A senior officer of the Sindh police alleged in a dramatic news conference on Thursday that Indian military intelligence agency RAW trained the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to create unrest in Karachi. Calling the MQM more dangerous than the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), SSP Malir Rao Anwar called for banning the party.
SSP Rao paraded before the media two ‘RAW-trained terrorists’ – Muhammad Junaid Khan and Tahir Rehan alias Lamba – and claimed that they were affiliated with the MQM. Quoting from the ‘confessional statements’ of the suspects, he said: “The MQM is involved in anti-state activities.”
The police officer, who has claimed to have gunned down around 100 terrorists during the ongoing Karachi operation, said that following a tip-off, the police raided a house in Gulshan-e-Maymar’s Ahsanabad locality and arrested the two suspects and recovered a huge cache of weapons.
“RAW has been training MQM workers for carrying out terrorist activities in Karachi,” SSP Rao alleged. “The workers are trained in bomb-making and handling sophisticated weapons. The MQM workers trained by RAW are behind the unrest in Karachi, including the murder of doctors and professors.”
He said if the MQM was banned, then he would stand between the political party and their frequent protest calls that shut down the financial hub of the country. “Funds for foreign trips of MQM leaders and activists and terrorist activities in Karachi are generated by the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation, the party’s welfare organisation,” he further alleged.
Quoting the suspects’ confessions, SSP Rao said they received their orders from MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Nadeem Nusrat (head of the party’s international secretariat) and Muhammad Anwar (MQM leader of allegedly Indian origin).
“Former Lines Area sector in-charge Javed alias Langra managed to reach India in 1993 because of his links with RAW,” he alleged, adding that Javed Langra and his brother Naveed became Indian citizens and were supporting the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. “Javed Langra is settled in Okhla, a neighbourhood of Delhi, where he runs his property business.”
The police officer claimed that ‘terrorists’ reached India through Bangkok and usually returned illegally from Kashmir to Lahore. “The MQM rewards terrorists with jobs for their services. We have a lot of evidences to prove the allegations.”
One of the suspects, Tahir Lamba, told the media that whenever the MQM issued a strike call, he forced the shopkeepers to close their businesses. He denied being involved in any other criminal activities.
“MQM leaders Zulfiqar Haider and Muhammad Anwar facilitate, oversee and issue orders for all criminal activities, while former MQM Karachi Tanzeemi Committee chief Hammad Siddiqui, Farooq Saleem and Tabish are responsible for the activities in Karachi,” Lamba alleged.
He claimed that Zulfiqar Haider had directed them to reach India for arms training. “Therefore, we rushed to India, where an MQM leader named Tariq Bedi welcomed us and Tariq Zaidi alias Sunny took us to a militant camp in Dehradun. A RAW agent named Akram helped us cross the border and train with the Indian army and RAW.”
Lamba alleged that he had seen 20 to 25 MQM workers being trained at a RAW camp. “A subedar named Ram trained us at the camp. After their training, the workers head to Bangkok.”
The other detainee, Junaid Khan, said a man named Waqas arranged their passports and visas for India. He said they returned to Pakistan in 2004. He claimed to have met Imtiaz alias Guddu in jail, saying that Imtiaz had killed Azeem Ahmed Tariq, the then chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement.
The two detainees were remanded by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on charges of possessing explosives and illegal weapons.
According to the prosecution, Lamba and Junaid were arrested by the police two days ago. The investigation officer (IO) told ATC-I that the suspects were involved in terrorist activities and were planning to destabilise the country.
The court was told that there were many other RAW agents operating in the city, and to trace their whereabouts the detainees needed to be interrogated.
The hearing was conducted inside the chamber of the judge, Bashir Ahmed Khoso, who remanded the suspects to police until May 13. The judge directed the IO to submit a progress report in the next hearing.
SSP Rao Anwar suspended
Taking notice of SSP Rao Anwar’s ‘unusual’ press conference, the Sindh police chief suspended him late Thursday night and directed him to report to the Central Police Office. SSP East Peer Muhammad Shah has been given the additional charge of Malir district.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.