Three Pakistani men who masterminded and carried out the murder of an exiled political rival in London were given life sentences in Pakistan Thursday.
Imran Farooq, a founding member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, was stabbed and beaten to death in Edgware in northwest London as he returned home from work in September 2010.
The judge at a Pakistan anti-terrorism court sentenced Mohsin Ali, Khalid Shamim and Moazzam Ali to life on "charges of murder under conspiracy and abetment", special public prosecutor Khwaja Imtiaz told AFP.
Imtiaz said the judge also concluded that the murder had been ordered by MQM party chief Altaf Hussain -- currently in exile in the UK -- and called on the Pakistani and British governments to produce him before a court for trial.
Critics of the MQM -- once the most powerful political force in Pakistan's biggest city of Karachi -- have claimed that the killing of Farooq was linked to an internal dispute in the party, which has been run from London by Hussain for over two decades.
The MQM have strongly denied the claims.
"Today's conviction marks a team effort between law agencies in the UK and Pakistan working together to get justice for the murder of Dr Imran Farooq," said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner.
Farooq was twice elected as an MP in Pakistan, but went into hiding in 1992 when the government ordered a military crackdown against party activists, and claimed asylum in Britain in 1999.
He was wanted in Pakistan on scores of charges including torture and murder related to the MQM's activities, but always claimed the accusations were politically motivated.
The MQM, long accused of using extortion and murder to cement its grip on power, was blamed for years of fomenting ethnic violence in the sprawling city.
It clashed repeatedly with authorities until security forces launched a brutal "clean-up" operation in 2013 that was plagued with accusations of extra-judicial killings and which has seen political violence drop significantly in the southern port city.
The MQM lost its hold on Karachi during 2018's general election, with its Pakistan faction now allied with Prime Minister Imran Khan's ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)