Pakistan MQM leader Altaf Hussain was arrested in London on hate speech charges Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain was arrested by Scotland Yard on Tuesday morning in London as arrests of politicians continue in Pakistan.

He has been reportedly interrogated at the police station whereas a forensic unit of Scotland Yard is searching his residence, Pakistan’s local media reported. MQM sources have also confirmed his arrest to media.

He has been arrested in relation to the hate speech of 2016 after which Pakistan had sought assistance from British authorities, asking them to take action against Hussain for “inciting people of Pakistan to violence” that led to violent protests and attack on media offices.

Scotland Yard statement

A statement from London’s Metropolitan Police said a man was arrested on Tuesday without naming Hussain.

“The man, who is aged in his 60s, was arrested at an address in north west London. He was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.” He was detained under PACE [Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984] and taken to a south London police station.

“As part of the investigation, officers are carrying out a search at the north west London address” while detectives are also searching a separate commercial address in north west London, the statement said.

Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are leading the investigation, which is “focused on a speech broadcast in August 2016 by an individual associated with the MQM movement in Pakistan as well as other speeches previously broadcast by the same person.”

“Throughout the investigation, officers have been liaising with Pakistani authorities in relation to our ongoing enquiries.”

In April 2019, the London Metropolitan Police team visited Pakistan to interview key witnesses and collect evidence in connection with Hussain case.