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Violence In Karachi After Murder Of MQM Leader In London

London/Karachi: Dr Imran Farooq, a leading Pakistani Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) politician living in exile here, was assassinated outside his house in London, triggering protests and total shutdown in Karachi, a stronghold of the party
PTI September 17, 2010 20:12 IST
PTI
London/Karachi: Dr Imran Farooq, a leading Pakistani Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) politician living in exile here, was assassinated outside his house in London, triggering protests and total shutdown in Karachi, a stronghold of the party in Pakistan.

Farooq, a founding member of the MQM, which is part of the ruling alliance in Pakistan was found with head injuries and stab wounds outside his Green lane house in Edgware in north London and Scotland Yard has launched a major murder hunt for his killers.

His death sent shock waves in the port-city of Karachi, where MQM is a major political force, with sporadic cases of violence reported as public transport went off the roads and schools, colleges, shops, commercial establishments and offices downed the shutters, as people mourned the killing.

He is the second top Pakistani MQM leader to have been assassinated in recent weeks. Raza Haidar, another MQM lawmaker was killed last month in Karachi.

 Police and paramilitary forces were out in force to prevent violence in Karachi which has been rocked by political violence as revenge attacks and arson often follow high profile slayings.

London Metropolitan Police said they were called to reports of a serious assault in a lane in north London. "Officers found an Asian man, aged 50, with multiple stab wounds and head injuries. Paramedics treated but who was pronounced dead at 18.37 hours (local time)".

 Announcing his death in the party website, the local MQM spokesman declared ten days of mourning and cancellation of celebrations of the birthday of the Party's founder Altaf Hussain, who also lives here in exile.

 "The police are investigating the crime and are hopeful that the killer will be arrested", a party spokesman said.

"No arrests have been made in connection with the incident so far", police said.

Farooq, was twice elected as a lawmaker of the National Assembly and was also the founding leader of the MQM's youth wing.

Farooq went into hiding when his leader Altaf Hussain came to London in a self-imposed exile following a military crackdown on the party in 1992. He later surfaced in London in 1999 to take political asylum.

However, a couple of years ago Farooq had differences with Hussain and went into obscurity.

His killing comes as the party leader Hussain in recent weeks appeared to suggest that Pakistan's Army should overthrow the civilian government, angering its ruling ally People's Party and its leader Asif Ali Zardari.

The MQM is in running battle with the Taliban as the party represents Mohajirs, a term use for settlers from India. The party cadres often clash with Pashtun speaking settlers in Karachi.

He was wanted over scores of charges including murder and torture. But he had described these charges as "fabricated and politically inspired".

 Farooq told the British paper 'The Daily Telegraph' that he had fled to England after "dead or alive" threats were issued against him.

Expressing shock at his death, MQM leader Altaf Hussain said, "its a great lose. he was a loyal, loyal colleague for the past 32 years. I can never forget this for the rest of my life."

Farooq is survived by his wife Shamail and two sons. PTI