KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Friday sought an interior ministry notification pertaining to transfer of investigations and trial proceedings of a money laundering case against Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain and others from Karachi to Islamabad.

The Federal Investigation Agency had registered the money laundering case against Mr Hussain in October 2017 — a year after the British investigators had dropped the same probe against him because of “insufficient evidence”.

The FIA has also named Karachi’s Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra, former federal minister Babar Ghauri, Khawaja Sohail Mansoor, Khawaja Rehan and former senator Ahmed Ali in the FIR stating that funds from the bank accounts of the party’s charity wing — the Khidmat-i-Khalq Foundation — were illegally transferred to the accounts of these persons.

On Friday, the matter was fixed before the ATC-II judge for submission of the final investigation report by the investigating officer. However, the IO informed the court that the interior ministry had decided to transfer the ongoing investigation and trial proceedings from this court to an ATC in Islamabad.

Arrest warrant against MQM founder reissued

He also showed a copy of the notification, said to have been issued by the interior ministry to this effect, received via WhatsApp on his cellular phone.

He requested the court to adjourn the matter in the light of the federal government’s order.

The judge directed the IO to produce the original notification issued by the interior ministry on the next date and adjourned the hearing till Oct 18.

Meanwhile, the court reissued a non-bailable warrant for the arrest of the MQM founder till the next date.

On a complaint of UK-based businessman Sarfaraz Merchant, a case was registered against the London-based MQM supremo in Pakistan.

In a progress report submitted to the court on the last date, the FIA’s counterterrorism wing had disclosed that 69 accounts of the MQM, Altaf Hussain and others had been detected abroad and record of the same had been requisitioned through the Foreign Office. “The reply is still awaited,” it added.

The report stated that during an investigation it had transpired that money was collected from people through extortion and ransom and deposited in the bank accounts of the KKF.

KKF’s books have been taken into possession during a raid and scrutinised, the report alleged, adding that it had been found that Rs1.32 billion was collected through these books during 2013-14-15 and the amounts were also deposited through bank transactions in the KKF accounts.

“These amounts were further transferred to the personal accounts of the trustees of KKF, MQM accounts and other firms and subsequently those amounts were sent abroad to the accounts of the MQM UK, Simon and Simons in the UK and other accounts, including personal accounts of trustees,” it stated.

The agency had stated that the federal government had also engaged Barrister Toby Cadman in the UK, who had also visited Pakistan. Mr Cadman was provided a report regarding detailed record required from the UK and other countries, the report stated, adding that a reply was still awaited.

The report had added that a dossier-I had also been prepared and forwarded to Mr Cadman for assistance in the money laundering case in the UK. KKF donors were being examined and persons who have received the amounts from the KKF’s accounts were also being examined, the report stated.

A case was registered against the MQM chief and the co-suspects under Sections 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), 122 (collecting arms, etc, with intention of waging war against Pakistan), 123-A (condemnation of the creation of the state, and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 477-A (fraudulent cancellation, destruction, etc, of will, authority to adopt, or valuable security), and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2010 as well as Sections 11 (H), 11 (I) and 11 (J) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2018

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