Tariq Mir, a senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), has been revealed as one of the senior leaders of the party who told UK authorities about the nexus between his party and the Indian government.
Mir, whose association with MQM in recent months cannot be established with certainty, told London Metropolitan Police at a police station located in Edgeware road that Indians used to pay 800,000 pound sterling to the party on a yearly basis for running operations.
Interestingly, according to transcripts of an interview conducted by the UK police on May 30, 2012, the MQM leader had made the statements ‘voluntarily’ and was ‘not under arrest’. The transcript of the interview was released by a senior journalist.
Read: Karachi unrest: MQM received funds, training from India, BBC
Mir told the British police that the party through couriers initially received the Indian money.
“At some stage our expenses (of the secretariat) were about 100,000 pounds per month. I was aware of our significant increase in funding as a result of the Indian connection. That funding continued for, I cannot be exact. But due to pounds 10,000 cash limit (on importing currency), on some occasions, we got businessmen to receive the money and use it to pay MQM’s expenses. This happened in about 1% of cases,” Mir told the police.
When told that the police had also interviewed MQM senior member Mohammad Anwar about Indian funding, Mir said the MQM sought money from all over.
Read: BBC reporter stands by MQM funding story
“The Indians approached us – questions were asked about people without passports, etc. … In about 1994, we started getting some money, some of our frozen accounts were released. In 1995-96, I took-over the finance from (Nadeem) Nusrat and … that money was coming from India,” he said.
Asked whether MQM chief Altaf Hussein knew about the Indian money, Tariq Mir said Hussein would receive all money coming in from India.
“He got his money from different sources. The Indian government funded us because they thought it was good to support us,” he added.
Read: BBC exposé: Pakistan asks UK to share details of ‘MQM-India nexus’
“It was very secret… The money would have come via Mr Anwar, because apart from me, Anwar and Dr F knew about the money. So far as I know, no one else in the party, apart from Anwar, had the money. No one but the four of us knew about it, we did not want to come out that MQM was receiving from Indians”.
According to the transcripts, Mir said he did not exactly remember when the meetings with Indians started.
“I do not remember when I first met with the Indians. … First meeting, with the Indians was in Vienna or Rome. (Mohammad) Anwar and (Altaf) Hussein were present. We had three or four meetings. One was definitely in Rome, one in Vienna, one in Zurich, one in a small city of Austria (Saltsburg); a meeting in Paraguay. First meeting was probably in Rome,” Mir asserted.
“The meetings were held whenever they wanted to meet. The purpose of the meetings was to get to know one and other; I believe their names were not the real names, they were never gave their (names),” Mir added.
Read: Establishment to seek treason trial against MQM chief Altaf Hussain
Tariq Mir said the Indian visitors who met with MQM leaders were from the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the head of delegation had direct access to the Indian Prime Minister.
About who initiated Indian money, Tariq Mir said he did not know for sure who facilitated getting the money to Altaf Hussein.
Mir said the largest amount of money he ever received was for house purchase, but he did not know what part of that funding came from India. “I would say a large part of the funding for houses came from the Indian money. I said earlier that London gets about Pound 800,000 per anum (this is not to include cost of purchasing houses) that has been fairly steady over the years”.
About funding request of pounds one million needed urgently to Indians, Mir said the pound one million would be to do with the houses…
“The request to Indians (related) for money for more workers. We asked for the funding but I do not believe the Indian people ever paid anything like what we wanted. Some of the expense may have gone on weapons training. People would have been sent to India to get some weapons training.
MQM says statement is 'fabricated'
MQM's Rabita Committee terming the documents as 'fabricated' said it was part of an ongoing media trial against the party.
“These statements claimed to be Mir’s are part of an ongoing media trial against the party,” the Rabita Committee said, according to Express News.
However, late last night, MQM spokesperson Wasay Jalil had said, “We are aware of some documents circulating online that claim to be transcripts from an interview with an MQM official; we have nothing to add at this time.”
Earlier this week, a BBC report claimed the MQM had received financial and logistical support from India. Citing an ‘authoritative’ Pakistani source, the report by Owen Bennett-Jones claimed that senior MQM officials, in formal recorded interviews, admitted before British authorities that the party has been receiving funds from the Indian government.
Quoting a Pakistani official, it said India had trained hundreds of MQM militants in explosives, weapons and sabotage over the last 10 years in camps in north and north-east India. “Before 2005-2006, the training was given to a small number of mid-ranking members of the MQM,” the official was quoted as saying. More recently greater numbers of more junior party members have been trained, the report added.
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