KARACHI: The wife of condemned prisoner Saulat Mirza claimed on Monday that the former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) worker was in touch with party chief Altaf Hussain and the senior leadership prior to his arrest on Dec 10, 1998.
In an interview aired on Geo News on Monday, Nikhat Mirza, the wife of the death row prisoner, claimed that senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar had informed her during her last visit to the party's Nine Zero headquarters in February this year that the party’s role in connection with Mirza’s case was over and that Mirza's family was now on its own.
She termed the MQM's severing of what she called their once strong ties "a brutal joke" and added that “since then we were not even allowed to move beyond Mukka Chowk.”
The famous Mukka Chowk — decorated with the coal-black sculpture of a clenched fist that rests atop an inverted funnel on the roundabout, lies about half-a-kilometre from MQM headquarters Nine Zero.
Mirza's wife said her husband would not have made any revelations had the MQM not disowned him. She said her husband was shocked by the party's move and regretted his association with MQM.
One of the reasons given by the MQM for disowning Saulat was that his family had misbehaved with senior party members, according to Saulat's wife.
She elaborated that Saulat’s sister had slapped a member of the MQM Rabita Committee when the mercy appeal of the condemned prisoner was rejected in January this year.
She said Saulat's statement, which had not been given under any pressure, needed to be probed and investigated. She added that the former MQM worker had not made the statement expecting any reprieve but only to warn others from treading the same path as he did.
The wife of the former MQM activist said there were four people involved in this case but others were not being apprehended.
“Why aren't they being brought before the court. Why is it that the individual from whom the order (for assassination of the MD KESC) came is not being taken to task?” she asked.
"Why is the case being wrapped up with punishment for my husband only? My husband had no quarrel with the former KESC MD, why have those people who had exchanged harsh words with Shahid Hamid not been charged.”
Elaborating her claims about contacts between the MQM and her husband, she said MQM leader Qamar Mansoor and Advocate Arif Khan continued to work very hard on Mirza’s case after the court had dismissed his appeal.
“We remained in contact with Qamar Mansoor, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Anis Qaimkhani and Dr Nusrat,” she said.
Saulat's wife alleged that she also had numerous contacts with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan in connection with the case.
She claimed that after the rejection of Saulat's mercy appeal, a meeting was also held with Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad Khan at Governor House. During the meeting it was decided that the party would bear the expenses of Advocate Sardar Latif Khosa, who is Mirza’s counsel.
The wife of the death row prisoner said that records of Mirza’s case and arrangement made for his detention in jail could prove his association with the MQM as such arrangements were not possible without the backing of any political party.
She further said that the records of the mobilephone provided to the former MQM activist in jail could be obtained and it would help prove who had remained in contact with the convict.
The party had repeatedly assured Saulat and his family that he would be released soon, according to Saulat's wife, who added that, "People in and around Nine Zero used to refer to us as ‘the family of Bhai’s prince or the family of Bhai’s lion’."
She claimed that a meeting was also arranged between her and Chief of the Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain during the latter’s visit to Nine Zero. She did not specify the year in which the meeting had taken place.
Photographs of MQM leaders including Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan and Babar Ghauri were also shown who were attending the wedding functions of Saulat’s family members.
Other photogrtaphs showed Saulat with party leaders including Haider Abbas Rizvi, Dr Sagheer Ahmed and Abdul Rashid Godil inside the Karachi Central Jail premises.
'Would not expect Mirza’s wife to speak against her husband': Farooq Sattar
Responding to the claims made by Saulat Mirza's wife, senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar said he would not expect a woman to speak against her husband and implicate him.
He confirmed that the death row prisoner had remained a party worker until 1997-1998.
Sattar said that the airing of Saulat's statement a few hours before his execution reeked of a conspiracy.
Speaking about photos of Mirza in which he is accompanying other prisoners on the occasions of MQM's founding day and birthday of party chief Altaf Hussain, the senior MQM leader said: "There is nothing extraordinary about these photos."
He questioned as to why had Saulat's wife failed to make any mention of her press conference held on March 14.
Also yesterday and prior to the airing of the interview, President Mamnoon Hussain postponed Mirza's execution for 30 days. Earlier, he was set to be hanged on April 1.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi had issued fresh black warrants following the postponement of the death row convict's execution. Mirza was originally scheduled to be hanged on March 19.
President Mamnoon had extended Mirza's execution after a video surfaced barely hours before his hanging in which the former MQM activist had hurled accusations at the top MQM leadership.
Last week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sent a summary to President Mamnoon recommending a one-month extension for Mirza's execution.
Security in and around Machh Jail has been tightened where the high-profile prisoner is being kept.
Besides police, Balochistan Constabulary, Rapid Response Force, personnel of Frontier Corps have also been patrolling around the jail to avert any terror attack.
Mirza was found guilty of murdering then managing director (MD) of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC), now K-electric, Malik Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi, and his guard Khan Akbar outside Hamid's residence in Karachi's DHA on July 5, 1997.