BBC reporter stands by MQM funding story

Published: June 26, 2015


Journalist Owen Bennett-Jones, whose story on MQM receiving funds from India has created political turmoil in Pakistan, said on Thursday that his sources are authentic and he stands by every word of his story.

In a brief interview to a news channel, OBJ said it was against journalistic norms to disclose the sources, but all of sources were knowledgeable persons.

He refused to disclose if the sources were Pakistani or British. Replying to a question if his story can be used as evidence against MQM in the ongoing cases in London, OBJ said he does not know anything about it.

Read: Altaf refutes BBC’s ‘Raw agent’ allegations against MQM

“I am busy with my professional obligations,” he said. To another query, the seasoned reporter said that he has not prepared any follow-up of the story he had done on MQM.

On targeting the Muttahida, OBJ said it was not true. “In my book on Pakistan’s history, there are only two pages on  the MQM. I have never targeted any party personally,” he said.

On the reaction of the Indian government, the reporter said that Indian authorities had declared the news as baseless.

Read: BBC report strengthens our apprehensions against India: Nisar

Regarding the authenticity of the news about recovery of a list of arms and ammunition from an office of the MQM in London during the money-laundering investigations, OBJ said it was true.

However, he remained adamant on not giving a faintest hint not even geographical location like UK or Pakistan about his sources. He said that BBC is a very responsible organisation and will never carry unauthenticated news.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • Shuaib Bhat
    Jun 26, 2015 - 8:39AM

    Thanks for revealing the truth.Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 26, 2015 - 9:04AM

    So BBC reporter verified it.
    “BBCi s a very responsible organisation and will never carry unauthenticated news.”
    says everything.Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 26, 2015 - 9:20AM

    Remember, BBC is also heavily staffed by Indians, so what do they gain by fabricating this…?Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 26, 2015 - 9:23AM

    ET: check line 2 of your piece: “…has created a political…..(what)..”. “Furor” “firestorm”
    etc. ?Recommend

  • ask
    Jun 26, 2015 - 9:53AM

    @Mrs Juicy Gossips:
    Whether story is true or false Pakistan loses either way if discord and suspicion spread. It means only a minor gain for India though.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Jun 26, 2015 - 10:00AM

    We appreciate the efforts of BBC for revealing and investigating the MQM true face .In fact this was the duty of Pakistan Judiciary what BBC has done .Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 26, 2015 - 10:05AM

    @Mrs Juicy Gossips
    India or MQM can file defamation suit….As BBC standbys what they reported..Recommend

  • Asok
    Jun 26, 2015 - 10:29AM

    The sources are Pakistani. OBJ may think they are knowledgeable, but it’s also quite possible they are putting out misinformation for propaganda purposes. Read the story again, carefully.
    Read the BBC story carefully. All allegations are made by Pakistani officials or sources.

    a) “Officials in Pakistan’s MQM party have told the UK authorities they received Indian government funds, the BBC learnt from an authoritative Pakistani source.”
    b) A Pakistani official has told the BBC that India has trained hundreds of MQM militants over the past 10 years.
    c) “the UK authorities found a list itemising weapons, including mortars, grenades and bomb-making equipment in an MQM property, according to Pakistani media reports.”Recommend

  • Mustajab
    Jun 26, 2015 - 10:37AM

    from India has created a political in Pakistan — Political uproar?? please edit Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 26, 2015 - 11:02AM

    @ask: I don’t see it that way. Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 26, 2015 - 11:04AM

    @Haider: Yes, we look forward to seeing them in Court !Recommend

  • satender rajput
    Jun 26, 2015 - 11:26AM

    We hardly care about this news. It’s Pakistan internal matter.Recommend

  • ask
    Jun 26, 2015 - 11:34AM

    @Mrs Juicy Gossips: I didn’t expect you to. Veracity of the tale is immaterial for India, it matters only for MQM & others of Karachi. Assume story is fabricated by Indian staffers. Who does it damage? India? Under current style of anti-Pak thinking Indian PM gets a better image boost among his frenzied supporters. Rest of the world (read USA) doesn’t care. But in Karachi the miasma of suspicion will rise on & on. It can lead to more strains within Pak. Assume story is true: same effect. Either way Modi has noting to lose even if gain too is nebulous, in the long run.Recommend

  • fida hussain basum
    Jun 26, 2015 - 11:45AM

    to mister nisar interior minister
    what does your department do. this is a serious issue but you are trying to tern it into a non issue. Recommend

  • Lal Tamatar
    Jun 26, 2015 - 12:08PM

    @Asok “British authorities held formal recorded interviews with senior MQM officials who told them the party was receiving Indian funding, the BBC was told”. Nothing Pakistani about this,OBJ probably has their statements with him in case of a law suit.Recommend

  • John
    Jun 26, 2015 - 12:26PM

    If MQM files a lawsuit, they’ll be forced to reveal their funding sources anyways. Pretty sure, the funds aren’t coming from legal sources.Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Jun 26, 2015 - 12:34PM

    In order to prove the authenticity of his report, Owen Bennett-Jones claims that BBC is a very responsible organisation and will never carry unauthenticated news. However, the instances where BBC apologized for its reports, agreed to pay damages and sacked its reporters belie his claim. Interested readers can refer to plentiful details available on the web on this subject.

    OBJ also claims that all his sources were knowledgeable persons.Maybe so, but being a knowledgeable person does not necessarily mean being honest and completely unbiased person. For example, former British prime minister Tony Blair was indeed a knowledgeable person but that did not stop him from fabricating stories about Saddam’s Hussain’s weapons of mass destruction on which pretext he invaded Iraq jointly with another knowledgeable person George Bush, and together they caused the deaths of nearly one million innocent Iraqis and thousands of their own, apart from creating circumstances which have destabilized the whole region.

    Karachi Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 26, 2015 - 12:55PM

    Someone called a spade a spade. Thank you Sir.Recommend

  • singh
    Jun 26, 2015 - 1:01PM

    Relations between india & pak r already very tense. Why this thug got a chance to publish this guessed story now? Everybody knows that british r famous for their divide & rule policy. They create mess where ever they go. They were responsible for partition of india. See the mess in iraq, libya & afghanistan. This thug must be prosecuted now.@Haider: Recommend

  • Radiohead
    Jun 26, 2015 - 1:11PM

    @Lal Tamatar,
    What part of the BBC story you didnt get,

    All of the story is based on “authoritative pakistani source” and OBJ criminally neglected
    to investigate the claims involving his own country. Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 26, 2015 - 1:17PM

    @satender rajput: Then, pray tell, why are you on this forum ? Nothing else to do?Recommend

  • ziaurrehman
    Jun 26, 2015 - 1:22PM

    Bbc is a british and so is Altaf. If Altaf has a problem, he can sue bbc and get millions of dollars which he can use for his charity organization. (:Recommend

  • A-No.1
    Jun 26, 2015 - 1:23PM

    He wants to push up sales of his book on Pakistan and the BBC producers fell for it. Nothing new. It has happened before at the BBC.Recommend

  • Mrs Juicy Gossips
    Jun 26, 2015 - 1:24PM

    @ask: Read: what does BBC gain by fabricating this ?? Recommend

  • Radiohead
    Jun 26, 2015 - 1:38PM

    You must be probe for revealing the corporate secret.
    LOL even thou I agree with your revelations.Recommend

  • ask
    Jun 26, 2015 - 2:01PM

    @Mrs Juicy Gossips:
    It is not my case that it is fabricated. It is not my stand that it isn’t. I referred to either possibility since you were specific about Indian staffers, as if they decide BBC policy or execution in such matters. Matter of different debate about what gains accrue to OBJ or to his employer for getting good viwership/readership from Pakistanis. IndoPak hatred is boring for most but for a some chaps it is good copy.Recommend

  • romm
    Jun 26, 2015 - 2:23PM

    @satender rajput:
    Mumbai attack are too then Indian Internal Matter. Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 26, 2015 - 4:55PM

    @satendar rajput
    India funding to create instability in Pakistan is not a news for IndiaRecommend

  • Hyder
    Jun 26, 2015 - 6:04PM

    @Haider: I suppose you take his word as gospel then. Recommend

  • Geem
    Jun 26, 2015 - 6:08PM

    Perhaps the story is made up in order to project MQM at international canvas. In future UN may intervene easily for worst situation in Karachi.Recommend

  • Harris
    Jun 26, 2015 - 9:52PM

    You forgot the most damning evidence. They have interviews where MQM officials admit to receiving Indian funds.

    It is only natural that he does not name his sources. We have already seen how the MQM treats those whom it sees as defectors…Recommend

  • Hawkins
    Jun 27, 2015 - 4:41AM

    Another moment of shame for our eastern neighbors. With the recent revelations of the senior MQM leader Tariq Mir there is little room left for apprehensions regarding the Indian funding in which he admitted that the Indians used to pay 800,000 pound sterling to the MQM per annum for running its operations. RAW should now be included into the list of globally banned terror organizations for conspiring to kill innocent people in Karachi. It should also be held accountable for its state sponsored terror activities which RAW is party to in the Indian Occupied Kashmir not to mention its role in the genocide of the Khalistan movement.Recommend

  • Asok
    Jun 30, 2015 - 10:08PM

    @Harris, UK police have confirmed that the claim of such a confessional statement is fake.

    Now what do you have to say?Recommend

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