ISLAMABAD: With the arrival of a Scotland Yard team in the federal capital to quiz suspects in the murder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) convener Dr Imran Farooq, the government has formed a three-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe into ‘abetment and assistance’ in the incident.
The 50-year-old MQM leader was clubbed and stabbed to death near his North London residence in Edgware on September 16, 2010 on his way home from work.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Islamabad Director Inam Ghani, who will lead the JIT, said the body would assist and coordinate with the Scotland Yard team with prior permission of the interior ministry.
He said the JIT was formed under the Protection of Pakistan Act (POPA) with the exclusive mandate to investigate ‘abetment and assistance’ in Farooq’s murder. Introducing amendments in the POPA, the federal government had recently empowered the FIA to interrogate suspects in custody for 90 days.
“The JIT can extend its scope of investigation beyond the recently-arrested suspects,” Ghani said. “We can interrogate more suspects to ascertain whether they have any connection with the murder.”
The FIA official also confirmed that the JIT, which includes police and intelligence officials, held a meeting with the British investigators on the issue.
The Scotland Yard team is scheduled to quiz the main accused Moazzam Ali Khan, who was brought to Islamabad from Karachi last week. However, it is unclear whether the Pakistani officials and the Scotland Yard team would jointly interrogate him or if the visitors would rely on the assistance provided by the Pakistani investigators.
With the approval of the Pakistani authorities, the visiting team could also extend its stay to investigate various officials from Islamabad and Karachi who have been engaged in the case.
Commenting on the significance of the investigation, an interior ministry official said Britain has some of the best investigators, forensic technicians and laboratories in the world. “They are not only extremely proficient, but highly experienced as well.”
This is not the first time that a Scotland Yard team has arrived in Pakistan. A team of five investigators had been to the country in 2008 to assist Pakistani investigators following the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.