If his answers are satisfactory, it is possible that his bail may be further extended. However, if his responses are inadequate, Altaf Hussain may be charged and sent to jail.As money laundering is considered a serious offence in the United Kingdom, imprisonment could range from anywhere between six months to 10 years, depending on the amount of money laundered.
The MQM supremo was arrested on June 3, 2014 during the course of a money laundering investigation initiated in July 2013 by the London Metropolitan Police, prompting thousands of people in Karachi to stage a sit-in calling for his release.
He was then shifted to Wellington Hospital over health concerns and underwent angiography and other tests. Having been discharged from the hospital, Hussain was taken to the Southwark police station where he was questioned for nine hours.He was released on bail four days after his arrest in 2014, and granted four bail extensions,
During their investigations, the London Metropolitan Police had discovered ‘a considerable amount of money’ during raids on Hussain’s residence and office in London.A statement from the police 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 Imran Farooq murder case.mran Farooq, one of MQM’s founding members and a confidant of Hussain, was murdered in London in 2010.Pakistani authorities arrested three suspects in connection with the murder earlier in 2015. Mohsin Ali was arrested along with another accused, Khalid Shamim, by the Frontier Corps in Balochistan about three months ago.
Moazzam Ali was arrested by law-enforcement agencies in Karachi this year. He was accused of arranging tickets, visa and finances for the UK visit of Mohsin and another suspect, Kashif. The whereabouts of Kashif are not known and he is rumoured to be dead.
A Scotland Yard team had been given access to all the three accused and the team had concluded investigations inside Pakistan in September.However, no decision has been taken as yet to hand over the suspects to the United Kingdom, the Interior Ministry had said last month.On Sept 16, the fifth anniversary of Imran Farooq’s murder, London’s Metropolitan police reaffirment its commitment for the investigation of the case, saying its detectives “remain committed to finding those responsible”.In a summary published on its official website, the Scotland Yard shared details of progress in the murder investigation.
In July, First-Information Reports were registered in different parts of the country against Altaf Hussain for alleged remarks made by him against the chief of Rangers in Sindh and the paramilitary force in recent speeches.In the FIRs, Hussain was accused of involvement in cases of criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting or abetting the waging of war against Pakistan and committing acts of terrorism. A number of Pakistani courts have issued arrest warrants for the MQM supremo.
A recent Lahore High Court Order directed a complete media blackout of the MQM supremo’s speeches and forbade display of images of Altaf across electronic media.Living in self-exile for over two decades, Hussain is said to have gained British citizenship in 2002 after leaving Pakistan in the early 1990s when a military operation was launched to end ethnic unrest in Karachi.MQM lawmakers in August tendered resignations from the National assembly, provincial assemblies and the Senate, citing reservations over the Rangers-led Karachi operation.