ISLAMABAD (AFP) - A British paedophile who fled the UK before his 19-year jail sentence was handed down has been arrested in Pakistan, officials said on Thursday (Jan 31).
Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain, 41, of Pakistani origin, was sentenced in absentia in 2016 after being found guilty by a UK court of three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of rape and one count of conspiracy to rape.
The conviction came on the heels of an investigation by the Greater Manchester Police force into the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rochdale.
The British High Commission in Islamabad said Hussain was arrested in a joint UK-Pakistan operation in the central city of Sangla on Saturday.
British authorities said they have been working closely with their Pakistani counterparts since 2017 to secure Hussain's arrest and extradition.
"The arrest... is a significant achievement, and another excellent example of UK-Pakistan cooperation in tackling international criminality," said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew in a statement.
"It sends a clear message that Pakistan is not a safe haven for international criminals," he added.
Hussain is set to appear before a Pakistani court ahead of any decision regarding his possible extradition.
Last October, a man wanted in connection with the murder of five children and three adults was extradited from Pakistan to the UK.