Pakistan claims arrest of suspects in politician's London murder

QUETTA, Pakistan - Pakistani officials said Friday they have arrested two suspects in connection with the 2010 murder of a politician in London, including one wanted by Scotland Yard.

The government paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) said they had detained Khalid Shamim and Mohsin Ali on Thursday over the killing of Imran Farooq.

Farooq, 50, a founding member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, the most powerful political force in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi, was stabbed and beaten to death in Edgware, northwest London in September 2010.

British detectives said last May they want to question Ali and another man, Muhammad Kashif Khan Kamran, about the attack. Both were in Britain in the period leading up to it and left hours afterwards.

An FC spokesman said Friday that Ali and Shamim were detained at a border crossing in southwestern Baluchistan province as they entered the country from Afghanistan.

"Both Khalid Shamim and Mohsin Ali belonged to MQM, and as per our preliminary investigations, they are the main characters in Imran Farooq murder case," the spokesman told AFP.

Akbar Hussain Durrani, Baluchistan home secretary, confirmed the arrest and told AFP that both of the men have been handed over to Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency for questioning.

The FC spokesman said law enforcement agencies were expecting a "major breakthrough" to come from the questioning.

Critics of the MQM have claimed that the killing of Farooq was linked to an internal dispute in the party, which has been run from London by exiled leader Altaf Hussain for over two decades.

The MQM has strongly denied the claims and late Thursday also denied that Ali and Shamim were party members.

Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced the arrest of a suspect in the case in April, but did not reveal their identity.

Farooq claimed asylum in Britain in 1999. He was wanted in Pakistan over scores of charges including torture and murder related to the MQM's activities, but always claimed the accusations were politically motivated.

He had twice been elected an MP in Pakistan, but went into hiding in 1992 when the government ordered a military crackdown against party activists in Karachi.

The MQM's leader Altalf Hussain has run the party from exile in London for over two decades, regularly addressing huge gatherings of supporters in Karachi by audio link.

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