Authorities arrest UK child sex offender in Punjab

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LAHORE: A convicted child-sex offender, who was part of a gang that exploited teenage girls in a northern English town, has been arrested in Pakistan, the British High Commission in Islamabad said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

“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, January 26,” the statement said.

Hussain, 41, was part of a group of men of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghan origin who were jailed for abusing dozens of girls following an investigation centred on the town of Rochdale near Manchester.

The men groomed the girls with gifts and plied them with alcohol and drugs before forcing them to have sex with others.

Hussain escaped during the trial but was found guilty in 2016 in his absence of a series of serious offences, including rape and sexual activity with a child.

“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,” Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan said.

Pakistani courts will now decide whether to extradite Hussain back to Britain, the Commission said.

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