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Exiled Pakistani politician murdered in London

Police in London are investigating the murder of Imran Farooq, a founding member of a governing political party in Pakistan. The country's largest city, where the party is based, shut down in response to the killing.

Police at the scene of Imran Farooq's murder in north London

Police pronounced Farooq dead at the scene of the crime

A leading Pakistani politician living in exile in Great Britain has been murdered outside his London home, according to his party and police.

Imran Farooq, a senior member of Pakistan's Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was found with head injuries and stab wounds in north London on Thursday, police sources said, after they were called to reports of a "serious assault in the Edgware district of the British capital.

"Officers found an Asian man, aged 50, with stab wounds and head injuries. Paramedics treated the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:37 pm (17:37 GMT)," said a spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police.

Karachi shut down

Farooq was a founding member of the party which is a major political force in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi.

A message on the MQM party website read: "MQM convenor Dr Imran Farooq murdered in London" as it declared 10 days of mourning.

MQM supporters in Karachi, Pakistan

MQM supporters condemn the rampant violence in Karachi

"We are confident that the culprit will be arrested and will be given exemplary punishment," Farooq Sattar, a senior member of the MQM and a minister in the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, told reporters in Karachi.

Karachi - home to over 18 million people - was shut down on Friday in response to the killing, with shops, schools and all forms of public transportation cancelled for the day.

Even though Farooq is no longer an influential MQM figure - he fled Pakistan in 1992 and has been living in Britain since 1999 - the killing could trigger more ethnic and political violence in Karachi, depending on whether British police establish political motivation behind the murder.

Up to 100 people were killed and hundreds wounded in several days of clashes in Karachi last month after MQM member Raza Haider - a Shi'ite Muslim - was gunned down along with his bodyguard while attending a funeral.

The government blamed the Taliban and the banned Sunni Muslim militant group, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), for the killing of the parliamentarian.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner

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