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Pakistan asks UK to take legal action against party leader

Associated Press Associated Press 31/08/2016 By ASIF SHAHZAD, Associated Press
FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 file photo, Pakistani paramilitary forces remove a poster of Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Pakistan's Ministry of Interior said it has written a formal request to London to seek legal action against Hussain. A ministry statement says the government sent a dossier on Hussain to U.K. authorities on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, with allegations of inciting violence and disturbing law and order in Pakistan. (AP Photo/Pervez Masih, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 file photo, Pakistani paramilitary forces remove a poster of Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Pakistan's Ministry of Interior said it has written a formal request to London to seek legal action against Hussain. A ministry statement says the government sent a dossier on Hussain to U.K. authorities on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, with allegations of inciting violence and disturbing law and order in Pakistan. (AP Photo/Pervez Masih, File)

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has requested that Britain take action against a self-exiled party leader who delivered a speech by phone last week that ignited rioting in Karachi, Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

Islamabad sent a dossier on Altaf Hussain to U.K. authorities on Tuesday, alleging that he had incited violence and disturbed law and order, the statement said, adding that Hussain has violated both British and international laws.

In a separate statement, it said Foreign Minister Nisar Ali Khan had met with British High Commissioner Thomas Drew. It did not say whether they discussed Hussain.

Hussain is a British national and the founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, which has long dominated politics in the southern city of Karachi.

The secular party represents ethnic Mohajirs — those who fled to Pakistan from India during the 1947 partition. Its supporters have staged violent protests and clashed with political rivals and police in the past.

Hussain delivered an anti-government speech last week via telephone to his supporters, who then chanted "Down with Pakistan" and ransacked three television stations. One person was killed in the ensuing clashes with security forces. Hussain later apologized in a statement, saying he was under mental stress during the speech.

Public prosecutor Mushtaq Jahanghri says Hussain faces charges in two cases: for encouraging his supporters to "wage war against Pakistan" and for inciting them to damage public property. He said 45 MQM leaders and supporters, including three women, appeared in court where a judge ordered them detained pending trial.

Pakistani security forces have arrested dozens of MQM supporters and sealed and demolished many of the party's offices. Portraits of Hussain have been removed from Karachi's streets and MQM offices.

The party leadership in Pakistan has disassociated itself from Hussain, promising that the party won't be run from London anymore. Hussain has lived in self-imposed exile in London for years.

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Associated Press writer Adil Jawad in Karachi, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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