The United Kingdom has agreed to hand over evidence to Pakistan in connection with the Imran Farooq murder case, it emerged on Tuesday.
Toby Cadman, the lawyer for the Pakistan government, told Dawn that he had submitted the documents related to the case in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The documents include the index of evidence as well as a letter from the UK government agreeing to share the originals.
Additionally, he confirmed that Pakistan had made a request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) to transfer evidence relevant to the inquiry regarding the Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader's murder.
Cadman said he is currently in Pakistan to deliver the letter of acceptance, the evidence list and to attend a hearing of the case.
Meanwhile, a two-member high court bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb, overturned a trial court's verdict and allowed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take more time to collect evidence. The court said that the trial should be completed within two months after the submission of evidence.
The letter of acceptance was also submitted in the court during today's hearing.
Dr Farooq, a senior leader of the MQM, was murdered outside his home in London in 2010.
In June, the FIA special prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz had informed an anti-terrorism court (ATC) that the UK was ready to share evidence in the murder case provided the accused was not given the death penalty in the case of conviction.
Imtiaz had told the ATC that the UK Central Authority, in response to correspondence related to sharing of evidence in the murder case, said that European laws did not permit sharing of evidence with a country where the offence was punishable by death.
He had added that the UK government had asked Pakistan to give an assurance that the convict would not be given the death sentence on the basis of the evidence related to the murder.
The special prosecutor said the Pakistani government had told the UK Central Authority that the matter was under consideration and for this particular case, the law might be amended or the presidential pardon might be invoked to commute a death sentence to life imprisonment. However, he had said, the top law office would have a final say in this matter.
Earlier, the Islamabad High Court had directed the ATC to conclude the trial by October 2018. The FIA, on the other hand, had sought time from the trial court to produce evidence which it was expecting to get from the UK under the MLA request.
Initially, the UK authorities had not responded to Pakistan’s request for the MLA.
Two suspects in the case — Khalid Shamim and Syed Mohsin Ali — have recorded their confessional statements before the magistrate, saying that Dr Farooq was killed because he was a "potent threat to the leadership of the MQM". However, the suspects later backtracked from their confessional statement, saying that they recorded the previous statement under duress.
Another suspect, Moazzam Ali, has not yet recorded his confessional statement in the case.