ISLAMABAD: The head of the United Kingdom’s investigation team probing the murder case of Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Dr Imran Farooq on Monday appeared before Islamabad’s Anti-Terrorism Court and submitted the original record of the case to the judge for perusal.
The UK Central Authority has already handed over copies of the record to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in response to a Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) request.
Detective Chief Inspector of the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Staurt Greenaway informed ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand that the code name of Dr Imran Farooq murder case was “Operation HASTOR” and that being the head of the investigation team he had examined all aspects of the incident in order to ascertain the truth.
He testified that all the evidence collected during the course of investigation was in his custody.
He produced the original map of the crime scene, post-mortem and forensic reports, CCTV footage of the incident, murder weapons, fingerprints of the accused persons, their passports, details of bank accounts, record related to admission of accused Mohsin Ali in the London Academy of Management Sciences (Lams) and his emails.
Twenty witnesses, including slain MQM leader’s widow, will testify through video link
After perusing the evidence, the judge returned it to the investigation team comprising Mr Greenaway, Detective Sergeant Kevin and Detective Constable David Frisby of MPS.
The accused — Mohsin, Mozzam Ali and Khalid Shamim — were produced before the court in tight security.
FIA’s special prosecutor Khawaja Mohammad Imtiaz submitted that under mutual understanding with the UK Central Authority, the custodian of the record had to testify in person, whereas other 20 witnesses in the UK, including widow of the slain MQM leader Shumalia Syeda Nazar, would testify through a video link.
The other witnesses are: neuropathologist Dr S. Al Sarraj, senior reporting fingerprint examiner Ann Cunningham, forensic pathologist Robert Capman, forensic service manager Stephen Twonson, director of Lams Asif Siddiqui, Urdu interpreter Najaf Syed, Detective Constable David Cornish, forensic practitioner Paul Grogan, Lams employee Edyta Silwa, MCB manager Rizwanul Haq, police officer Gerard Cummins, Khalid Khan Niazi of the Attorney General Office of Pakistan, Andrew Walker, Muazzain Ali Khan, Simon Whitehouse, Nick Kelly and Danny Hooper.
The court adjourned the hearing till Dec 5.
Initially, the UK authorities did not respond to Pakistan’s request for the MLA. The UK government had been reluctant to hand over the evidence to Pakistan since European laws did not permit sharing of evidence with a country where the offence was punishable by death.
However, the Pakistan government has assured the UK government that if convicted, the accused persons would not be given death penalty and also given assurance of amending the law.
The trial of the murder suspects has been standstill since last year as the prosecution case was stuck up because of non-availability of evidence.
Last year, the Islamabad High Court had directed the trial court to conclude the much-delayed trial by October 2018. However, the prosecution of the FIA repeatedly requested the court for extension of deadline since the British government was reluctant to share evidence related to the murder fearing that the accused might get death sentence if convicted.
Two suspects in the case — Khalid Shamim and Syed Mohsin Ali — have recorded their confessional statements before a magistrate, saying that Dr Farooq was killed because he was a “potent threat to the leadership of the MQM”. However, recently, these suspects backtracked from their confessional statement, saying that they recorded the previous statement under coercion.
Another suspect, Moazzam Ali, did not record his confessional statement before the magistrate.
The ATC indicted the accused for murder, abetment and hatching a conspiracy to kill under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code , read with the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
On Dec 5, 2015, the FIA had registered a case against the MQM chief and other party leaders for their alleged involvement in the 2010 murder.
Dr Farooq, a senior leader of the MQM, was stabbed to death outside his home in London in 2010.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2019