British MP: There is ‘ample evidence’ against Hussain

British MP: There is ‘ample evidence’ against Hussain
There is much hue and cry over Pakistani politician Alt​a​af Hussain’s arrest in London. But British MP, George Galloway, says in a DW interview that Hussain must pay the price for ‘his crimes.’ Altaf Hussain was arrested by the British police in London on Tuesday, June 3, on suspicion of money-laundering.

Galloway: ‘The majority of Pakistanis are happy that Hussain has been arrested’

George Galloway, a British Member of Parliament, has been campaigning for Hussain’s arrest for many years. He even set up a fund to start a legal case against Hussain. In a DW interview, Galloway explains why he thinks Hussain should be sent back to Pakistan.
Deutsche Welle (DW): What were your initial reactions to Hussain’s arrest?
George Galloway: I was very happy that he had been arrested. At the same time, I feel sorry and fearful for the people of Karachi. The angry reaction to his detention in Hussain’s political stronghold Karachi is worrying. For a long time, I have been concerned about Hussain’s activities in London. I shared it with other members of the British parliament during the previous government. I told them that Altaf Hussain was Karachi’s godfather, who had been exercising his power from London to promote terrorism in his home country.
A year ago, I demanded that the government prosecute Altaf Hussain and said I would otherwise bring forth a private investigation. But the authorities ensured me that the police investigation of the MQM’s leader’s activities was serious and would lead to the kind of development we saw this week.
DW: Do you think the British police should have arrested him earlier?
GG: Yes. There is ample evidence of his crimes in every single speech he makes from London to Karachi via telephone. In his speeches, he incites violence and threatens his opponents openly. I wish the British authorities would have arrested him earlier.
DW: Hussain has been accused of much bigger crimes than money-laundering such as the murder of his aide Imran Farooq. Shouldn’t he have been arrested for these allegations?
GG: Well, the murder inquiry is ongoing. Don’t forget Al Capone, the American gangster – he was held on tax evasion charges, albeit he was involved in more serious crimes. The same is true for Altaf Hussain. I believe the murder inquiry may lead to charges against several people.
DW: What role did you play in Hussain’s arrest?
GG: The political pressure I exerted, particularly in the past year, created an atmosphere where the authorities became confident to take action.
DW: Why did you get involved in this in the first place?
GG: For the past two years, I have represented the Bradford West constituency in parliament. The area has tens of thousands of British citizens of Pakistani origin. Also, I have a long association with Pakistan. The Pakistani government has conferred two of the country’s highest civil awards on me. What happens in Pakistan matters to me. I am also concerned about the honor of my own country, and I believe that Britain did the wrong thing by harbouring Hussain.
DW: Why do you think Hussain should not be allowed to stay in the UK? He is a British citizen after all.
The British government changed the law for glass-eyed Islamic preacher Abu Hamza and it has the power to revoke people’s passports. They should do the same in Altaf Hussain’s case.
DW: Will the arrest have an impact on British-Pakistani relations?
GG: I think the majority of Pakistanis are happy that Hussain has been arrested. The political leadership, however, doesn’t feel the same, and people are questioning it in Pakistan. It is strange that Pakistan’s political parties, with the exception of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-i-Insaaf, have reacted sympathetically towards Altaf Hussain in the aftermath of his detention. Perhaps, some of them now fear that they might be next to be investigated by Britain for their enormous wealth in the UK.
DW: Is there a possibility that British authorities might release him because of diplomatic ties with Pakistan?
GG: No, now he is a British citizen and he must face charges under the British law for offences committed in Britain.
DW: Do you think Hussain’s arrest is the beginning of a long trial against him?
GG: Now when the authorities are able to question the Pakistani leader properly, I am confident that police will follow the proper legal procedure. The maximum penalty for money-launder​​ing in Britain is 14 years in prison.
DW: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on June 4 that Altaf Hussain’s arrest was a legal matter, and that his government was extending its “legal and moral assistance” to the detained leader. Have there been any attempts made by Islamabad to get him released? 
GG: The statement by Sharif is bizarre. It is sadly degrading for Pakistan that its premier made such a statement.
The interview was conducted by Qurratulain Zaman in London.
Date 06.06.2014

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