ISLAMABAD -  The interior ministry on Tuesday allowed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to approach Interpol for issuance of a red warrant for Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain.

But legal experts said it would be difficult for Pakistan to bring Altaf back as the UK will treat the red warrant, if issued, according to its own laws.

The approval was given in compliance with the orders of an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi, which is hearing three identical cases against MQM leader over his Aug 22 anti-state speech. Some other prominent leaders of the MQM including some lawmakers have also been booked in the hate speech case.

Altaf Hussain has been living in self-imposed exile in London for more than two decades and is now a British national.

In its last hearing, the ATC had issued non-bailable warrants for the absconders including Altaf Hussain and directed the investigation officer to secure the red warrant for MQM founder through Interpol.

The FIA last week, through a letter, had sought formal approval from the interior ministry for the issuance of the red warrant for Altaf, a spokesperson for the interior ministry said. And now that it has been allowed to proceed, the agency would contact the Interpol.

Prominent lawyer A K Dogar said that the red warrant had no value as each country treats it under its own laws.

"We already have a precedence in case of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed whose red warrant was secured by India in the Mumbai attacks case" but the then interior minister Rehman Malik refused to execute the warrant saying that Saeed had committed no crime under Pakistani laws, he said.

Former advocate general Punjab Khawaja Haris said that the UK could extradite Hussain to Pakistan even if no extradition treaty existed between the two countries. "If both the countries have mutual consent, an accused could be extradited even in the absence of the treaty,” he said.

However, no country allows extradition on political grounds and Altaf Hussain would take this plea in his case, he said.

He said that Pakistani laws also do not allow extradition on political grounds and similar laws exists in Europe and other countries. "The UK is always reluctant to proceed against a person if there is even a single credible reason that he or she could be politically victimised," he said.