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June 20, 2020

Imran Farooq’s widow says MQM’s Pakistan and London groups have failed her


June 20, 2020

LONDON: Shumaila Imran Farooq, the widow of slain Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) senior leader Dr Imran Farooq, has said that both MQM-Pakistan and MQM-London have not looked after her in any manner after the brutal assassination of one of MQM’s founding leaders in London ten years ago.

Speaking for the first time to Shahzeb Khanzada for Geo News in ten years about the trauma she has faced all these years and the abject level of poverty she is living in, Shumaila Imran Farooq broke into tears as she explained how MQM-Pakistan and London moved on quickly with their lives, never to turn back and ask her how she and her two sons, both under the age of 15, were doing.

Shumaila Imran Farooq has Stage 2 mouth cancer, which was diagnosed around 18 months ago.

Shumaila Farooq said that MQM-Pakistan was enjoying power as coalition partners of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) enjoying perks and privileges but never once any of the MQM leaders bothered to ask her for help or even make a courtesy call.

She told Shahzeb Khanzada, “Nobody calls me. I have often seen them making media statements claiming and promising to do wonders for the widow and children of Shaheed-e-Inqilaab Doctor Imran Farooq but practically they have done nothing. Never, I am in this situation of life and death now. My husband was one of the founders of the MQM. He died for the party but his own party has not taken care of me.”

Shumaila Imran Farooq elaborated about MQM-Pakistan’s role, “They make statements of support on Twitter, Facebook and media but they have never helped me.”

When asked if MQM-London headed by Altaf Hussain ever helped her, Shumaila Farooq said, “I live in a one bedroom flat provided by the British government. I survive my getting handouts from the government for food and utility bills. I live on benefits. Everyone is aware of the fact I am a cancer victim and have a few years to live, I have two young sons and there’s nobody in the world who would help me but those who were supposed to be there for me have never helped me.”

When asked by Shahzeb Khanzada if MQM-London ever helped her, she replied that the UK-based group “initially helped me but then stopped”.

“Nobody stands by you when you are in a difficult. Nobody is there for you when you are in difficulty. I have been through the worst of times and I don’t wish this upon my enemies even.”

She appreciated that Geo News has always raised her issues and made the masses aware. She said it was through Geo’s reporting over several years that people know about her or else she was completely abandoned by her former colleagues in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Shumaila said that her own family members from Karachi had helped through ten years but her in-laws never spoke to her in ten years and never for once asked her about well-being.

Shumaila said she had not spoken for ten years due to fear and trauma. “I have lived in fear for my safety and safety of my children. My sons are still getting counseling. They fear going outside and they don’t want to hear loud noises. They have not recovered from the terror trauma. We have never had a day of peace in our lives in ten years.”

Shumaila said Dr Imran Farooq faced difficulties with the MQM leadership before his murder and was worried all the time but at home he smiled around his children and didn’t want to let us know about his worries.

She said the impression was wrong that Imran Farooq wanted to set up his own party. Shumaila said that Dr Imran Farooq was not setting up his own party and he was not against Altaf Hussain. “My husband was with Altaf Hussain till last moments of his life. He had no plans of setting up an alternative party. However, he was a man of principles and didn’t compromise on the stance he took.”

Shumaila expressed satisfaction over the conviction of her husband’s murderers, saying she is “pleased that those responsible would spend the rest of their lives in prison” for killing a ‘true patriot’ and “a hero of the MQM”.

Separately, in a statement issued by the London’s Metropolitan Police, on behalf of Shumaila following the conviction of three men in connection with Dr Farooq’s murder in 2010, the widow lauded her husband’s struggle for the betterment of the society and shed light on the trauma as well as the financial difficulties her family faced after the murder.

“The name of Dr Imran Farooq will live forever. He was a true patriot of Pakistan and a hero of the Muhajir Qaumi Movement,” Shumaila said, adding that he was a devoted husband, father, son and brother.

“My husband struggled day and night for the destitute of society. He fulfilled his duties as a politician to his best ability and his name will live forever.”

The statement came hours after Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) ruled that MQM founder Altaf Hussain had Dr Farooq assassinated and sentenced three men to life imprisonment for their involvement in the murder. “It is proved that Altaf Hussain ordered the killing of Dr Imran Farooq,” read the verdict penned by ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand.

Dr Farooq, a founding member of the MQM, was stabbed and bludgeoned to death near his apartment in London in September 2010 outside his home in Green Lane, Edgware.

In her statement, he widow said that Dr Farooq faced countless difficulties but he did not step back from his principles “which might be the reason behind his murder”.

“I am pleased that those held responsible for his murder will spend the remainder of their lives in prison. The loss of my husband had such a lasting effect on me that at times I was not aware even about myself.”

Shumaila said she had to go through immense financial difficulties as there was only £500 in her husband’s bank account at the time of his death and he was struggling.

“As soon as Dr Imran Farooq left this world, I felt that I was left alone in this universe. Unsupported even by my extended family such as my in-laws, the only people who were there for me were my family, I had to raise my two sons alone.”