The government decided on Thursday to formally ask British authorities for access to key information on alleged ties between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Indian government a day after the BBC reported that the party had received funds and training from New Delhi.
“I will write an official letter from the government of Pakistan to the British government, requesting access to details pertaining to the disclosures made in the BBC report,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a news conference following a meeting with British High Commissioner in Pakistan Philip Barton.
Nisar said the letter would be dispatched today (Friday) on Barton’s recommendations. “We have taken up the matter with the UK and as per international laws it is UK’s responsibility to facilitate,” he told reporters.
The minister added that he had conveyed Pakistan’s concerns over the ‘serious disclosure of facts’ to the British envoy. “The disclosure of sensitive facts demands thorough investigation,” he said.
Nisar said the BBC report on the alleged MQM-India nexus had strengthened Pakistan’s apprehensions against the neighbouring country. “On multiple occasions in the past, our [intelligence] agencies informed us and other countries of Indian involvement in Pakistan,” he said in reply to a question about whether it was the first time that reports of the MQM receiving support from India had emerged.
“The highest level of leadership in India has admitted to their country’s involvement in other countries,” the interior minister added while referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s acknowledgement that New Delhi had played a part in the events of 1971 that led to the breakup of Pakistan.
“The government and people of Pakistan are fully committed to taking the matter to its logical conclusion. Pakistan will leave no stone unturned to reach the facts since the issue is very important for the nation’s security,” he said.
Nisar urged the media not to give the impression that the claims made by the BBC report applied to the MQM as a whole, saying “these allegations are against a few people”. He also stressed that the party’s voters in Karachi “are as patriotic as we are”. Responding to a question, the minister said: “I don’t think Owen Bennett-Jones met with any Pakistani official for the BBC report.”
About his meeting with the British high commissioner, he said the murder MQM convener Dr Imran Farooq also came under discussion. “I recalled that our [Pakistani] agencies had shared information about the case with Scotland Yard,” he said. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the interior ministry to thoroughly investigate the claims made by the BBC and submit a report asap.
The interior minister met the premier at the Prime Minister’s House along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi. During the meeting, Nisar shared with Prime Minister Nawaz the initial details of the BBC report and said concerned departments of the interior ministry had been directed to probe into the matter.
The case of the missing necklace
Responding to a question about the missing necklace donated by wife of Turkey’s prime minister for victim of the 2010 floods during his news conference, Nisar, in a lighter vein, said “the necklace has started its journey on foot from Multan and is likely to reach today [Friday].”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ