Funeral prayers for slain Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) convener Dr Imran Farooq were offered at a mosque in a London suburb on Thursday.
Dr Farooq was stabbed to death earlier on the eve of the birthday of MQM chief Altaf Hussain, September 16.
After the ceremony in London, his remains were kept at a mortuary in the West Hendon Islamic Centre. The body will be flown from London to Karachi at 9pm UK time on Friday night.
A second funeral ceremony is scheduled to take place on Saturday at Azizabad’s Jinnah Ground in Karachi. Preparations for burial at Yasinabad graveyard have been completed. A large number of MQM activists from all over the city and Hyderabad are expected to attend the event.
Strict security arrangements have been made for the ceremony in Karachi and law-enforcement authorities were drawing up plans to counter any possible threats. At the time of the filing of this report, Interior Minister Rehman Malik was in a late-night meeting with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad to finalise security plans specifically drawn up by the Capital City Police Officer Fayyaz Leghari. Police and Rangers personnel are already in a state of high alert due to the presence of President Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi, who is expected to stay here till Sunday.
According to a press release issued by the Nine-Zero, the MQM headquarters in Karachi, a large number of party leaders, including the chief Altaf Hussain, deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar, Tariq Jawed, Salim Shahzad, Anis Advocate, Muhammad Anwer, Syed Tariq Mir, Raza Haroon, Mustafa Kamal, Wasay Jalil, Mustafa Azizabadi, Qasim Ali Raza, Asif Siddiqui and Haider Abbas Rizvi attended the London ceremony. All of them, excluding the MQM chief, would accompany the body to its final resting place in Karachi.
Family members of the slain leader, including his father Farooq Ahmed, two brothers-in-law, widow, sons, mother and sisters were also present on the occasion.
UK High Commissioner for Pakistan Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Deputy High Commissioner Asif Ali Durrani, comedian Omar Sharif and social worker Ansar Burney also attended the ceremony.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2010.