Guest Blog by Barrister Amjad Malik
The killing of a Pakistani politician and an ex parliamentarian Dr. Imran Farooq, a former convenor of the MQM on 16 Sept 2010 at a busy area of Mill Hill London. Dr. Farooq, 50, was a leading member of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement party and fled to the UK in 1999, claiming asylum. He was stabbed repeatedly before being bludgeoned over the head with bricks in North London. Dr. Farooq had previously claimed that there was a bounty on his head and he was wanted “dead or alive” by Pakistani authorities for criminal and terrorist activities. He insisted that the charges were politically motivated. A post-mortem took place at Finchley Mortuary yesterday and gave cause of death as multiple stab wounds and blunt trauma to the head. This murder poses a serious question for those investigating as to who did it, how it happened, why, and who is behind this for both UK and Pakistan Govt’s, law enforcement agencies and intelligence communities. The last murder which the British Scotland Yard investigated was the poisoning in 2006 of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko but killers were not brought to books only theory in principle was settled to the actual cause of death and front man.
There are 5 possible scenarios regarding Dr Imran Farooq’s killing;
- It could be an inside job ,
- It may be an outside job, by outsourcing and or outer enemy ,
- It may be possible a job in the knowledge of local intel community
- It may be done by overseas agent/Govt
- Simple murder.
These theories are pure speculative and no direct inference must be drawn for criminal investigation. I deal with each individually:
1) Due to the important nature of the personality, his possession of information and his capacity to use that capacity holding information and knowledge in respect of MQM, he was of great interest locally, nationally and internationally. He was influential as well as potential danger for his party especially if he does not enjoy good terms with them with his party elite and is of interest to overseas to his Govt. and Intel community. It is possible keeping in mind his past role, that in the event he poses a threat to the leadership of the MQM, he could have faced a destiny due to that capacity & capability of posing a threat of an ultimate challenge or problem by sharing information with respective federal Govt/ or agencies.
2) It is a possibility that his murder may have been carried out by people who came from outside without a profile not in the knowledge of local intelligence community. Target killing, murder by hired assassins cannot be ruled out and is possible keeping in mind that style of apparatus used by both in Karachi, and or enemies of MQM taking advantage of the situation in a tit for tat target killing. Similarly, there is a possibility that he was killed by outsourcing and we may get the details of killers soon, but may not reach to the handlers and masterminds of that killer without joint intelligence co-operation of both UK and Pakistan.Though, in principle the case throws a clear challenge to the local intelligence community.
3) There is a possibility that due to influential position of Dr Imran Farooq, he was in talking terms with some overseas elements which may have been shared or brought to the knowledge of those who matters in the light of forthcoming singular bye elections in Karachi (Sindh) post Ali Reza’s murder, hence the happenings. It is in the wider interest of UK that status quo in Karachi remains intact, and current leadership remains intact, safe and in driving seat in Karachi and anything moving that equilibrium may not be in the interest for some.
4) Dr Imran Farooq may have been of interest to Overseas Govt. Pakistani Govt was in constant communication with ‘Q’ league leadership weakening ‘N’ league thus keeping the Punjab Govt under Tab, and similar efforts may have been under consideration or even in process to create some potential threats in Sindh by posing a leadership challenge or creating similar position to weaken the existing majority. If that knowledge is shared or there is a threat of a leak of that efforts that may be a cause of concerns for some and hence problems we are witnessing. One thing is unbelievable that UK intelligence infrastructure was totally blank of this kind of activity. If it is an assassination due to political reason, either UK intelligence community knew something or more in both cases Dr Farooq loses his potential. If they did not know anything, then that is a high tech failure and a blunder post 2006 poisoning in of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko from which they learnt anything.
5) Finally it could be a simple murder by someone in a normal murder routine circumstances where possibility of catching a killer may be higher in UK due to strong infrastructure of forensic evidence, availability of CCTV footage and hidden cameras, high volume of data available of calls received and made and above all unity of command and impartiality in criminal enquiry with resources at hand of local police and specialist force.
Critics warned as did the cricketing legend Imran khan since 2007 that by allowing exiled fire brands to continue politics of intolerance Britain is allowing selective gathering to preach violence, ethnic and racial hatred overseas which may be counterproductive and in return may breed violence even in the peaceful city of London.
Govt of Pakistan must at this stage must demand parity from the British Home Secretary to ensure a fair investigation to determine the perpetrators of this crime and opening a wider investigation to rule out all possibilities of target killing, inside job or high tech assassination due to the capacity, influence and potential of the deceased.
Overseas outsourcing must also be checked if Britain and Pakistan are truly interested to close this question as to who actually killed Dr Imran Farooq. Unless a credible investigation is conducted and killers are caught, the conspiracy theories will continue circling engulfing into a blame game. Govt /State of Pakistan will not be able to escape at some stage later from the same blame game so as MQM. It is vital that in order to end that blame game, a fair , purposeful and preferably joint investigation is encouraged, promoted, ensured and demanded.
MQM may not suit a fair investigation as conspiracy theory will aid them politically if the circumstances remain mysterious as in Karachi it will give them dividend. 12th May massacre, 9th April burning of lawyers in chambers and series of target killings in 2010 in Karachi are a prime example where hundreds got killed uncounted, and unaccounted. All criminal investigation may be shared with Pakistan if they are interested to catch the actual killers if they came from overseas and that is only possible by joint collaboration even by including CIA for phone tapping facility. CIA have the facility that even if ‘Dr. Imran Farooq’ s name if was called at some place abroad may be known and shared to reach to the handlers and mastermind if it is a high profile assassination.
Local police may not be inclined but that may be advantageous to identify and to reach the actual killer through profiling and using scientific evidence /DNA/CCTV/intercepted intelligence and telephonic and electronic data and witnesses by UK community and human intelligence of Pakistan. However, this kind of act in London will be devastating for the local Govt, police, and Intel community and will give a wrong message. Other rogue states and agents will get encouragement due to weaker interest locally to settle political scores and especially all Pakistani political leaders in exile or visiting privately will be of great danger especially Gen. Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, and Altaf Hussain due to tit for tat reactions. If not checked here, God forbid, Londonistan is soon turning into ‘Karachi’ and all because of allowing exilees to continue their politics of origin, violence, ethnicity abroad.
It is time for the visiting politicians to decide whether they wish to remain here peacefully or they are too interested in politics of the country of origin. If they are, they must be ready to return soon as the end game has come for the British Govt to stop this hatred from multiplying and end the concept of safe heavens on the name of protection from so called apartheid and dictatorships.
Barrister Amjad Malik
Chair, Association of Pakistani Lawyers (UK)