ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan categorically told the Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Wednesday to “come clean” in the Dr Imran Farooq murder case.
Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, he expressed his surprise over the mixed messages being sent out by the MQM. “While one leader of the MQM says the party would like the case to reach its logical conclusion, the other is raising doubts regarding the joint investigation team (JIT) by questioning the purpose of its formation,” he said.
He said the JIT had been formed because there was documentary evidence to prove that an individual had committed an offence. He said that first, Pakistan and its security agencies would satisfy themselves and then share the information they had with the United Kingdom and the exercise might take two to three weeks.
He asked the MQM to shun double standards and made it clear that the government did not see this investigation as a political matter. “This is purely an issue involving commission of a heinous offence,” he remarked.
Asked if the MQM was responsible for Dr Imran Farooq’s murder, he said he could not assume the role of a judge.
He said his meeting with the British high commissioner on Tuesday was pre-scheduled and had nothing to do with MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s appearance before police in connection with money laundering charges. “It was purely a coincidence,” he remarked, but confirmed that the Imran Farooq murder case and the money laundering case were also discussed in the meeting.
Chaudhry Nisar ruled out the unilateral extradition of two persons, suspected to be the murderers of MQM leader Imran Farooq, to the UK and said that during his meeting with the British high commissioner, he had pointed out that there was no extradition treaty between the two countries at the moment.
However, he said that there were various international agreements that both the UK and Pakistan were signatories to and the ongoing cooperation between the two countries was under the aegis of these obligations.
He said Pakistan would hand over the suspects to the UK only if law of the land permitted it. He said he had made it clear during the meeting that Pakistan could extend ‘additional cooperation’ only if the UK agreed that it would become a precedent for it to follow when Pakistan sought extradition of a wanted person in the future. He said he categorically told the British high commissioner that one-way cooperation would not be possible.
The interior minister credited Pakistan’s security and intelligence agencies, which had showed Scotland Yard the way when the gruesome incident that occurred in 2010 had become a blind murder case which he said was also a fact that had been acknowledged by Scotland Yard itself.
Talking about the central character in the Imran Farooq murder case, he said that Muazzam Ali Khan had opened bank accounts for the two suspected murderers and arranged visas for them. He said that security agencies were trying to track him down through mobile phone records, which had only been helpful in ascertaining his location for two to three months over the past year or so.
He said the phone was then traced at a ‘particular location’ where it was not deemed appropriate to carry out a raid at the time, leaving many to wonder if he was alluding towards Nine Zero – the MQM’s headquarters – which, the minister had earlier said, was raided on the basis of a specific intelligence report.
Chaudhry Nisar said he did not hand over any documents to the British high commissioner, nor did he brief him. “Under the law, I can brief parliament, the cabinet, the prime minister and the president but not foreign diplomats,” he said, adding that it would be an insult to the country if he briefed a foreign diplomat.
He said Pakistan would do whatever it could to ensure that the killers of Imran Farooq were punished.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2015