Pakistan’s security tsar has told The Express Tribune that the British government never made a formal request for extraditing the suspects of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Imran Farooq’s murder. “If they make such a request, we shall definitely think about it.”
Farooq was murdered near his London residence on September 16, 2010. He had gone into hiding in 1992 after a crackdown was launched against the MQM in Karachi.
A visiting Scotland Yard team is currently interrogating the murder suspects in Islamabad, an interior ministry official said. “The two-member team has already concluded questioning Moazzam Ali Khan.”
Moazzam, the prime suspect, was arrested from his house in Karachi’s Federal B Area in April. He was allegedly responsible for arranging visas, tickets and accommodation in England for Farooq’s two suspected killers.
The ministry official said the visiting team had now been provided access to another suspect. “They also seek access to the third accused,” another official said.
When Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar was asked during a recent press briefing if there was a possibility of handing over the suspects to the British police, he had said Pakistan was interrogating the suspects as well and would share the findings with the London police. “It’s a reciprocal approach, as well as an international obligation for us to cooperate with them.”
Senior security officials said the two countries were also deliberating on how to link Moazzam’s handing over with Islamabad’s wish of extraditing some Baloch separatists taking refuge in the UK.
They said that while there is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK, it is still possible to hand over the suspects to London, as per section IV of the Extradition Act 1972: “Where the federal government considers it expedient that the persons who, being accused or convicted of offence at places within, or within the jurisdiction of a foreign state, are or are suspected to be in Pakistan should be returned to that state.”
A member of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team probing allegations levelled against the MQM in a BBC documentary said: “We want cooperation. A give-and-take formula will work here.” The documentary claims that the Altaf Hussain-led party is being funded by the India’s premier spy agency Research and Analysis Wing.
The FIA team headed by Director Inam Ghani is investigating two key cases – the Imran Farooq murder case and the MQM’s alleged funding by India – and is likely to present its report to the interior ministry next month, added the agency official.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2015.