KARACHI: A statement attributed to senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Tariq Mir allegedly revealing that the MQM had received Indian funding was not a document of London Metropolitan Police, according to a BBC-Urdu report posted on its website on Tuesday.
“After carefully examining the document we can confirm that it was not a police document,” London Metropolitan Police spokesman Alan Crockford told BBC in his brief response to their email with regard to the authenticity of Mr Mir’s alleged statement.
According to the BBC report, the spokesman also said that the police had carefully reviewed the alleged confessional statement published in different newspapers of Pakistan and found that it was not a document in the record of the London police.
On June 26, TV anchor Shahid Masood showed in his programme a six-page transcript of the alleged statement of Mr Mir to British authorities in 2012. He posted the document on Twitter and the next day i.e. on June 27 every news outlet in the country lifted the statement from the social media and aired its contents.
According to the alleged statement, Mr Mir, a former member of the MQM coordination committee, said that he had held meetings with officials of the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing, and received 800,000 pounds per annum from them, sent “people to India for weapon training” and, above all, Muttahida chief Altaf Hussain knew about it.
The said statement came a few days after freelance British journalist Owen Bennett-Jones claimed in a report posted on the website of the BBC News that an unnamed Pakistani authoritative source had informed him that two leaders of the MQM had told British investigators that they had been receiving funds from the Indian government.
Also on Tuesday, anchor Dr Masood showed the title page of another document, an alleged police interview of one Sarfaraz Ahmed Merchant in his TV programme and later posted it online. Mr Merchant is not a member of the MQM but he also was facing money-laundering investigation and was arrested in 2013. He is currently on police bail.
Apparently, he released the document to substantiate the alleged statement of Mr Mir, as the last paragraph of Mr Merchant’s alleged interview with British police reads: “Interviews under caution were conducted with Tariq MIR and Mohammad ANWAR in 2012 in relation to a separate investigation. During the interviews both Mr MIR and Mr ANWAR stated that MQM was receiving funding from the Indian government.”
However, when former Pakistan ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani asked him on Twitter whether the document had been verified and acknowledged by the Metropolitan Police, Dr Masood replied: “BBC should be asked about the proofs as they aired the documentary. I just shared, what they mentioned!”
Meanwhile, the MQM said in a statement that the media trial of the party should be stopped after the clarification of the London police. It said that the media and its political opponents should demonstrate responsibility and instead of wasting their energy on MQM pay attention to the serious problems being faced by the country.
Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2015