Miliband silent on exiled Pakistan MQM leader


Islamabad : British Foreign Secretary David Miliband chose not to comment on action against Altaf Hussain, the exiled chief of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) charged with "organising mass murders" in Pakistan.

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Miliband "found it convenient to shrug off a query regarding Hussain who is charged with organising mass murders inside Pakistan as was seen on May 12", The News said Friday, referring to the violence that killed nearly 60 people.

Karachi had witnessed daylong rioting when Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, then under suspension, sought to visit the city to address members of the Sindh Bar Association.

Opposition parties have charged that MQM cadres organised the rioting at the instance of Hussain, who lives in exile in Britain and is now a British citizen.

Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan has moved a British court and claimed earlier this week that action against Hussain was imminent.

Asked about the probe against Hussain, Milliband, who was in Pakistan, said he would not like to "comment on an ongoing investigation".

MQM parliamentarians have teamed up with the government to seek Imran Khan's disqualification from the National Assembly on the ground that he has had a love child outside of marriage with a British woman, the late Sita White.

As for an extradition treaty between Pakistan and British, The News noted that there was no agreement during the Milliband visit.

"London has demanded that Pakistan does away with the death penalty before it is ready to ink such an agreement. Though this has not stopped the British government to arrive at such an extradition treaty with the US, where several states still continue with the death penalty.

"The selectiveness of the British policy will be now followed by the Gordon Brown government," the newspaper said.

Pakistan and Britain are also engaged in diplomatic talks and court proceedings on extradition of Rashid Rauf, a British national of Pakistani origin, accused earlier this year of being involved in a foiled plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights emanating from Britain.

Miliband said Pakistan's criminal justice system was working and Britain believed that this was "the right way forward".