Convicted child offender arrested in joint UK-Pakistan operation

Islamabad: A convicted child sex offender arrested in Punjab following a joint UK and Pakistan operation, the British High Commission said Thursday. Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain was arrested during a joint operation between the Federal Investigation Agency, the Punjab Police and the UK’s National Crime Agency, in Sangla City in Punjab on Saturday 26 January. In 2016, Hussain was sentenced in the UK to 19 years imprisonment for serious sexual offences against a child.  Hussain was found guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of rape and one count of conspiracy to rape. This followed a long running Greater Manchester Police investigation – named Operation Doublet – which looked into the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rochdale. Hussain fled to Pakistan during the trial, but was found guilty in absentia. The UK has been working closely with Pakistan’s authorities since 2017 to secure his arrest and extradition. Hussain’s arrest is a further operational success for the UK-Pakistan justice and accountability partnership established during the British Home Secretary’s visit to Pakistan in September 2018. The partnership includes a renewed commitment to tackle the shared threats of organised crime and international criminality between our two countries. British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew CMG said: “The arrest of this individual, who has been convicted of sexual offences by a British court, is a significant achievement, and another excellent example of UK-Pakistan cooperation in tackling international criminality and impunity. It sends a clear message that Pakistan is not a safe haven for international criminals.” He added: “I would like to thank the Federal Investigation Agency and the Punjab Police for their professionalism and dedication in the execution of this operation. Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain’s case will now go to courts, who will decide whether to approve his extradition to the UK. In October 2018, Shahid Mohammad, an individual wanted in connection with the murder of five children and three adults, was successfully extradited to the UK.” Hussain was born in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid visited Pakistan 17-18 September 2018.  During his visit, the Home Secretary agreed a new justice and accountability partnership to help Pakistan and the UK tackle the shared threats posed by serious and organised crime and international criminality. The partnership has strengthened collaboration and delivered a number of outcomes.  This includes the extradition in October 2018 of Shahid Mohammad – wanted in the UK for the murder of five children and three adults. It also includes the signing in December 2018 of an prisoner transfer agreement.  This was signed by the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and Pakistan Interior Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman Khan. The updated agreement gives prisoners the opportunity to serve their sentence closer to home, and allows them to prepare for their reintegration into their home community when they are eventually released from prison.