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The MQM in Doldrums By Asif Haroon Raja

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The MQM in Doldrums

Asif Haroon Raja

MQM’s fascism

The MQM under Altaf Hussain reigned supreme in urban Sindh from 1988 till March 2013. It expanded its political power by introducing the cultures of dead bodies filled in sacks, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, torture cells, target killings, no-go areas and strikes to paralyze the city. Despite its policy of fascism, terrorism, blackmailing tactics and imperiousness, and turning the city of lights into darkness, it was cajoled and supported by the two mainstream parties and the establishment owing to the policy of reconciliation and political expediency. Ironically, it was also supported by intelligence agencies of India, Britain, and USA for the achievement of their vested interests. The ruling parties didn’t object to the illegal system adopted by Altaf to remote control his party with the help of International Secretariat after he fled to London in May 1992.

He is in exile for the last 24 years, but he hasn’t visited Pakistan even once. He has maintained his communications with his followers on phone and video clips. No restrictions were imposed on his inflammatory speeches which he made for 20 years, or any eyebrows were raised when he delivered a highly objectionable speech in New Delhi in 2003. His anti-Pakistan speeches in March and July 2016 in which he ridiculed the Army and Rangers and sought the help of RAW, India, and the UN were also overlooked. His dreary speeches inciting violence were tolerated till as late as August 22, 2016. Even now the Federal and Sindh governments have taken a soft approach.  

Although operations were launched in Karachi in 1992 and 1995-6 to deal with criminal elements within the MQM, those were called off inconclusively and their sins pardoned. The MQM was politically strengthened by Gen Musharraf during his nine years rule, which enabled the party to strengthen its foundations at grass roots levels in urban centers of Sindh and gain control over 80% of the port city.  

The MQM leadership grieved of socio-politico-economic grievances whether in power or out of power as a policy, which it had adopted at the time of formation of APSMO in 1978 and had become the basis for its birth in 1984. It used coercive methods and blackmailing tactics to make the Sindh or Federal Government accept its legal and illegal demands. Consequent to its non-cooperative attitude, it always fell out with the senior coalition partner much before the expiry of the tenure. Its unrelenting malevolence forced all the political parties in opposition under the umbrella of All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM) to declare in 2007 that power will not be shared with the MQM in future. But the PPP under Zardari after coming to power in March 2008 made it a coalition partner, both at the Centre and in Sindh since both were beneficiaries of the infamous NRO. It is now no more a secret that the US and the UK were the architects of NRO to bring Benazir Bhutto to power.

The NRO cleansed the top leadership of PPP involved in mega corruption and also 8000 activists and leaders of MQM involved in heinous crimes. The PPP and MQM are liberal parties but unnatural partners; yet they tolerated each other for next five years despite MQM soaking Karachi in blood by its high spate of target killings, extortion, kidnappings, land grabbing and other crimes. The reason behind tolerating each other was that both were heavily involved in financial terrorism and corruption and their patrons wanted the two to stay together to bleed Pakistan’s economy.

The MQM’s decline

The MQM’s woes began after the murder of Dr. Imran Farooq in London on September 16, 2010, which most people believed was the handiwork of Altaf and his henchmen. The reason was that Imran had developed differences with Altaf and was secretly forming his own party comprising of like-minded MQM leaders. Scotland Yard started pursuing the case, which scared the MQM leaders based in London.

Another development which added to the woes of MQM was the raids of Metropolitan Police on Altaf’s house and MQM Secretariat offices in London on December 7, 2012, and seizure of 500,000 pounds sterling in cash along with handwritten lists of arm and explosives. The case of money laundering was initiated and it was determined that MQM was linked with India and was regularly receiving funds from RAW to destabilize Karachi. These confessions were made to the London Police by London-based MQM leaders Muhammad Anwar, Tariq Mir, and Sarfaraz Merchant, who was the middle man arranging funds through Dubai.

Rigorous election campaigning of PTI in Karachi in 2013 upset Altaf so much that he incited his supporters in Karachi to resort to violence against PTI workers. PTI’s senior worker Dr. Zahra was gunned down by MQM target killers in May 2013. Later on, the killers and facilitators Kaleem, Rashid (alias Master), Zahid Abbas Zaidi and Irfan (alias Lamba) were arrested. Complaints were lodged with Metropolitan Police London by tens of thousands of Pakistanis living in Pakistan and in the UK to rein in Altaf.

Although the MQM won 52 seats in urban Sindh and 24 seats in the Centre in May 2013 elections, but for the first time, both the PML-N and PPP refused to share power with it in the Federal and Sindh governments because of its fascist policies, intransigence and willful destabilization of Karachi.

Yet another event which went against the MQM was Rangers operation which started in September 2013 to deal with all criminal elements and restore peace in troubled Karachi. Although it was even-handed and intelligence driven, within six months the MQM realized that the noose was tightening around its neck and it started raising objections that the operation was MQM focused. The reason was that majority of the arrested criminals belonged to the MQM. 

The arrest of two MQM criminals, Tahir and Junaid, by SSP Rao Anwar on April 30, 2015, uncovered the MQM-RAW connection. Junaid is the brother of Javed Langra, who was sector in-charge Lines Area Karachi in 1992 and had fled to India as a result of Army operation. Javed was made the chief handler of all MQM activists sent for training to India via Bangkok at a camp in Dera Dun. Rather than grilling MQM leaders, who shed tears of innocence, Rao was lambasted and sacked. Naeem (alias Fire brigade wala) gave full details of training in India to Bennet Jones.

Arrested Saulat Mirza who was later sentenced to death on May 12, 2015, and over 600 hardened criminals of MQM laid bare the gory details of Rabita Committees in Karachi and in London, Tanzeemi Committee, Labor Division, sector/unit commanders, and Khidmat Khalq, how they would use the target killers, extortionists, and mafias to strike terror, foment ethnicity and sectarianism, amass wealth and gain monopoly over the port city.

Raids on Nine Zero on March 11, 2015, and on July 16, 2015, exposed much more details about MQM’s criminal activities including the horrific Baldia Town factory incident in 2012. 250 workers were burnt to death by MQM goons because the factory owner showed his inability to pay Rs. 20 crore extortion money. Qaimkhani, Hammad Siddiqui, sector in-charge Rehman, alias Bhola, were involved in it. Those who had engineered May 12, 2007, massacre of political workers welcoming former chief justice Iftikhar in Karachi also came to light. The then Home Minister Waseem Akhtar, now Mayor Karachi, was named.

The arrest of Kalbushan Yadav in March 2016 and his disclosure that he was operating RAW network in Baluchistan and Karachi and was linked with BLA and MQM reconfirmed MQM connection with RAW. MQM-RAW connection was also exposed by BBC documentary, noted columnist Bennet Jones and Daily Ummat newspaper. 

Sealing of Nine Zero, break up of the militant structure by the Rangers and demolition of sector/unit offices, has weakened the authority and monopoly of MQM. This loss of power was witnessed when the businessmen refused to shut their shops on the call of MQM. Rangers and Army are eulogized for restoring peace in Karachi and the MQM reproached.

Altaf’s health started to deteriorate on account of mounting tension and multiple diseases and he is now chair borne and desires to shift to the USA.

Dissection of MQM and its ramifications

These factors together with much publicized option of minus-Altaf formula impelled Dubai-based Mustafa Kamal (MK) (once a blue-eyed boy of Altaf and anointed as Mayor of Karachi during Gen Musharraf tenure) and strong-arm Anis Qaimkhani to rebel against Altaf and announce a new political party, Pakistan Sar-Zamin Party (PSP) with new flag and election symbol in March 2016. Several MPAs of MQM in Sindh Assembly joined MK.  

MK broke off ties with Altaf and London Secretariat and revealed details of Altaf’s psychopathic frame of mind, stating that he derived sadistic pleasure humiliating MQM leaders and in killing people particularly his opponents or those who defied him or those who became popular within MQM. He further added that Altaf assigned targets to the target killers in Karachi and South Africa directly. He also disclosed that M. Anwar (Indian national) in a meeting in Dubai in 2012 confessed of London Secretariat connection with RAW since 1989 and that the then Interior Minister Rahman Malik was present.

MK tried to give an impression that he had the backing of establishment and enticed others to join him and get absolved of all criminal cases. Most of the notorious target killers and sector/unit commanders joined him, but after the arrest of Qaimkhani, they had second thoughts and some joined Farooq Sattar (FS) led the group. MK kept urging the ones in power to ban MQM because of its connection with RAW and anti-state activities. 

Successes achieved by the Rangers in reining in MQM terrorism flabbergasted Altaf and on several occasions, he lost his sense of balance while delivering his boring and incomprehensible speeches on phone. He crossed all limits on August 22, 2016, by chanting slogans against Pakistan and inciting his followers to attack TV stations and security forces. His loyalists instantly obeyed his instructions. This speech dug the last nail in his coffin. A strict ban was imposed on his speeches. This event gave birth to another faction of MQM under FS named as MQM (Pakistan).

Currently, the MQM is divided into four factions; MQM (Pakistan) under FS which has been duly registered as a political party with ECP with election symbol ‘Kite’. Important leaders in his setup are Khwaja Izharul Hassan, Waseem Akhtar (Mayor) and Faisal Sabzwari along with the majority of MQM workers. PSP has been joined by Raza Haroon, Qaimkhani, Anis Advocate, Asif Husnain, Waseem Aftab and some second tier MQM leaders. The London group comprise of Nusrat Nadim, M. Anwar, Tariq Mir, Mustafa Azizabadi, Wasey Jalil. Its recently formed Rabita Committee in Karachi has been grounded after the arrest of its leaders Dr. Zafar Arif, Kanwar Khalid Yunus, Amjadullah, and Ishaq. MQM Haqiqi under Afaq Ahmed is also there but has almost become a non-entity and sooner than later it will join one of the two Karachi-based MQM factions.

FS group’s Izharul Hassan tried to convince Gen Musharraf, currently based in Dubai, to help in reuniting the FS group and PSP and take over as the head of the united party. However, his proposal was politely rejected by Musharraf. He knew that 30-40% members of FS group are still loyal to Altaf, while 25% are fence sitters and are seeing how the wind blows. Musharraf was informed that his takeover will benefit MQM London and PSP since it will not be well received by the organizers and loyalists of Altaf in FS group and as such FS group will be a loser in next elections in 2018. Fearful of the unification scheme under Musharraf which will mark the end of Altaf politics, London group started poisoning the ears of the fence sitters in FS group that its leadership was planning to eliminate Altaf from politics and bring in an outsider. Their propaganda had an impact on the targeted audience.    

Gen Musharraf is himself in a weak position. He had proceeded to Dubai on medical grounds but under a deal that he will not return as long as PML-N is in power. He is otherwise implicated in several court cases including a case of high treason and his two properties have been confiscated on account of failing to present himself in the court. He, therefore, took a wise decision to stay out of MQM politics.

People, in general, are viewing the different factions with skepticism; some saying all are chips of the same block and are employing tactics to buy time and reunite after the termination of Rangers operation, or change of military leadership.

Factionalized MQM has certainly divided the Mohajir vote bank and faded the charisma of Altaf about whom it was stated till recent that there will be no MQM without him. He has remained unchallenged leader of MQM, but his success was owing to his policy of terrorization, media glorification, playing of the ethnic card, and above all patronage of MI-6, CIA, Mossad and RAW who behold him as a strategic asset. It was owing to their benefaction that he was set free in money laundering case which was an open and shut case. Likewise, Dr. Imran murder case has remained unsolved despite Pakistan giving access to the real murderers and facilitators (Mohsin Ali, Kashif Kamran, Muazam, Shameem). He is also not being charged for fueling violence in Karachi.

The British government has given preference to Altaf over Pakistan. Crown Prosecution directed Scotland Yard that the money laundering case was closed and will not be further processed nor any action taken. This is unprecedented and speaks of mala fide intentions since a case is never permanently closed. A linkage of the handwritten list of arms is being drawn with the seizure of a huge arms cache from Nine Zero premises last month. Pressured by USA, Britain compromised the high reputation of its premier institutions to save Altaf and please India. Conviction of Altaf and five co-accused would have established RAW’s involvement in Pakistan.

The MQM is in a quandary because of internal rift and power struggle between the three warring factions and none in Pakistan coming to its rescue.  The Karachi-based factions under FS and MK are desperately vying to take the place of Altaf but none has his magnetism for the disadvantaged Urdu-speaking class, which is feeling orphaned without him.  Like in the case of Donald Trump, they ignore all his negative aspects and want him to remain their lifelong leader since he had given them identity and strength to effectively deal with other ethnic communities and to control Karachi. The crisis has become grave with little hope of reconciliation and reunification. The possibility of reintegration of MQM London can be safely ruled out since Altaf has burnt his boats after his incendiary speech on August 22. Although he is terminally sick and can hardly move, his patrons who have invested a lot in him will keep extracting juice out of him till they find a suitable replacement.

Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on September 20, 2016, which was moved by MQM (Pakistan) declaring Altaf a traitor and seeking his trial under Article VI. He is neither acceptable to the political parties in power and in opposition, or to the military, or the public, nor other two factions. However, the possibility of unification of FS and MK factions cannot be altogether ruled out, although there is again the problem of the clash of personality between the two leaders.  

MK group had a good chance to attract as many MQM leaders and activists up till August 22, but it couldn’t. Muhajir voters were still confident of Altaf’s resurgence. The emergence of FS group has become a handicap for MK group. Although, it is trying hard to woo as many prominent figures from FS group but so far his efforts have not borne fruit. MK blame former Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad, who remained in this chair for 14 years, for stopping MQM leaders from joining him. The release of Qaimkhani and Mayor-elect Wasim Akhtar, both implicated in dozens of cases are setbacks for London group but are a morale booster for both MK and FS groups. The Later will gain more political benefits.

The two rival factions intend to display their political power by holding rallies. While MK will hold a public meeting in Hyderabad on November 25, FS who has carried out intra-party elections and got himself elected as a convener will hold a meeting on December 25. MK is confident of winning Muhajir vote since he claims to have gained influence over the lower level organizational structure. Both are vying for the support of Establishment which has so far remained neutral.

While the FS and MK led groups have so far not clashed with each other, the former is heading for a possible punch-up with MQM London which is exerting extreme pressure on it to rejoin Altaf or else resign from Assemblies since it had won seats on the tickets awarded by Altaf. None in FS group has obliged and has taken firm steps to completely detach itself from Altaf group.

Taking advantage of the divides in the MQM and their infighting and demoralization, other political parties have stepped up their efforts to capture as many Muhajir votes. The vacuum fillers in line are PPP, PTI, and JI. They are hoping for revision in delimitation in Karachi undertaken by MQM during Gen Musharraf rule to correct the anomalies. People of Karachi are more interested in peace and security than in fractious factions of MQM. They have more trust and confidence in the Rangers and the Army and want the Rangers not to terminate the operation till the achievement of conclusive results.

Endnote: Why are MK and FS banking on MQM leaders and activists with criminal records and hands drenched in the blood of thousands of innocent people? Why can’t they start with a clean slate by inducting fresh blood from within the 2 crore Urdu speaking community? I am fearing another NRO-2 to cleanse the target killers, kidnappers, extortionists and Mafias under the policy of national reconciliation and hoping that the reincarnated MQM will refrain from militancy in future. Haven’t we suffered enough from the ill-effects of NRO-1?

The writer is defense analyst, columnist, author of 5 books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Group, DG Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja@gmail.com            

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INDIA SPONSORED TTP Again Targets Innocent Persons by Sajjad Shaukat

                                               TTP Again Targets Innocent Persons

                                                            By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

More than 65 people were killed in a suicide attack on November 2, this year near a paramilitary soldiers’ checkpoint at Wagah in Lahore when Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) again targeted the innocent persons through its affiliated militant outfits, Jundullah and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar which claimed responsibility for the incident. The victims also include several women and children, while more than 120 people have been injured. The bombing took place on at least 500 meters from the Pak-Indian border.

 

A regards the bombing, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, based in Afghanistan, said that it was carried out by one of their men—some other groups’ claims are baseless. We will soon release the video of this attack.” He elaborated, “This attack was revenge against the military operation in North Waziristan.

 

While, spokesman of Jundullah Ahmed Marwat also pointed out that the attack was a reaction to military operation Zarb-i-Azb.

 

B1if-8FCYAAoT_RIn fact, like other linked militant outfits such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Janghvi including other Taliban organistaions, Jundullah and TTP share common tactics and agendas. They often claim responsibility for the terror-assaults separately to divert attention and to deceive the security forces and law-enforcing agencies. For example, on September 22, 2013, a twin suicide bomb attack had killed 127 people at a Peshawar church. Jundallah accepted responsibility of that attack too. But, TTP had condemned that brutal assault. Afterwards, its spokesman had remarked that it was in accordance with Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) which indicated that TTP was behind that ruthless incident. So, ambivalent statements of the TTP-led Taliban have endorsed that it has been playing double game.

 

However, in the recent years, militants of the TTP and its affiliated outfits have been using suicide bombing as their main weapon by targeting innocent civilians, women and children, Armed Forces and government functionaries, anti-polio workers, airports, markets, schools, parks, mosques, Imambargahs, churches, temples, shrines, bus stops, railway stations, passengers’ trains and so on. They conducted various terror-activities like ruthless beheadings of tribesmen. They also attacked the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, and even did not spare burial places of the Sufi Saints, and disgraced dead bodies. Their nefarious acts resulted into killings of several innocent persons in Pakistan.

 

Undoubtedly, in our country, the victims of terror attacks and suicide bombings have been innocent men, women and children. Their families mourn and raise a question asking for what crime their loved ones were punished in a way. Regrettably, those militant entities like TTP, which try to justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam are misguiding the people, while these brutal acts are clearly against the teachings of Islam.

 

In this context, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (Mufti-e-Azam),Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh issued a Fatwa (Religious verdict) asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and illegitimate (Haram).” He explained, “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or attackers are destined to go to Hell…they represent an adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims and they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims, especially the innocent youth.”

 

From time to time, while condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices, various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion. They elaborated that Islam does not forbid women’s education.

 

While, Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasises peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in a country. It also permits periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings which is called Ijtihad.

 

The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah.

 

Notably, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one way or the other.

 

As a matter of fact, Islam and democracy have co-relationship with each other. Diversified people and Ulema participate in the system of representatives, which does not exclude or discriminate any one on basis of caste, creed and sect. It does not confine religion to mosque.

 

Here, it is mentionable that within four months, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious terrorists of the TTP by clearing more than 80 percent of the areas of North Waziristan Agency by military operation Zarb-e-Azb which has broken the backbone of the insurgents, and is rapidly been achieving its objectives. The operation has full support of the civil government, opposition parties and Ulema including all other segments of society and general masses who are united against terrorism. In this regard, DG, ISPR Directorate, Major-Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa had stated, “Armed forces of Pakistan have launched the operation against foreign and local terrorists…who had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.”

 

Regarding terror-attack at Wagah border, Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa stated on November 3 that the massive attendance with fervor during the flag ceremony at Wagah border has proved that nation was not afraid of these terrorists and it was united in its fight against terrorism.

 

Nonetheless, Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as killing innocent women and children is not Jihad. By playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan foreign countries, especially Indian secret agency RAW, the TTP and its banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam, and are weakening our country by targeting the innocent persons like those of the Wagah border incident.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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The Apathy in Pakistan to Support Reform

The Apathy in Pakistan to Support Reform

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I am appalled.

 I am appalled at the apathy of Pakistani society in not supporting for once what is clearly ( in my lifetime at least ) the most serious and deep rooted attempt at reform.

 I am appalled at the pretentiousness of many otherwise perfectly logical and sane people, for not supporting this serious attempt to get rid of this terrible putrid sewerage system of so called democracy, so cunningly labeled by these sick self-serving so called politicians to safeguard their golden geese.

 These politicians who have destroyed all semblance of good order and governance, simply because of this label of so called democracy. Look at these names who have been in political power in one form or shape or the other, be it a civilian or military administration.

 Look at this horrible horrible roll call of political deviants. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar, Saad Rafique, Asif Zardari, Khurshid Shah, Fazlur Rehman, Asfandyar Wali. An endless list of self serving, corrupt to the core, people.

 While some may criticize IK and TUQ for resorting to “undemocratic” methods. Here’s something to ponder. What choice do IK and TUQ and and people like us have.  

 We can’t boot the Nawaz Sharifs and Asif Zardaris out through the electoral process because they have “bought” the entire process.

 We can’t take them to court, because they have “bought” the entire judicial system.

 We can’t hold them for any form of major administrative impropriety, terrible misgovernance, gross and blatant use of authority in public sector leadership appointments, misuse of public funds, open corruption, brazen conflict of interest, just because they have “bought” the entire administrative structure.

 So IK and TUQ and people who want reform had and have no option but to resort to what they have done. Because, while theoretically we have a parliament and an elected government and there is due process for acquiring power, the system has been hijacked and held hostage by these “professional crooks” masquerading as political leaders.

 Look at Khurshid Shah thundering in parliament, earlier today and look at the sickening amount of ill gotten wealth he has acquired through corruption since 1991 when he was first elected as am MNA. Can anyone justify this terrible and blatant hypocrisy and criminality.

 While some may not like IK’s arrogance ( I do) or TUQ’s Canadian citizen ship ( irrelevant) or their perceived lack of political acumen. BUT If these two can set in motion the wheels of change for a better, prosperous Pakistan with strong institutions, especially the Police and the Judiciary, an electoral process which does not hand over power to a bunch of professional crooks with just 10 to 15 % of the registered vote, a system of political accountability which does not allow people in power to blatantly and brazenly misuse authority and public trust and public funds, and a country where no one Faith is imposed on another, I am all for it.

 And for those professional politicians with IK ( not many with TUQ) who think that they will benefit once again from the ‘IK” bandwagon, as they have done on other bandwagons in the past…I think they are in for a surprise!

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KARACHI MASS MURDERER ALTAF HUSSAIN AGAIN IN TROUBLE WITH LONDON MET POLICE:​ Imran Farooq murder: Two men sought by UK authorities

 
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​Imran Farooq murder: Two men sought by UK authorities
 
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by Owen Bennett-Jones
29 January 2014
 
UK prosecutors have asked Pakistan to trace two suspects believed to have been involved in the 2010 murder of Imran Farooq, a senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). He was stabbed outside his home in Edgware, London, close to the Pakistani political party’s international HQ.
 
Documents obtained by BBC Newsnight name the suspects as Mohsin Ali Syed and Mohammed Kashif Khan Kamran. They are believed to be in Pakistani custody but not under formal arrest. The investigation into Mr Farooq’s murder has seen more than 4,000 people interviewed, but so far the only person arrested in the case has been Iftikhar Hussain, the nephew of MQM’s London-based leader Altaf Hussain.
 
Student places
 
Iftikhar Hussain was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, but is now on police bail. It is an arrest the party says was based on wrong information. MQM senator Farogh Naseem has described Iftikhar Hussain as “not a person who is really with himself mentally”. He said Iftikhar Hussain had suffered at the hands of the Pakistani authorities.
 
In November 2011 – 14 months after the murder – Metropolitan Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe said his force was liaising with Pakistani authorities over two arrests believed to have been made in Karachi. Since then, however, the force has refused to confirm or deny that it is seeking Pakistani assistance. The Pakistani government has denied anyone has been arrested and officials have failed to respond to questions about the request from the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service.
 
The documents, obtained by Newsnight from official sources in Pakistan, suggest Mohsin Ali Syed and Mohammed Kashif Khan Kamran secured UK visas on the basis of being granted admission to the London Academy of Management Sciences (LAMS), in east London. The documents name two other men. One is Karachi-based businessman Muazzam Ali Khan, of Comnet Enterprises, who is believed to have endorsed the suspects’ UK visa applications and was in regular contact with Iftikhar Hussain throughout 2010.
 
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In 2011, police released an e-fit image of a suspect in the murder case
 
The other is Atif Siddique, an educational consultant in Karachi, who is believed to have processed them. Atif Siddique said he was not the agent of LAMS and did not know the two suspects. Mr Ali Khan has not responded to e-mails and phone calls offering him the chance to respond. A director of the college, Asif Siddique – Atif Siddique’s brother – has confirmed the two students were meant to study there. One of them registered, but failed to attend.
 
LAMS is designated as a “highly trusted” partner of the UK Border Agency, which means it is supposed to report the non-attendance of students within 10 days of the 10th missed student encounter with staff. Asif Siddique said the college had reported one of the student’s non-attendance to the UK authorities in May 2012.
 
‘Under surveillance’
 
The Home Office has refused to say whether or not it believes LAMS broke the rules for reporting non-attendance, but has said it is not currently investigating the college. Mohsin Ali Syed, in his late 20s, arrived in the UK in February 2010. He moved between a number of London addresses, including bedsits in Tooting, in south London, and Whitchurch Lane, in Edgware.
 
Mohammed Kashif Khan Kamran arrived in the UK in early September 2010. Phone records indicate the two moved around together and it is believed they kept Mr Farooq under surveillance.
 

 

Altaf Hussain is from Karachi but is based in Edgware, London
 
The murder weapons were left at the scene of the crime and the documents seen by Newsnight state that the British authorities are seeking DNA samples as evidence that could be used in a British court.
 
Records show that both men left the UK on 16 September 2010, a few hours after the murder had happened, and flew to Sri Lanka, and then on to Karachi on the 19 September. According to immigration officials in Pakistan, security officials picked them up on the tarmac before they left Karachi airport. Pakistani security sources deny that the men were picked up as a result of a British tip-off.
 
Whereabouts unknown
 
Documents lodged with Sindh High Court refer to another man, Khalid Shamim, who is believed to have helped the two suspects return to Pakistan. His wife has started legal proceedings in the court in an attempt to trace his whereabouts. The MQM, Karachi’s dominant political party, describes itself as a modern, secular and middle class party. Senior party figures say it offers the best chance of opposing the rise of the Taliban in Pakistan’s largest city.
 
It insists it is a peaceful party, but its opponents complain that the UK allows it to use London as a safe haven from which it can organise its violent control of Karachi. The party says it wants to co-operate with the murder inquiry, but insists it has nothing to do with the case and accuses UK police of harassment.
 
Last month, Altaf Hussain complained police were making his life “hell”. Watch Owen Bennett-Jones’s investigation in full on Newsnight on Wednesday 29 January at 22:30 on BBC Two, and then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.
 
MQM UNDER INVESTIGATION
 
  • The British authorities are currently running three investigations into the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
  • Firstly they are assessing whether Altaf Hussain’s speeches amount to incitement to violence. One of the difficulties is that any translations of Altaf Hussain’s speeches could be challenged by defence lawyers.
  • There is also a substantial UK investigation into possible money laundering. Two men were arrested in December and have been bailed.
  • In December 2012, UK police seized £250,000 in mixed currencies at MQM party headquarters. In June 2013 they seized another £230,000 from Altaf Hussain’s home.
  • People close to the party say that if cash is moved in from Pakistan to the UK in batches of less than £7,000, then no regulations are broken. They say businessmen in Karachi have written affidavits stating that they freely donated the money.
  • Thirdly, the UK tax authorities are investigating unpaid tax. People close to the MQM say the party does expect to face a large tax bill, which it will pay.
Watch Owen Bennett-Jones’s investigation in full on Newsnight on Wednesday 29 January at 22:30 on BBC Two, and then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.

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USA responsible for making Pakistan most dangerous country

USA responsible for making Pakistan most dangerous country

 by

Asif Haroon Raja

 

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The US leaders and media often cite Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world. If it is true, it didn’t attain this status at its own. Outsiders are responsible for making Pakistan a nursery of terrorism, or epicenter of terrorism, as recently described by Manmohan Singh, or the most dangerous country. Ironically, the ones responsible for converting a law abiding and peaceful country into a volatile country are today in the forefront censuring it. Till the onset of Afghan Jihad in 1980, Pakistan was a moderate and nonviolent country. It did suffer from the pangs of humiliation for having lost its most populous East Pakistan and  grieved over non-resolution of Kashmir dispute pending since January 1948 UNSC resolution. Both wounds had been inflicted upon Pakistan by its arch rival India. Pakistan had to perforce go nuclear in quest for its security because of India’s hostile posturing and nuclearisation.

 

Invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet forces in December 1979 brought five million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. These refugees disturbed the peace of Frontier Province and Balochistan where bulk got permanently settled. 2.8 million Afghan refugees have still not returned to their homes and besides becoming an economic burden, have posed serious social and security hazards. Foreign agencies carrying an agenda to destabilize Pakistan have been recruiting bulk of terrorists from within them.

 

Once the US decided to back proxy war in Afghanistan, CIA commissioned thousands of Mujahideen from all over the Muslim world and with the assistance of ISI, motivated, trained and equipped them to assist Afghan Mujahideen in their fight against Soviet forces. Large number of seminaries imparting religious training to the under privileged children were tasked to impart military and motivational training as well and prepare them for Jihad. FATA and Pashtun belt of Balochistan contiguous to Afghanistan were converted into forward bases of operation from where young Jihadists were unleashed. For next nine years the youth were continuously recruited and launched to fight the holy war against evil empire. Saudi Arabia became the chief financer of Jihad. It provided heavy funds to Sunni Madrassahs only. ISI took upon itself as the chief coordinator of the entire war effort while CIA restricted its role to providing arms, funds and intelligence only.

 

The whole free world led by USA enthusiastically applauded the heroics of holy warriors and none cared about astronomical fatalities and critical injuries suffered by them. The maimed for life, widows and orphans were patted and told that it was a holy war fought for a noble cause and huge rewards awaited them in the life hereafter. The single point agenda of the US was to defeat the Soviet forces with the help of Muslim fighters. Not a single soldier of any country including Pakistan took part in the unmatched war between a super power and rag-tag, ill-clothed and ill-equipped Mujahideen.

 

None bothered about the ill-effects this long-drawn war will have upon this region in general and Pakistan in particular acting as the Frontline State. Although Pakistan was only supporting the proxy war and was not directly involved, but it remained in a state of war and it faced continuous onslaughts of KGB-RAW-KHAD nexus as well as attacks by Soviet trained Afghan pilots and soldiers in the form of air assaults, artillery barrages and missile/rockets attacks.  Throughout the nine-year war, Pakistan faced twin threat from its eastern and western borders. By virtue of occupation of Wakhan corridor by Soviet troops, USSR had become immediate neighbor of Pakistan and had hurled repeated threats to wind up training centres and stop meddling in Afghanistan or else be prepared for dire consequences. Moscow’s age-old dream of reaching warm waters of Arabian Sea through Balochistan haunted Gen Ziaul Haq, but he stoutly held his ground. Pakistan’s relentless support ultimately enabled the Mujahideen to achieve the miracle of the 20th century. They defeated the super power and pushed out Soviet forces from Afghanistan in February 1989.

 

All foreign Jihadists who had come from other countries were not accepted by their parent countries. They had no choice but to stay put and get settled in Afghanistan and in FATA since they had collectively fought the war and had developed camaraderie with the Afghans and tribesmen. The US who had enticed and displaced them and used them as cannon fodder to achieve its interests was morally bounded to resettle them. It was honor bound to help Pakistan in overcoming the after effects of the war. FATA that had acted as the major base for cross border operations deserved uplift in socio-economic and educational fields. Afghanistan required major rehabilitation and rebuilding after its devastation. Nothing of the sort happened.

 

The US coldheartedly abandoned Afghanistan, Pakistan and Jihadists and instead embraced India which had remained the camp follower of Soviet Union since 1947 and had also partnered Soviet Union in the Afghan war and had vociferously condemned US-Pakistan proxy war. This callous act opened the doors for religious fanaticism and militarism. Pakistan suffered throughout the Afghan war and continues to suffer to this day on account of the debris left behind by Soviet forces and proxy war. By the time last Soviet soldier left Afghan soil, Pakistani society had got radicalized owing to free flow of weapons and drugs from Afghanistan and onset of armed uprising in occupied Kashmir.

 

Pakistan’s efforts to tackle the fallout effects of the war got seriously hampered because of harsh sanctions imposed by USA under Pressler Amendment in October 1989 and political instability throughout the democratic era from 1988 to 1999. Besides, Iran and Saudi Arabia started fuelling sectarianism in Pakistan throughout 1990s in a big way. Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan and Majlis-e-Wahadat ul Hashmeen were funded by Iran and Sipah-e-Sahabha Pakistan, now named as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (Sunni Deobandi) were supported by Saudi Arabia, which gave rise to religious extremism and intolerance and sharpened Shia-Sunni divide. Masjids and Imambargahs as well as religious clerics were incessantly attacked by the zealots of two communities. Threat of sectarian violence that had become menacing in Punjab in 1997-1998 had to be dealt with sternly. But the Punjab Police operation had to be curtailed because of severe pressure from Human Rights activists and NGOs on charges of extra judicial killings. Resultantly, the disease remained uncured.

        

Unseating of democratically elected heavy mandate of Nawaz Sharif led government by Gen Musharraf and the latter opting to ditch Taliban regime and to fight global war on terror at the behest of USA energized anti-Americanism, religious extremism and led to creation of Mutahida Majlis Ammal (MMA), an amalgam of six religious parties, which formed governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. MMA on the quiet nurtured extremist religious groups that were also funded by foreign powers.

 

The fact that after 9/11, the US chose Pakistan to fight the war as a Frontline State is a clear cut indication that Pakistan at that time was viewed as a responsible and valued country and not a dangerous country. However, Pakistan’s nuclear program was an eyesore for India, Israel and USA. The planners had made up their minds to intentionally create anarchic conditions in Pakistan so that its nukes could be whisked away under the plea that it was unstable and couldn’t be trusted.

 

The initial attempt towards that end was to first allow bulk of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders and their fighters to escape to FATA from Afghanistan and soon after forcing Pakistan to induct regular troops into South Waziristan (SW) to flush them out. This move created a small rivulet allowing terrorism to seep into FATA, which kept gushing in because of RAW led and CIA backed covert war at a massive scale and turning the rivulet into a river. Likewise, another rivulet was created in Balochistan. Concerted and sustained efforts were made to destabilize FATA and Balochistan and gradually sink Pakistan in sea of terrorism. Six intelligence agencies based in Kabul kept sprinkling tons of fuel on embers of religious extremism, sectarianism, ethnicity and Jihadism.

 

The US instead of helping in resolving Kashmir dispute misguided Gen Musharraf to forget about UN resolutions and float an out of box solution and try and resolve the dispute in accordance with the wishes of India. In order to woo India, Musharraf gave it in writing that he will not allow Pakistan soil to be used for terrorism against any neighboring country including India. While making this commitment unilaterally, he committed the fatal mistake of not imposing this condition on India. To further please USA and India and make the latter agree to sign peace treaty, he bridled all Jihadi groups engaged in Kashmir freedom struggle as well as in sectarianism. He also allowed India to fence the Line of Control. These moves did please India but angered Jihadis and sectarian outfits and in reaction, they hastened to join Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and turn their guns towards Pak security forces dubbed as mercenaries of USA fighting US war for dollars.

But for phenomenal clandestine support by foreign powers to the TTP in the northwest and to the BLA, BRA and BLF in the southwest, extremism and terrorism could have got controlled after major operations launched in Malakand Division including Swat, Bajaur and SW in 2009 and minor operations in other tribal agencies. The disarrayed network of TTP was helped to get re-assembled and regrouped in North Waziristan and that of Maulana Fazlullah in Kunar and Nuristan in Afghanistan. As opposed to good work done by Pak security forces in combating and curbing terrorism in Pakistan, the US-NATO forces operating in Afghanistan along with Afghan National Army kept making one blunder after another and in the process kept sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire. Rather than correcting their follies, they chose to make Pakistan a scapegoat and declared it responsible for their failures. Rather than doing more at their end, they asked Pakistan to do more which was already doing much more than its capacity.

 

Since the aggressors underestimated their enemy they took things too lightly. Their intentions lacked sincerity and honesty and their stated objectives were totally different to their actual unspoken objectives which were commercial in nature. Above all they had no legitimate grounds to destroy a sovereign country and uproot its people which had played no role in 9/11. As a result, rather than devotedly fighting to win the war in Afghanistan, the assailants got deeply involved in drug business and other money-making schemes. The ruling regime led by Hamid Karzai became a willing partner in such shady businesses. American security contractors, defence merchants, builders and intelligence agencies started multiplying their wealth and lost their moral and professional ethics. Other than materialistic ventures, they got more involved in money-spinning covert operations against Pakistan, Iran, China and Middle East than in fighting their adversary. Taliban and al-Qaeda combine took full advantage of their self-destructive activities and opening of the second front in Iraq. After regrouping and re-settling in southern and eastern Afghanistan, they started striking targets in all parts of the country. War in Iraq helped al-Qaeda in expanding its influence in Arabian Peninsula and turning into an international organization.

 

The US has made a big mess in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Libya and is now making another mess in Syria. It has lost the confidence of its most allied ally Pakistan by mistreating and distrusting it. Having lost on all fronts because of its tunnel vision and mercantile greed, it now wants the most dangerous country Pakistan to ignore the raw deal it gave all these years and to not only help ISAF in pulling out of Afghanistan safely but also to convince the Taliban to agree upon a negotiated political settlement. At the start of the Afghan venture, Pakistan was chosen by Washington to ensure success and in the endgame Pakistan is again being relied upon to bail it out of the mess. In the same breadth, the US is unprepared to cease drone attacks in FATA despite repeated requests that drones fuel terrorism. It is still focused on carving a lead role for India in Afghanistan. It is not prepared to stop its interference in internal affairs of Pakistan or to dissuade India from destabilizing Balochistan. Whatever socio-economic promises made are futuristic in nature and tied to conditions. US media and think tanks continue to demonize Pakistan. Its tilt towards India is too heavy and prejudicial behavior towards Pakistan conspicuous.

 

As a result of the US skewed policies with ulterior motives, Pakistan is faced with the demons of ethnicity, sectarianism, Jihadism, religious extremism and terrorism. While TTP is aligned with about 60 terrorist groups, in Balochistan there are more than two dozen terrorist groups. In Karachi, other than armed mafias, political parties have armed wings and are involved in target killings. Rangers and Police are engaged in targeted operation in Karachi and are producing productive results. 150,000 troops combating the militants in the northwest enjoy a definite edge over them. Major parts of Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary, Levies and Police are fighting the Baloch separatists and sectarian forces targeting Hazaras and have contained anti-state forces. All major cities are barricaded with road blocks and police piquets and yet terrorists manage to carryout acts of terror. The miscreants are fighting State forces with tenacity because of uninterrupted financial and weapons support from foreign agencies. Once external support dries up, their vigor will wane rapidly and sooner than later they will give up fighting.

 

With so many grave internal and external threats, most of which were invented and thrust upon Pakistan by foreign powers and duly exacerbated by meek and self-serving political leadership, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s hands remained full. He has saddled the COAS chair for six years and during this period he had to face many a critical situations. It goes to his credit that he handled each crisis competently, astutely and honorably. During his eventful command, he tackled the challenge of terrorism, which he rightly described as the biggest threat to the security of Pakistan, boldly and produced pleasing results. Above all, he kept the morale of all ranks in the Army high and earned their respect and admiration. The list of his achievements is long and I have been highlighting those in my articles off and on. His successor has so far not been named but whosoever replaces him will find it difficult to fit into his shoes. I am sure he will breathe more freely and relax once he retires on November 29, 2013. We thank him for his laudable contributions and wish him sound health and happiness in all his future doings. Let us hope and pray that this senseless war comes to an end at the earliest, putting an end to chirping tongues deriving sadistic pleasure in describing Pakistan as the most dangerous country.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, historian and a researcher. asifharoonraja@gmail.com 

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