Altaf Hussain
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MQM founder Altaf Hussain arrested in London

The Metropolitan Police of London arrested Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain on Tuesday as part of an investigation into provocative speech three years ago in which he urged his followers to “take the law in their hands”.

The Scotland Yard said in a statement that a man in his sixties had been arrested after a joint investigation with Pakistani authorities “in connection with … a number of speeches made by an individual associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Pakistan”.

The statement did not identify Hussain by name but BBC Urdu quoted Hussain’s spokesman Qasim Raza as confirming that he had been taken in for questioning. Geo News also reported that on the authority of it sources that the MQM founder had been arrested.

The MQM leader was “arrested at an address in northwest London”, according to the Met police statement. “He was detained under PACE [Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984] and taken to a south London police station, where he currently remains in police custody,” the Yard said.

The MQM founder had delivered a fiery speech via telephone to a party gathering outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on August 22, 2016 after which party workers chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and then vandalised a media office nearby.

“The investigation, which is being led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, 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,” said the statement.

“He was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. As part of the investigation, officers are carrying out a search at the northwest London address,” the Met statement continued.

Section 44 relates to ‘Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence’ or intending to encourage or assist in the commission of an offence. The PACE codes of practice regulate police powers and protect public rights, according to the British laws.