Former federal minister and leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment (MQM) Babar Khan Ghauri was arrested by police on Monday night minutes after he landed at Karachi airport while returning from the United States ending his seven-year self-exile, officials said.

It was only last month when the Sindh High Court granted him a two-week protective bail in a corruption reference and a money laundering and terror financing case. After the SHC orders, the former minister announced his return without giving details of his future plans in the country.

A senior official, while confirming the arrest, however, didn’t share the reason behind the move of law enforcement agency, stating that the “situation would be clear on Tuesday,” when the former key man of the MQM would be produced before the court.

The former ports and shipping minister, who returned to Pakistan after almost seven years, had through his attorney moved the SHC last month and submitted that he was presently abroad and willing to come back and surr­ender before trial courts.

Ghauri, along with the MQM founder and other party leaders, had been booked by the Federal Investigation Agency in 2017 in a money laundering and terror financing case.

The National Accounta­bility Bureau had also filed a reference in an accountability court in 2018 against him and others for alleged illegal regularisation of 940 employees of the Karachi Port Trust, causing a loss of Rs2.8 billion to the national exchequer.

In October 2019, judicial and prosecution officials said the court had declared Babar Ghauri a proclaimed offender after the investigation officer in the case had submitted a report stating that there was no likelihood of arrest of the former minister in the near future since he had probably gone into hiding to avoid arrest.

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