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Image caption Imran Farooq (L) laughs with MQM founder Altaf Hussain

A court in Pakistan has sentenced three men to life in prison for the 2010 murder of a Pakistani politician in London.

Dr Imran Farooq, a senior leader in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, was stabbed to death outside his home in the city.

British Police shared evidence with the Pakistani court earlier this year in return for assurances that the accused would be spared the death penalty.

The court ordered property confiscated from four other absent suspects.

Dr Farooq, 50, was found dead near his residence in the north London neighbourhood of Edgware on 16 Sep 2010. He had suffered multiple stab wounds and head injuries. He had been living in exile in the UK for more than a decade when he died.

Khalid Shamim, Mohsin Ali and Moazzam Ali – all members of MQM – were sentenced by an anti-terrorism court on Thursday to life imprisonment and fines of Rs1m ($6,000; £4,800) each, to be paid to Dr Farooq’s family.

Dr Farooq was a senior leader in MQM – a political party that played a crucial and controversial role in the politics of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.

He fled Pakistan for exile in London in 1999 after a campaign by the country’s security forces targeted MQM over allegations it had been involved in terrorist acts.

Prosecutor Khawaja Mohammad Imtiaz told reporters the trial was the first of its kind in Pakistan. “There are hardly any examples in the world that an offence is committed in one country and the trial is conducted in another,” he said.

Dr Farooq’s death marked the start of cracks in the leadership of the MQM, which held sway for decades in Karachi but later split into several factions.

More than 30 witnesses recorded statements for the trial, including some based abroad who gave evidence via videolink.

Toby Cadman, a UK barrister and counsel to the Pakistan government, called the convictions with assistance from the UK a “momentous step for Pakistan’s legal system”.

“The British government had to be sure beyond doubt that the accused would receive a free, fair and transparent trial and that they would not be subject to the death penalty,” Mr Cadman said.

“They received a fair trial and justice has been served: a testament to both the UK authorities and the Government of Pakistan.”

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