ISLAMABAD: A key London-based accused in a money laundering case involving top Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders has agreed to travel to Pakistan to testify before a committee investigating allegations of Indian funding to the MQM, The Express Tribune learnt on Monday.
Sarfaraz Merchant is expected to fly in soon to record his statement before the investigation committee formed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on a mutually agreed date, according to sources.
Merchant, a close friend of MQM’s senior leader Muhammad Anwar, claims that Scotland Yard has told him the party received funds from India. The FIA formed the investigation committee before formally approaching Merchant last week to record his statement.
Initially, Merchant was reluctant because he had some reservations, including over the ‘language’ used in the FIA summons, and the agency’s lack of experience to investigate the sensitive case.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan directed the FIA on Monday to address Merchant’s reservations. “The FIA director should personally contact Merchant and alleviate his reservations,” Nisar said in his directives to the agency’s director Inam Ghani. He described Merchant as a ‘respectable material witness’.
Subsequently, Ghani called up Merchant and addressed his reservations.
Merchant has claimed in an interview that the Metropolitan Police had seized several weapons during a raid on the London residence of MQM chief Altaf Hussain. The raid was part of investigation into money laundering charges against the party.
Scotland Yard also told Merchant that the MQM had received funds from India as a Dubai-based Indian company used to transfer money into MQM’s accounts.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2016.