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March 20, 2018

MQM-London registers itself in UK for political activities


March 20, 2018

LONDON: After disintegration into many groups in Pakistan and exclusion of London-based leadership by two Pakistani factions of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), founder of the MQM has registered his own faction of the party in Britain for the first time after moving to Britain over two decades ago.

Companies House has confirmed that an official of the MQM-London registered the “MQM International Limited” on 22 January 2018 under the Company House number 11161064.

A source at the MQM secretariat said that the need for registration has been felt after Karachi-based set up severed links with London, following Altaf Hussain’s controversial 22nd August speech which unleashed a chain of fatal events.

The “MQM International Limited” has been registered at the 221 Whitchurch Lane, Edgware, United Kingdom, HA8 6QN address. Mohammad Saleem, an official at MQM’s office in London, is the sole director of the registered “MQM International Limited”.

The Companies House register shows that the “nature of business” has been shown as “activities of political organisations”. This is the property owned by the MQM founder where MQM founder’s cousin Iftikhar Hussain and other MQM leaders have been living for several years. The same property was raided in relation to the murder investigation of Dr Imran Farooq.

This is the same address that was raided during the money-laundering investigation by the Scotland Yard which saw the MQM leader, Sarfraz Merchant, Muhammad Anwar, Tarir Mir and others arrested and put on bail for nearly three years. The case was dropped by the police last year. Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has since written to Scotland Yard, quoting an FIR in Karachi by Sarfraz Merchant, that there is a strong case of money-laundering against the MQM leadership both in Britain and Pakistan, naming several leaders from the MQM factions and Mustafa Kamal’s PSP. The Scotland Yard says it dropped the money-laundering case because there was not “sufficient evidence” to prosecute but Pakistani authorities insist that evidence was strong but not pursued by the police in London.

The registration of the MQM in Britain comes after the MQM maintained throughout the money-laundering investigation that it was a political party registered in Pakistan and didn’t have any political activity related to Britain and therefore wasn’t registered in Britain with the UK election commission.

The MQM maintained this to justify that it received donations from Pakistan through individuals to maintain its base in London but that these donations were aimed at Pakistani politics and nothing to do with British politics.

Recent months have seen the MQM founder re-launching himself, adjusting to new political realities and facts. A source in the MQM informed that the MQM founder has committed himself to a strict dieting regime and has lost more than 30 Kilograms of weights.

A year back, there were concerns that he could be paralysed because of unhealthy lifestyle and weight issues. It’s understood that the MQM founder has hired a physiotherapist for 5 days-a-week exercise at his home, including following the dieting plan.

He has increased the number of security men guarding him round the clock at his home and outside. Most leading MQM activists and office bearers have left the MQM founder and either gone quiet or joined the MQM-factions but some veterans are standing by him and continuing to push – hoping that the infighting in Pakistani factions of MQM have made the ordinary workers reminisce those days when MQM was controlled through an iron hand from London but respected and not publicly humiliated in the manner the MQM factions are doing these days. Turnout to mark MQM’s 34th foundation day in London was good and many new faces were seen attending the event.

The source said that the MQM founder doesn’t unleash anymore the kind of vitriol he used to until few months ago. The source said that he realises that his anger and depression have caused him irreparable political damage. “The founder has been getting counselling on how to control his temperament, how to live a healthy lifestyle and how not to be depressed and he has been listening and following the guidelines,” said the source.

“The way MQM factions have conducted themselves has helped our agenda, they have made themselves a laughing stock before Pakistan and the Urdu-speaking community, that’s what London needs,” said the source.

The MQM has not until now registered itself with the Electoral Commission. A spokesman told The News that “a party does not have to register with the Electoral Commission in order to call itself a political party, but it does have to register with the Commission in order to field candidates at elections and appear on a ballot paper”.  

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