An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Islamabad on Thursday ruled that MQM founder Altaf Hussain had ordered the killing of party’s senior leader Dr Imran Farooq, and handed life imprisonment to three accused in the murder case.
The judgment was read by ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand as the accused appeared before the court through a video link to attend the hearing. “The prosecution has succeeded in proving the case against all three of you,” remarked the judge during the hearing.
The accused, Khalid Shamim, Mohsin Ali Syed and Moazzam Ali had been in Adiala jail ever since they were arrested. Their sentences will run concurrently and their time already spent in jail will count towards their sentence, according to the detailed verdict issued. The court also ordered the sentenced individuals to pay Rs 1 million each to the heirs of the murdered MQM leader. It also issued perpetual arrest warrants for MQM founder Altaf Hussain, Iftikhar Hussain, Muhammad Anwar and Kashif Khan Kamran.
“In the instant case, the chain of evidence connects each and every accused who has performed a distinctive role for completing the task,” the verdict read. The court ruled that Altaf ordered the killing of Dr Farooq and two of his other senior party members in London communicated his orders to relevant people in Pakistan. Moazzam Ali, another senior party member working at Nine Zero, the headquarters of the MQM, along with Khalid Shamim, engaged Mohsin Ali and Kashif Khan Kamran to carry out the assassination. “The two executors were properly facilitated who went with a sole purpose to London for committing the murder and as per pre-planned conspiracy, an innocent person was brutally murdered,” the judgment read. It further stated that the act of the abettors and the executors was preconceived with a design to intimidate and overawe the public in general and workers of MQM in particular so that in future no one can raise voice against Altaf Hussain.
“The motive thus for murdering Imran Farooq upon the orders of Altaf Hussain and other senior [MQM] leadership is proved because of his [Imran Farooq’s] strong position and services in the party,” the verdict read. The court observed that Dr Farooq’s notes, written and signed by him in 2008, showed that he feared he would be killed on the pretext of trying to become number one in the MQM. “Existence of that threat also figures in the two confessional statements made by accused and further more Khalid Shamim while directly referring to a conversation with his leader Altaf Hussain states that Altaf Hussain told him that no one can be his number 2, 3 or 1½ what to say of number one,” it added.
In its judgement, the court said that “it is expected from governments of Pakistan and UK that absconders [MQM founder Altaf Hussain, Iftikhar Hussain, Mohammad Anwar and Kashif Kamran] will be traced, arrested and brought before court as soon as possible.”
The order said that those who murder innocent people under an elaborate plot are deserving of exemplary punishment. Under the Pakistan Penal Code, the death sentence is applicable for such a crime but an amendment in the code does not allow death sentence to be given in a case where the evidence has been gathered in a different country – Britain in this case.
Meanwhile, British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner said conviction in the case of Dr Imran Khan is result of the ‘team work between the law agencies in the United Kingdom and Pakistan working together to get justice’. “This ground-breaking legal collaboration, assisted by the British High Commission, meant that evidence gathered by the British police could be shared with Pakistani prosecutors and used in the successful prosecution of Mohsin Ali Syed,” the high commissioner said in a statement in response to the verdict of Anti-Terrorism Court on Thursday.
“It ends an investigation into the death of Dr Farooq, a senior figure within the Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM),” Dr Turner said. “inquiries into the pair’s background later revealed that both Syed and Kamran were connected to the MQM party, and confirmed the investigation team’s suspicion that the murder had likely been related to politics,” he added.
Dr Imran Farooq was murdered on September 16, 2010, when, after returning home from work, he was approached and fatally attacked by two men armed with a brick and knives. After a trial in Islamabad, Pakistani national Mohsin Ali Syed, 35, was found guilty of murder and conspiracy to murder of Dr Farooq.