London, Feb 4 IANS | 10 months ago

A spokesperson of a British political party proved to be a major embarrassment for it after he was exposed as one-time ex-chief of a Pakistani kidnapping gang.

Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto, the UK Independence Party's (UKIP) campaigner who helped in boosting its multi-cultural credentials and worked as the party's Commonwealth spokesperson between March and December 2013, had canvassed in a key by-election in which the party came close to gaining its first MP, Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

The 35-year-old has admitted being the "boss" of a high-profile gang which struck in Pakistan's port city of Karachi in 2004, in a kidnapping that netted him a 56,000-pound ransom payment.

He admitted to the charges in a British court the following year and was awarded a seven-year jail term.

On Monday night, Ukip opted to distance itself from Bhutto, saying he resigned from the party after being confronted about his criminal history.

Bhutto's past getting revealed on BBC Newsnight comes just a month after David Silvester, a Ukip councillor in Oxfordshire, provoked ridicule by claiming that this winter's floods were God's revenge for the new law allowing gay marriage.

Bhutto had first flown to Manchester city for collecting payment of the 56,000-pound ransom for the high-profile 2004 kidnapping, according to an investigation by the BBC's programme.

While other members of Bhutto's gang were sentenced to the death penalty for their convictions in 2005, he admitted to being the "boss" at Manchester Crown Court and was sentenced to seven years at a British jail. In 2011, he became a member of Ukip.

UKIP came second behind the Conservatives in the last European Parliament poll in 2009 winning 17 percent of the vote, a media report said.

(Posted on 04-02-2014)

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