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Sporadic violence in Karachi after MQM chief’s arrest


Islamabad, June 3 :

Unidentified persons torched four vehicles in the Pakistani commercial hub of Karachi Tuesday following the arrest of MQM leader Altaf Hussain in London on money laundering charges.

Altaf Hussain, MQM chief
Altaf Hussain, MQM chief

Altaf Hussain, the self-exiled leader of the Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), who lives in London, was taken into custody Tuesday by Scotland Yard, Xinhua reported.

Reports earlier suggested that Hussain, 60, was being investigated for money laundering to the tune of nearly 400,000 pounds.

The British consulate in Karachi has also been closed and sources said that the foreign staff members had left the city earlier.

“We are seriously concerned at the police raid on the house of our leader. The action is beyond understanding,” Xinhua quoted MQM leader Farooq Sattar as saying in Karachi.

He said Hussain has not committed any crime and the MQM will opt for legal battle.

He also asked the MQM’s activists to remain calm and avoid any violence.

As the news of Hussain’s arrest was received in Karachi, shopkeepers started closing shops.

Police said miscreants also torched at least eight passenger buses in different parts of Karachi.

A massive traffic jam was also witnessed on main roads as people hurried home to avoid any untoward incidents.

Police also reported some attacks on government offices and shops.

Long queues were seen at fuel stations as vehicle owners feared the protests could disrupt life in the city.

The MQM, however, denied its involvement in the violence.

Security was tightened in sensitive areas of the city.

A section of the media reported that the Karachi Stock Exchange ( KSE-100 index) fell 180 points immediately after the news was received in the city.