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KARACHI (Yes Desk) – The routine life remained at standstill in the port city on Wednesday after the arrest of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain in London.
To express solidarity with Altaf Hussain, thousands of party workers staged a sit-in calling for his release. About 4,000 people had reached the Numaish Chowrangi intersection last night, with many more expected to join them.
The leader of millions of Urdu-speaking immigrants descended from those who crossed into Pakistan from India after the British partitioned the region in 1947, Hussain is a dominant force in Karachi, a teeming city of some 18 million and one of the largest political constituencies of the world.
He was arrested by Scotland Yard officers in London on Tuesday on suspicion of money-laundering.
Panic had gripped the sprawling metropolis soon after local television broadcast the news. Angry protesters torched at least a dozen vehicles yesterday.
British officials said they had temporarily closed their deputy high commission in the city, as Karachi police strengthened security in the city s diplomatic enclave. American consulate was also closed today.
Educational institutes, petrol pumps, CNG stations, hotels and markets remained closed while thin public transport has been witnessed on roads.
Examinations at Karachi University, Wafaqi Urdu University and Sir Syed University have been postponed. New dates will be announced later.
Traders’ union in Karachi has announced to shut markets and businesses.
MQM workers have also staged sit-in outside press clubs in different cities of Sindh. The protestors have vowed to continued sit-in untill the release of Altaf Hussain.
Altaf Hussain left Pakistan for Britain in 1992 fearing threats to his life and gained British citizenship in 2002.
His residence in London was raided on suspicion of money-laundering in 2012 and 2013 by British police.
In 2010 the murder in London of Imran Farooq, one of the party s founding members and a confidante of Hussain, sparked speculation of an “inside job” – charges strongly denied by the MQM.