Saturday, 10 April 2021

Imran Farooq’s murder was ‘birthday gift for Altaf’

ISLAMABAD: Could murder be a ‘birthday present’? Surprisingly! MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq was murdered as a birthday gift for party supremo Altaf Hussain, revealed a confessional statement of one of the three suspects standing trial in the high-profile murder case. Suspect Khalid Shamim’s confessional statement, made before a magistrate in January, surfaced on Thursday and once again suggested that the MQM leader was killed because he was considered to be a ‘potent threat’ to the party leadership.‘Mamo Ki Subah Hogai’ was used as the ‘code word’ by another suspect, Kashif Kamran, for other suspects, meaning Farooq was murdered. Shamim’s statement revealed that Kamran called on Moazzam Ali’s number and informed him while further asking them to confirm it through the media.

The statement read that Kamran had revealed that another MQM leader, Muhammad Anwar, had specifically asked to kill Farooq on September 16, as September 17 was Altaf Hussain’s birthday and “the news would be given (to him) as a birthday gift”. In the statement, Shamim said Farooq’s party membership was suspended when he surfaced in London in 1999, adding he once asked the MQM chief over telephone if Farooq was suspended because he wanted to be number one in the party. “No one could become my number two or number three. Not even half of me,” Hussain replied, the statement said. He added the MQM chief in one of his speeches organised at the Jinnah Bagh in Karachi had said that no one cared about him and he could be killed walking near a park while heading home. He said Anwar later disclosed that the message was for him [Shamim] regarding Farooq’s murder, as he was trying to create a separate group while emphasising that ‘it should not happen’. Though Farooq’s membership was restored in 2005, Anwar said the issue still existed and needed to be resolved.

To this, Shamim had asked for money which, Anwar said, was not an issue. Subsequently, Shamim said, Kamran, Mohsin Ali and he used to meet and plan for the murder at the MQM’s headquarters known as 90 (Nine-Zero). Meanwhile, Farooq’s name was omitted from a booklet: “MQM kay Rehnuma Assol” which was written by the murdered MQM leader in 1982. Its latest edition was printed in 2009 without mentioning his name. In addition, he said, Anwar said that Hussain’s cousin, Iftikhar Hussain, was coming to Karachi for attending a wedding ceremony along with the money needed to plan Farooq’s murder. Iftikhar handed over an envelope containing £25,000 while clearly stating that the money was for the work Hussain (the MQM supremo) has earlier discussed, Shamim confessed, adding the money was later transferred into Moazzam’s company account who utilised it for processing their admission to the London Academy of Management Sciences and securing student visas for them.

Following the murder, the statement said, the suspects went to Sri Lanka, and from there they reached Karachi. Through his sources, Shamim said, he learnt that Anwar had tasked some people belonging to the party’s South Africa chapter to follow them and made sure that they could not return to Pakistan. Fearing for their lives, “we decided to leave the country” and entered into Afghanistan after paying Rs50,000 to one of Kamran’s friend-turned agent. After staying there for five years, Mohsin and he decided to return to Pakistan but Kamran refused, saying “he would not return until Altaf Hussain’s death”, the statement said. Later, the two suspects were arrested while crossing the Chaman border. On December 5, 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency registered a case against Hussain, Anwar, Iftikhar, Moazzam, Khalid, Mohsin and Kamran for their alleged involvement in the 2010 murder of Dr Imran Farooq who was stabbed and bludgeoned to death near his apartment in Green Lane, Edgware, in September 2010.

 

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