The Metropolitan Police are investigating allegations that the London-based leader of a Pakistani political party made threats of violence against opposition activists in Karachi during a recent election rally.
Altaf Hussain, the leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), reportedly made the threats during an election rally in Edgware on 14 May after reports from Karachi of demonstrations against the MQM for alleged electoral fraud during the 11 May general election in Pakistan.
Hussain was quoted as saying: "Those people who are protesting - and grandstanding - near Three Swords (monument in Karachi) - I don't want to fight or quarrel, but if I order my supporters now, they will go to Three Swords and turn them into a reality. MQM is blamed for everything. I say, oppose us with respect and decency, and with proof, otherwise I will soon unleash my supporters."
The MQM won 18 of 19 national assembly seats in Karachi. However, the victory was immediately subject to accusations of vote rigging and electoral fraud, particularly from the second-placed Movement for Justice Party led by Imran Khan.
Amid the accusations, Hussain also told the crowd in London that should his party’s victory in the election not stand, Karachi would be forced to "separate" from Pakistan.
A day after the rally in London, Zahra Shahid Hussain, 60, a senior vice president of the PTI was gunned down in the city, in a killing Khan immediately blamed on MQM and Altaf Hussain.
A partial re-run of the vote nevertheless resulted in Mr Khan's PTI gaining its first seat from Karachi which has long been an MQM stronghold.
Mr Hussain has denied all allegations against him and said his comments at the rally in London were taken out of context.
The MQM boasts more than 18 million supporters in Karachi with Mr Hussain controlling affairs from his base in Edgware, West London.
He has lived in London since 1991 saying that he would be killed if he were to return to Pakistan.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS