ISLAMABAD: In a confessional statement, made in custody, about his involvement in the murder of MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq, Khalid Shamim claimed that the killing was a “birthday gift” for party chief Altaf Hussain.
Shamim recorded his statement before a magistrate in Islamabad in January. The statement surfaced on Thursday after the prosecution brought it before an anti-terrorism court to strengthen its case against the suspects.
In the statement, Shamim claimed that Kamran, another suspect in the case, had revealed that MQM leader Mohammad Anwar wanted him (Shamim) to kill Farooq on Sept 16 because Sept 17 was Altaf Hussain’s birthday. He said Farooq’s party membership had been suspended when he surfaced in London in 1999 after a long time. Shamim said he once asked Altaf Hussain over the phone if Farooq was suspended because he wanted to be number two in the party.
“No one could become my number two or number three. Not even half of me,” Altaf Hussain had replied, the statement said.
The statement went on to say that Anwar told Shamim that the message regarding Farooq’s murder was for him as he (Farooq) was trying to establish a separate group while emphasising that “it should not happen”. While Farooq’s membership was restored in 2005, Anwar said the issue still existed and needed to be resolved.
When Shamim asked for money, he was told that it was not an issue. Subsequently, Shamim said he and All Pakistan Muttahida Student Organisation (APMSO) members Kamran and Mohsin Ali would meet and plan the murder at the MQM headquarters Nine Zero in Karachi.
Meanwhile, Farooq’s name was omitted from a booklet on the party’s guiding principles that was written by him in 1982, and its latest edition was printed without his name in 2009. In addition, Anwar said Altaf Hussain’s cousin Iftikhar Hussain was coming to Karachi for a wedding with the money needed for Farooq’s murder.
Iftikhar Hussain handed over an envelope containing £25,000 and said the money was for the work Hussain had discussed earlier, Shamim said. He added that the money was later transferred into Moazzam’s company account and used to process their admission into the London Academy of Management Sciences and for student visas.
After the murder of Mr Farooq near his apartment in Green Lane, Edgware, London, in September 2010, the statement said, the suspects went to Sri Lanka and then came to Karachi. Through his sources, Shamim learnt that Anwar had tasked members of the party’s chapter in South Africa to follow them and make sure they could not return to Pakistan.
He said they decided to leave the country out of fear for their lives and entered Afghanistan after paying one of Kamran’s friends, an agent, Rs50,000. After staying there for five years, Shamim and Mohsin decided to return to Pakistan while Kamran refused to return “until Altaf Hussain’s death”.
The two suspects were arrested while crossing into Pakistan at Chaman border in 2015.
On Dec 5, 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency had registered a case against Altaf Hussain, Anwar, Iftikhar Hussain, Moazzam, Shamim, Mohsin and Kamran for their alleged involvement in Farooq’s murder.
Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2016