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Posts Tagged Karachi Murder Inc Head Altaf Hussain

ARCHIVES: UK GOVT HELPLESS: Imran Khan blames London-based rival Altaf Hussain for Zahra Shahid Hussain killing

Imran Khan blames London-based rival for Zahra Shahid Hussain killing

Imran Khan has blamed the British government and a political rival living in London for the murder of a senior member of his party, shot dead as she left her home in the sprawling port city of Karachi.

Zahra Shahid Hussain: Imran Khan blames London-based rival for Zahra Shahid Hussain killing

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Imran Khan blames London-based rival for Zahra Shahid Hussain (R) killing 
 
 
 

The killing of Zahra Shahid Hussain and accusations of vote rigging left Pakistan’s biggest city and its economic capital on a knife edge as people turned out for a re-run of voting in one constituency after last weekend’s general election.

Mr Khan, the former cricket star whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party made gains in the election, vented his anger on twitter.

He said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the city’s dominant political force, and its leader were to blame – a claim the party has strongly denied.

“I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts,” he wrote, describing the killing as “a targeted act of terror”.

He added that the British government was also responsible for failing to heed his warnings about Mr Hussain, who has held a UK passport since being given political asylum in the 1990s.

Mr Khan is expected to leave hospital this week after fracturing six vertebrae when he fell 15ft from a forklift truck during the campaign. Doctors say he will make a full recovery

Members of Mr Khan’s party said Mrs Hussain, 59, was shot dead by gunmen as she left her home in the smart Defence neighbourhood.

Police said it appeared to be a bungled robbery – a common enough occurrence in the violence-ridden city.

Other reports suggested she received two bullets to the head suggesting she had been assassinated.

Mr Hussain also condemned the attack in a statement and demanded a “judicial inquiry to get to the culprits”.

The accusations will refocus attention on Mr Hussain and his role in running the world’s third biggest city from his drab political headquarters on Edgware High Street.

Tensions have been running high between the PTI and the MQM after Mr Khan’s party accused it of widespread vote-rigging. The MQM has denied the charge and boycotted Sunday’s re-run.

The febrile atmosphere has reached London, where the Metropolitan Police is investigating complaints from Pakistan that Mr Hussain made an inflammatory speech in the aftermath of the election results.

In it he rebutted complaints that the MQM had rigged elections, appeared to threaten protesters and suggested Karachi should separate from Pakistan if the party’s electoral mandate were questioned.

“Those people who are protesting – and grandstanding – near Three Swords – 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,” he said referring to a well-known monument.

Mr Hussain’s telephonic rallies regularly draw crowds of thousands, as he revs up party supporters from 5000 miles away.

He can just as easily close the city of 23m people by declaring a “shutter-down strike”, sending the entire population scuttling home in minutes.

His sector commanders, as they are known, keep a tight rein on their neighbourhoods and the city has a terrible reputation for gangland violence, as gangsters, terrorist groups and political parties manoeuvre for control.

Reporters who cross the party have found bullets left on their cars.

In 2010, one of the key figures in his London party was murdered raising fears that Karachi’s brutal politics had reached the UK. No-one has ever been charged with the murder of Imran Farooq but detectives have focused their investigation on his political ambitions.

Mr Hussain’s continuing presence in London is a frequent source of anger for Pakistanis who do not support his party.

“Why does Britain let him stay when with he has so much power to make or break my city,” said one Karachi resident, who asked not to be named. “If he wants to run Karachi he should come and live here.”

Nawaz Sharif was returned to power in last Saturday’s general election for a third stint as Pakistan’s prime minister.

Monitors said the polls were marred by inefficiency and technical problems but were largely free of systematic rigging.

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