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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

FEATURESHOT FEATURESAUDIOTFT BLOGGOOD TIMESARCHIVES Who killed Dr Imran Farooq - See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/who-killed-dr-imran-farooq/#sthash.jzGQfpjX.dpuf

Dr Imran Farooq had always been a rigid idealist. He joined the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organization (APMSO) when he was in Sindh Medical College, and had soon become a close aide to Azeem Ahmed Tariq and Altaf Hussain. He went on to become the first and only Convener of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in 1984, when the party was founded. Upright and true to the cause of the party, Dr Imran Farooq was a hardcore Mohajir nationalist and was never afraid of taking the hard line. When Altaf Hussain was arrested for the second time on November 2, 1986 – after his famous Hyderabad public rally – it was Dr Imran Farooq who threatened to respond violently in an interview. On December 14, as soon as Dr Imran Farooq gave an ultimatum for Altaf Hussain’s release, 120 people died in political violence. Some say he orchestrated the riots and approved the use of violence for political gains. They say he believed the thousands of unemployed lower middle class Mohajirs suffering from ethnic discrimination had nothing to lose. A poster issued during the 1992 Karachi operation declares Dr Imran Farooq a wanted criminal A poster issued during the 1992 Karachi operation declares Dr Imran Farooq a wanted criminal In the chaos that followed a law-enforcement operation in Karachi initiated by the PML-N government in 1992, Dr Imran Farooq ran the party in the absence of Altaf Hussain from an undisclosed location. His father, a former legislator popularly known as Farooq Bhai, still lives in a modest house in a lower middle class locality of Karachi. “He was an honest man who dedicated his life to the MQM,” he says. But Brig (r) Janjua – who was part of the 1992 military operation – disagrees. “He was instrumental in running MQM’s kill teams during the 1990s and was even behind assassination of some of their own leaders,” he alleges. On September 8, 1999, Dr Imran Farooq travelled from Karachi to London under an alias, and claimed political asylum in the UK. In London, where he began to live after he was granted asylum, MQM had become a corporation not anything like Dr Imran Farooq had known. It had a chief operations officer and a chief finance officer, as well as political advisers. The party began to flourish with the backing of the Musharraf regime. But he found no space in the new MQM. From 2001 to 2007, Dr Imran Farooq was suspended from the party four times. An MQM insider said he was still very close to Altaf Hussain. “Only Altaf Bhai could call him, and he would only listen to Altaf Bhai’s phone calls – such was the relationship between them.” “We stabbed him and hit him with bricks until he died” On September 16, 2010, only two days before Altaf Hussain’s birthday, a Karachi city government official named Khalid Shamim called London. “What is the status?” he was asked. “The cake has been cut,” he responded. Investigators say the KWSB official had also called one of Dr Imran Farooq’s assassins 12 minutes after his murder. In a massive probe that followed, investigators from Scotland Yard, London’s Metropolitan Police, the ISI and FIA carried out more than 4,000 interviews. In a case registered in Pakistan, Khalid Shamim, Mohsin Ali Syed and Moazzam Ali were among the key suspects. They are being held in Rawalpindi’s Adiyala Jail, in the custody of a special Pakistan Rangers unit. Dawn News reported on January 8 that Khalid Shamim and Mohsin Ali Syed had confessed before a magistrate, but Moazzam did not. But in April last year, Moazzam was reported to have named ex-MQM worker Hammad Siddiqui as the ‘big fish’. Siddiqui had been in touch with him, he said, and had introduced the two boys to him. “Hammad took oaths from all of us not to reveal anything about the plot,” he reportedly told Rangers. Hammad Siddiqui has not been named as a suspect in the case so far, and that has raised suspicions. “We bought knives from the one-pound shop,” Mohsin told an anti-terrorism court. An active member of the MQM, Mohsin was arrested along with Kashif Khan Kamran by intelligence officials from the Karachi Airport as soon as they landed in Pakistan. The two had been declared wanted by London police. “We hid the knives close to Dr Imran Farooq’s house. One day, after a signal from a senior MQM member based in London, Kashif stabbed him and hit him with bricks until he died.” MQM chief Altaf Hussain and party leader Muhammad Anwar are also named in the FIR. The party rejects these allegations as “absurd and unfounded.” “The MQM is aware of reports in the media that individuals held in detention by Pakistani authorities have allegedly confessed to the murder of Dr Imran Farooq,” it said in a statement issued on January 7. “These individuals have allegedly named MQM personnel as having ordered the killing. We categorically state that no party personnel have had anything whatever to do with the tragic death of Dr Farooq. We mourn the loss of a man who was our friend and colleague for many years.” tft-50-p-1-k But as the prosecution’s story goes, Khalid Shamim was tasked to kill the two assassins, Mohsin and Kashif. He was arrested from an ATM a day after they were to show up at the airport. He was alleged to be in contact with Sarfraz Hussain, the nephew of Altaf Hussain. Sarfraz was arrested for conspiracy to murder, and is out on bail. Dr Imran Farooq had been running a parallel chain of command in the party, the prosecution says, and even nominated MPA candidates in the 2008 elections in Sindh without the party leadership’s approval. Altaf Hussain’s own bail in England ends in February, and that is perhaps why the case is on a fast track in Pakistan. Some argue that the case is being pursued in order to implement the “minus-Altaf Hussain formula”, in which the party would be allowed to function, but under a different leadership. “The case has been grossly mishandled on our end,” says a very senior military source. “The previous administration thought to use the two arrested men for leverage, until they found out that any testimony from them would not be valid.” In August last year, two senior detectives from Scotland Yard were allowed to question the suspects in Pakistan after intense negotiations with Pakistan. But many believe there are a lot of loose ends in the prosecution’s story. The MQM asserts they are the aggrieved party in the case. “MQM welcomes any assistance that may be provided to the British Metropolitan Police Service, who continue to investigate the death of Dr Farooq,” their statement said. Print Friendly - See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/who-killed-dr-imran-farooq/#sthash.jzGQfpjX.dpuf

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