Properties of Altaf Hussain A.K.A Frog Man* in UK (*The Man part is being debated)
By Roger Harding
Exclusive Report for The Asian Journal – Nov 13 2009 London
LONDON: For years the founder leader of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has spoken about the financial misappropriation and irregularities of the country’s feudal and industrial rulers through alleged or real misuse of power.
But British Land Registry records now reveal that Altaf Hussain, the charismatic middle class leader of Pakistan’s third largest political party could not curb the temptation of acquiring a series of expensive and middle class properties in the British capital – one of the most expensive cities in the world. Pakistani ruling elite’s love for London and the United Kingdom is globally known. Politicians, generals and businessmen have been buying properties worth their financial prowess ever since the country was created in August 1947. The list is long but the most notable instances of premier property buying in the UK involved Pakistan’s two former prime ministers – late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif and former president Pervez Musharraf. Those who could not mirror the actions of their party leaders by picking up expensive freehold orleasehold properties in London’s choicest districts, settled for less attractive areas. But considering the exchange rate between British pound sterling and Pakistani rupee, one has to muster substantial means to buy even a standard property in London. Mr Hussain, who runs his party from his north London-based International Secretariat, lives in a plush million- plus house in leafy Mill Hill area. The house is under 24-hour electronic surveillance and local police also keeps the property under tight watch “as important people are regular visitors here.” Documents seen by this scribe show Mr Hussain as the titleholder of the property whose price is over £1,000,000. The Mill Hill house is not the only property that belongs to the MQM leader. He is a joint owner, along with his now divorced wife, Faiza Altaf, of another close by property in neighbouring Edgware area.
The estimated cost of the property is anything between £360,000 and £550,000 as it sits in between two freehold houses that belong to Mr Hussain’s brother, Iqbal Hussain. It is also believed that Mr Hussain owns his party’s International Secretariat in Edgware. Altaf Hussain and his party face regular accusations of raising money through illegal means involving blackmail and extortion. These allegations are always squarely denied by his party as “politically motivated fabrication.” Altaf Hussain ran from Pakistan in 1992 after a military operation targeted him and party leaders. He came to Britain via Saudi Arabia and sought political asylum. Consequently, he became a British citizen and now lives in voluntary exile. He has been criticized by his political opponents for not returning to Pakistan to be among his political cadres. His supporters, however, firmly believe he would be physically eliminated if he returns to Pakistan “just like Benazir Bhutto and her brother Mir Murtaza Bhutto”. It is interesting that throughout his political career, Mr Hussain maintained that he only owned a meagre motorcycle in Karachi and lived in a small house with his parents and siblings. His sources of income are unknown but are believed that his party pays his bills and maintenance. His family home in Karachi is now the Pakistani headquarters of the party.