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June 20, 2020

Imran Farooq verdict

Editorial

 
June 20, 2020

The verdict by the anti-terrorism court of Islamabad sentencing the three accused to life imprisonment in Dr Imran Farooq case was long overdue. The three accused are Mohsin Ali, Moazzam Ali, and Khalid Shamim who have been sentenced to life imprisonment and over a million rupees fine each. Apart from that, in what would at any other time have led to much chaos, the court has said that it has been proven that Altaf Hussain ordered the killing and that he be traced, arrested and brought before the court as soon as possible. Dr Farooq was once the right-hand man of MQM supremo Altaf Hussain in Karachi who shot to national fame in politics when he became the parliamentary leader of the MQM after winning a National Assembly seat in 1988. Many people also remember him as a leading voice against the PPP and one of the prime leaders of the movement to dislodge Benazir Bhutto’s government just after 20 months in power in 1990.

This decision in turn brought more miseries for the MQM leaders as Altaf Hussain had to flee the country prior to a military operation against the MQM ordered by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif who had used the same MQM to dislodge the PPP. In the aftermath of a massive crackdown on the MQM under Operation Clean-up in 1992, Dr Farooq also went into hiding and after seven years surfaced in London. He was one of the senior leaders of the MQM in London for over a decade till his murder by his own party men in 2010.

Dr Farooq was reportedly trying to form his own faction with the MQM which some say was perhaps was a major reason for his murder. Now finally the court has announced the verdict against the accused. The court has also maintained that the case was fit to award death penalty; however, since Pakistan had given an assurance to the British government, that could not be done. Thus a long saga of a murder mystery comes to an end. Credit must be given to Scotland Yard that collected the evidence for this case. The detailed and prolonged investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police is unlikely to have been possible in Pakistan, where poor training makes the gathering of evidence difficult, often leaving courts with no option but to free the accused. In this case, a solid case was built. The extent and detail to which the Met went for 10 years to carry out its investigation should serve as a lesson to the police in Pakistan which in most cases has remained unsuccessful to conclude a case, from the murder of Liaquat Ali Khan to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.