KARACHI: According to a heavily redacted transcript of what is believed to be a three-year-old police interrogation of a London-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader, the MQM had been receiving Indian money and only four people, including party chief Altaf Hussain, knew about it.
The MQM, however, termed the transcript “fabricated” and “part of an ongoing media trial of the party”.
Anchor Dr Shahid Masood showed a six-page transcript of the alleged interrogation of MQM leader Tariq Mir in his TV programme on Friday night. He also posted the six pages on social networking website Twitter, from where it went viral and was picked up by news outlets.
Later Dr Masood, in reply to a question on Twitter, replied: “Documents sent via email from British official.”
However, British authorities did not confirm the documents’ veracity.
A transcript of an alleged police interrogation in 2012 shown on TV channel
According to Dawn.com, the London Metropolitan Police’s press office said that it could not comment on people who had been interviewed.
The interview with Mr Mir — a British citizen and former member of the MQM coordination committee — was conducted on May 30, 2012, at the Edgware police station and Mr Mir, who was later identified as TM, attended voluntarily and was not under arrest, according to the first page of the transcript.
It identifies the interviewer with the initials of ‘JN’, while the names of those present were redacted. Most questions and majority of their answers had been redacted and it was not known who had done this.
In the alleged conversation, Mr Mir disclosed having meetings with officials of the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), getting 800,000 pounds per annum from them, having sent “people to India for weapon training” and, above all, that Muttahida chief Altaf Hussain knew about it.
In reply to a question about funding by India, Mr Mir, according to the document, said: “In about 1994 we started getting some money, some of our frozen accounts were released. In 1995/96 I took over the finances from Nusrat and [redacted] that money was coming from India. Mr Hussein knew about it...[redacted]”.
According to the document, Mr Mir said that apart from him, MQM’s Mohammad Anwar, Dr F (probably Dr Imran Farooq) and Mr Hussain knew about the Indian funding.
“No one but the four of us knew about it. We did not want it to come out that MQM was receiving [funds] from Indians. It was very secret,” the transcript quoted him as telling the interviewer.
He told the questioner: “The Indian government funded us because they thought it was good to support us.”
Answering another question that too was redacted in the document, he said: “I have no idea what we could give them in return, when we were in the government we had no power whilst in that government. When I met the Indians I did not hear us say anything specific that we could do for them.”
“I would say that the meetings with Indians included training. To my understanding training was done – firearms training. Going back to 1996 when MQM was founded it provided training. I assume that this was included as part of our talks with Indians.”
In reply to another question, Mr Mir said: “We sent people to India to have weapons training for self defence.... I agree that MQM have been involved in tit for tat killings and violence. For example [redacted]...”
“I cannot say that we have killing teams, but there are people [redacted]...There are people who would get involved in unauthorised violence that is not sanctioned and would be displaced, chucked out of the party. No one in my party has discussed these killing teams. The coordination team would not discuss this.”
Meanwhile, the MQM said in a press release that it was investigating the “fabricated statement” and that its legal team was in touch with the British authorities.
It said that airing a statement on media by linking it with a senior member of the MQM UK, Tariq Mir, was nothing but a part of the ongoing media trial of the party.
Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2015