KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement London’s (MQM-L) Deputy Convener Professor Hasan Zafar Arif was found dead under mysterious circumstances on the back seat of his car on Sunday morning.
The family and friends claimed that Prof Arif, 72, went missing since Saturday evening, and later the MQM-L leader was found dead in his silver-coloured Mitsubishi lancer from the Ilyas Goth in Karachi’s Ibrahim Hyderi neighbourhood.
“The police found the body from a car after the police received information on Police helpline 15 from a citizen,” said Ibrahim Hyderi’s DSP Irfan Zaman. He added that the cops were able to identify the deceased with the help of his ID card.
The police later shifted the body to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for medico-legal formalities where a large number of his family members, relatives, friends and party workers had reached.
Although, traces of blood were found on the deceased’s face, as the victim’s nose and head were bleeding, hospital officials said initial results from the post-mortem exam did not reveal any signs of torture.
“The postmortem has been conducted and we did not find any torture marks on his body,” said MLO of the JPMC Dr Sheraz. “We have taken samples for the chemical examination to ascertain the actual cause of the death.”
The doctors also said that the deceased died of a natural death and most probably the cause was a heart attack.
Meanwhile, the family of the deceased academic demanded an independent inquiry over the death. “The body was found from the back seat of the car even though he was driving and Ibrahim Hyderi was not even in his route,” said the deceased’s brother Qamar Arif.
Qamar said, “We started looking for him after he did not return home till late night and his cellphone was also switched off.” He added that they learnt about the death of the MQM-L leader through the news media.
MQM-L’s legal aid committee member Abdul Majeed Karwani, said, “He was last seen in his friend’s office in Saddar and since then had gone missing.”
“He [Prof Arif] was with me on Saturday evening but left earlier than usual by saying that he was going home [in Phase 4, Defence] to spend time with his daughter as she was leaving for London.”
Karwani added that the incident came to his notice when he received a phone call from Prof Arif’s wife in the morning about his disappearance.
Police officials said that they were waiting for the chemical examination report, and would register a case if that report indicates that Prof Arif was murdered.
In October 2016, Sindh Rangers took Prof Arif and another MQM-London leader in custody from outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) before they could address a news conference.
Prior to his detention, Arif had been named in the coordination committee, formed by MQM-L founder Altaf Hussain, to handle the party affairs as Farroq Sattar had broken away from the London faction of the MQM.
Prof Arif had been booked for allegedly facilitating and listening to MQM founder’s August 22 speech outside KPC.
However, Prof Arif was later released from the Central Jail, Karachi in April 2017.
The MQM-L, in a statement, said that Prof Arif’s death was an extrajudicial killing.
“Prof Arif, a man of principle, was a harmless personality. He wanted due rights for the poor class, including Muhajirs,” said head of party’s international secretariat Syed Qasim Ali Raza.
“He was abducted on December 9, and for 24 hours yesterday, law enforcers kept him in illegal confinement and then killed him extra-judicially just because he was a supporter and representative of Altaf Hussain.”
Meanwhile, the London group’s rival the MQM-P’s coordination committee, in a press statement, also expressed sympathy with the deceased’s family.
Bilawal Bhutto’s statement
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed deep sorrow and grief over the sad demise of Prof Hassan Zarar Arif whose dead body was found in Karachi’s Ibrahim Haidry.
In a statement, PPP Chairman expressed concern over the media reports about his disappearance and unnatural death of Prof Hassan Zafar Arif and asked Home Minister to inquire into these reports.
He said that Prof Hassan Zafar Arif was a progressive political activist and he had played an active role during the struggle against dictatorial rule of General Zia.
A noted intellectual
Dr Arif, a noted intellectual, was a former associate professor at the University of Karachi’s Philosophy department, apart from being a former fellow at the Harvard University.
A diehard leftist, who struggled for his ideology, had never been a supporter of the MQM or its founder Altaf Hussain’s ideology throughout his life. He was a novice in the MQM as he had joined the London-based group following Altaf Hussain’s August 22 incendiary speech. Since the speech, Prof Arif was leading the MQM-L in Pakistan.
Earlier, Prof Arif had been associated with the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
His funeral prayers were offered at the Anwarul Uloom in Gulberg, which was attended by a large number of family members, relatives, friends and party workers and supporters. He was later laid to rest at the Sakhi Hassan graveyard.
MQM-L leader Nadeem Nusrat also condemned with the following words: