ISLAMABAD: A day after the two-member team of Scotland Yard arrived in Islamabad to investigate Dr Imran Farooq’s murder case, the federal government on Tuesday formed a three-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the alleged suspects.
Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Director Islamabad Inam Ghani would lead the JIT in which police and intelligence agencies also have representation.
Ghani told The Express Tribune that the JIT was formed under Protection of Pakistan Act (POPA) with an exclusive mandate to probe “abetment and assistance” in Farooq's murder.
While expanding the scope of POPA, the federal government had recently granted the FIA powers to investigate suspects and holding them for a period of 90 days.
“The JIT can extend its scope of investigation beyond the recently arrested suspects in Imran Farooq case,” Ghani said, adding, “We can probe many suspects to examine if they have links with the MQM leader’s murder.”
The JIT will assist Scotland Yard, though only after soliciting permission from the interior ministry, he said. The JIT, however, has already held a meeting with British investigators in this regards.
However, it was not immediately clear if Pakistani officials and Scotland Yard team would jointly question the suspects or whether officials from London would only rely on the assistance of local investigators since the interior ministry had not provided any details on the mode of investigation that the JIT will be carrying out.
Read: British investigators begin work in Imran Farooq murder case
Meanwhile, the Scotland Yard is scheduled to kick off its investigations by questioning Moazzam Ali Khan, who had been shifted to Islamabad from Karachi last week. With approval of Pakistani authorities, the team can also extend its stay to investigate various officials from Islamabad and Karachi who have been engaged in the case.
Read: Imran Farooq murder: British investigators to quiz suspects: Nisar
Further, a senior official at the interior ministry said Islamabad was willing to grant Scotland Yard access to Khalid Shamim and Mohsin Ali Syed, the two suspects who had been arrested by the Frontier Corps from Chaman town of Balochistan.
This is not first time that the government of Pakistan has seen the Scotland Yard arrive in Pakistan to probe a case. A team of five investigators from London-based police visit Pakistan in 2008 to assist investigators following the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Imran Farooq had been stabbed to death near his home in Edgware, North London on September 16, 2010, as he was returning home from work.
Last week, Islamabad decided to allow British investigators access to three suspects linked to the case in its custody.
Read: Imran Farooq murder case: Suspects arrested in Chaman may have 'political' links
Since there is no treaty between Pakistan and the UK regarding exchange of suspects, there is little chance that Scotland Yard will be able to extradite the men to the UK for further investigation.
A special team of the Islamabad police is assisting the intelligence officials deputed for the security of foreign interrogators.