Just hours before his execution, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) convicted worker Saulat Mirza alleged in a supposed video confession that he killed former KESC Director Shahid Hamid on the directives of party chief Altaf Hussain.
According to video released by a private television channel late on Wednesday, Mirza alleged that he received the order for the ‘hit’ from Altaf at MQM leader Babar Ghauri’s residence.
Mirza revealed that orders were given on telephone by the party chief himself. Usually, the party chief would either give orders himself or through the likes of Babar Ghauri.
He further alleged that people whom the party wanted to save from police torture are provided protection in police stations through Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan. Even during the PPP’s government, he was facilitated in jail and allowed to meet family members in separate rooms.
In the video, shot apparently on death row in Mach Jail, shows Mirza claiming that Altaf would not let anyone to rise in the party, adding that the MQM chief ordered the murder of Azeem Tariq when he started rising within the party ranks. Similarly, when former Karachi Mayor Mustafa Kamal started getting popular among masses, he was disgracefully thrown out of the party.
Mirza in his video message appealed to the co-party workers to take heed from his fate, of how he was used and then later discarded like ‘used tissue paper’.
The death row convict said earlier he was afraid for the safety of his family.
Saulat said he was not appealing to commute his sentence, but was asking to delay it.
Altaf Hussain refutes allegations
MQM chief Altaf Hussain refuted allegations made by Saulat Mirza in his supposed confessional video, terming them as lies. He further claimed that the confessional video of Saulat Mirza had been released by ‘agencies’.
“I have never met Saulat Mirza and have never spoken to him,” said Altaf in a television interview, adding that it was the first time that he had seen a video of a convicted death row inmate being released.
Meanwhile MQM leader Babar Ghauri denied the allegations levelled by Mirza against him, saying that he never ordered Saulat to kill anyone on the instructions of Altaf Hussain.
Saulat Mirza’s execution stayed
In dramatic turn of events, just minutes after his ‘confessional’ video was broadcast, his execution was stayed for 72 hours, Express News reported.
The decision was reportedly taken by the President on the request of Interior Ministry.
Sources in the Presidency told The Express Tribune that the President was likely to stay Mirza’s execution who was scheduled to be hanged at the Mach Jail on Thursday morning.
“It is likely that Mirza’s execution is delayed for another 72 hours”, the official said. He added that the Presidential orders to stay Mirza’s execution had been sent to Mach jail authorities through the Balochistan home department.
However, jail officials say they have yet to receive orders to halt the execution.
Some though wanted to know whether the video was manipulated
Members of MQM said they wanted to see confession videos of others hanged
Sindh governor rejects Mirza’s allegations
The Sindh Governor in a statement early on Thrusday said that the Sindh government has never provided protection to any criminal as he rejected all allegations levelled by Mirza.
A spokesperson for the Governor Sindh said that no matter which party was the criminal affiliated with, they never provided protection.
Terming the Mirza’s revelations crucial, Interior Ministry said they need time to investigate his allegations.
MQM terms Mirza’s ‘confession’ a conspiracy
Later, the MQM’s Rabita Committee rejected allegations levelled by Saulat Mirza.
According to a statement released by the party early on Thursday, the Rabita Committee said that this was part of a ‘media trial’ of the MQM.
They claimed that being on death row, Mirza was under great mental stress. In such a situation, he was enticed with the promise of a delay in his execution to read out a pre-determined statement against the MQM, as was plain from his video. They added that the purpose of the video was to defame the party.
The Rabita committee further said it was unprecedented that a video message of a prisoner in death cell had been recorded an aired. They added that once the death warrants are issued for a prisoner, they are not allowed to meet any one, save their their family members one last time.
Contesting the legality of conducting such recordings, MQM rabita committee members asked that if this practice is precedented and in public interest, why were not similar ‘confessions’ of those terrorists who attacked the GHQ and former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf recorded and aired?
They added that this was a conspiracy against the party which will not succeed.