On Monday the London’s Metropolitan Police cancelled Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain’s bail requirements in the money laundering case, freeing him from the obligation to appear before the police at regular intervals and allowing him to travel. As expected and on cue, celebrations began around Nine Zero as loyal MQM members joined in their leader’s deliverance. The trials and tribulations of Altaf Hussain are complex, and hence such celebrations are premature, since the investigation is still ongoing, however the MQM workers do have a justified reason to be satisfied.

The conditions were removed because the police felt that “at the time of writing, there is insufficient evidence to bring a criminal charge”. So while the investigation is ongoing, the police have not found enough evidence to charge him, let alone try him and convict him. Unless the police stumble upon some new evidence – which seems unlikely given the time that has elapsed since the alleged offence – the investigation will be shut after a certain period of time. This is neither guarantee nor a dignified acquittal but the embattled MQM will take it and run.

A contrasting set of emotions met the announcement; many in the government had been hoping that the British police could remove a sizeable thorn from their sides without them having to dirty their hands. The federal government had cooperated extensively with Scotland Yard on several cases related to Altaf Hussain, and a setback in perhaps the most damning one – undocumented cash was recovered from his residence – can only be disappointment. It is becoming increasingly clear that if Altaf Hussain is to face justice for his alleged cries, it can only be done by a Pakistani court.

The British police focus – justifiably – on cases pertaining to their own country. Money laundering, murder; these are crimes that affect the local system. Complaints of a political nature, such as incitement to violence and involvement in organized crime, are not only geographically limited to Pakistan, but beyond the interest of a foreign nation’s police. This is not due to malicious intent, merely prioritisation. The government has to stop hoping that the British can provide them an easy way out by convicting Altaf Hussain. The prospect looks increasingly far off, and the government still has to deal with MQM’s agitation even if he is incarcerated in London. The responsibility lies on the government’s shoulders, it is about time they own up to it.