LONDON: Authorities in Pakistan had been reluctant under the last government to handover two suspects sought by the Scotland Yard in relation to their investigation into the assassination of Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s former convenor Dr Imran Farooq who was killed in a knife attack on September 2010 here, senior British and Pakistani officials have revealed.
On November 11, 2012, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe disclosed exclusively to Geo News that two suspects were in the custody of Pakistani authorities on suspicion of killing Dr Imran Farooq.
Several reports have named Khalid Shamim as one of the two suspects. Jang Newspaper recently published a report with full details of the movement of Khalid Shamim. Geo News can disclose for the first time that the Metropolitan Police, during their interaction with nearly 4,000 people that they have spoken to in relation to Dr Farooq’s murder, asked several people if they knew who Hammad Siddiqui was. The MQM’s former In-charge of Karachi Tanzeemi Committee (KTC) currently lives in Dubai after his basic party membership was cancelled last month by the MQM leader Altaf Hussain.
Credible sources have confided that Pakistani authorities wavered on several occasions to commit themselves to handover the two suspects to Scotland Yard despite several requests made in this regard. It must be clarified that there is no accord between the UK and Pakistan for exchange of the wanted suspects but the two countries have cooperated with each other routinely, without necessarily feeling the need to have a law in place.
The revelation may lead to an investigation by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government as to why the previous government did not cooperate fully with the British police. Some theories also suggest that the country’s secret agencies didn’t trust the civilian government with the two men and some are saying that the two men have been used as trump card by the power players.
It is said that the Pakistani security agencies remained silent about the men in their custody because they feared that they could be eliminated too if given under the civilian control and something could happen to them. This puts the PML-N government under tremendous pressure as to what they now do about the two suspects and whether the Metropolitan Police will be given access or not. When approached, the Met Police refused to speak on record about its dealings with the Pakistani officials.
The Metropolitan Police is of the firm view, according to sources, that Pakistani security authorities have two or more people in their custody who know the full details about the plot that led to the assassination of Dr Imran Farooq – and the same persons were actors of the same plot too.
The two important suspects have been questioned extensively by Pakistani authorities but it’s understood that Pakistani government was uncomfortable about cooperating full scale with their counterparts here who have dedicated a Counter Terrorism Command Unit into investigating the high-profile London assassination of the tragic Pakistani politician, who escaped from Pakistan in order to save his life but in a twist of ironic fate his life was taken away by his opponents.
The source in London mentioned that Pakistani authorities have sent various confidential reports to Scotland Yard, based on the investigations of two suspects, but has dragged its feet over giving direct access to the investigators at Scotland Yard. The source revealed that it’s taking Scotland Yard a lot of time to move ahead in investigations because the “documents being delivered from Pakistan are in Urdu and require meticulous English translation”.
“Scotland Yard gets these documents translated in English through professional translators and that takes considerable amount of time,” confided the source.
Fresh information in this case obtained by Geo News suggests that although Scotland Yard has so far questioned eight London-based Pakistani origin individuals under caution, the information gathered from them is of “huge interest” to the police but none of the eight people is currently under arrest or charged in connection with this investigation.
The police have said that it retain an open mind as to motive of the murder but it have confirmed that a key line of inquiry in this investigation is that Dr Farooq was due to launch a new political career and that the police would like to speak to anyone who knew about Dr Farooq’s political activity and his ambitions for a new party.
On Thursday, 6 December 2012, officers from the Counter Terrorism Command executed a search warrant under Schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) the MQM’s International Secretariat in Edgware but no arrests were made. Under PACE, the police have so far searched 10 addresses, including the two addresses which were being combed at the filing of this report on Wednesday evening.
Most of these searches have been conducted in Edgware and North West London. At least two properties in East London have been searched too.
While the speculation grew about the search warrants being executed at two residential addresses in North West London and the police refused to confirm the identity of the occupants of the two houses, on Tuesday night George Galloway MP tweeted that the one of the houses being combed belonged to Altaf Hussain, the MQM founder and leader, but sources within the MQM denied it and the Met Police refused to identify the owner or the occupant of the houses.
The police have confirmed that none of these searches were armed and the police didn’t meet any resistance. There have been speculations about travel restrictions and arrests of individuals in relation to Dr Imran Farooq’s murder but the police have confirmed that no one has been placed on travel restrictions in this investigation. The most likely scenario for a restriction on travel would be if someone was placed under arrest or charged with an offence and this formed part of their bail conditions.
Dr Imran Farooq’s widow and former MQM MPA Shumaila Imran Farooq lives in a secure area in London with her sons Aalishan Farooq and Wajdan Farooq.
It’s understood that the police monitor the area where she lives and believes that Dr Farooq’s wife and kids may be harmed too. Dr Imran Farooq owned a shop near Old Street in central London at the time of his murder.
Geo News is aware that the shop was sold to a new buyer but not a single penny was paid to Shumaila Imran Farooq. A former worker at the shop told Geo News that Shumaila Farooq never visited the shop and kept herself out of any dealings to do with the shop because she was too traumatised and was scared for her own safety.
“The shop was taken over by Dr Imran Farooq’s brother and Shumaila Farooq was not paid anything when shop was sold a year ago,” said the worker, who has fond memories of working with Dr Imran Farooq, whose brave rise and tragic fall in politics will continue to haunt Pakistani politics at home and abroad for many years to come.