Wednesday, July 1, 2015

London Met Police Confirm Document Linking MQM to Indian Money

“Large amounts of cash have been seized from premises associated with the MQM and a significant amount of assets have been identified in the United Kingdom. All of the cash and assets are believed to represent funds provided to MQM by the Indian government or other unlawful activity."  London Metropolitan Police Document

A London police spokesperson  has told Pakistani media that a document titled “Pre-interview briefing" prepared for Sarfaraz Merchant "appears to be a genuine police document". The document was prepared to brief Sarfaraz Anwar Merchant on April 15, 2015 who was interviewed by London Metropolitan Police at Belgravia Police Station in presence of officers DC Stuart Mathews and DC Stephen Waterworth. It says that “Interviews under caution were conducted with Tariq MIR and Mohammad ANWAR in 2012 in relation to a separate investigation. During the interviews both Mr MIR and Mr ANWAR stated that MQM was receiving funding from the Indian government.”

The latest document acknowledged to be genuine by the London Police also says: “There is evidence that Mr HUSSAIN and members of the MQM have breached Pakistani Electoral legislation in as much as they have received ‘prohibited’ funds from the Indian government. This also constitutes breaches of criminal offenses under Pakistan and UK legislation thereby making the cash and assets criminal property.”

An alleged document of the transcript of Tariq Mir's interrogation leaked earlier has been disowned by the London Police. However, the Police did not comment on the veracity of the contents of the transcripts.

These documents have surfaced since the release of a BBC story by Owen Bennett Jones alleging that some MQM leaders, including Altaf Husain, have been receiving money from India's intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

MQM Terrorist Designation. Source: US Court Order

What began as murder investigation after the London killing of former MQM leader Imran Farooq later expanded to include money laundering after the discovery of several hundred thousand British Pounds in cash at MQM chief Altaf Husain's residence.  It was this turn of events that led to interrogation of Mr. Tariq Mir, the MQM party finance manager in the UK, and others, including Mohammad Anwar and Sarfaraz Merchant.

Evidence of Indian funding of Baloch insurgents, TTP militants and Karachi's MQM is mounting every day. The pattern seems to fit the Indian strategy of proxy war against Pakistan that has been articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval  as follows: "How do we tackle Pakistan? .. You make it difficult for them (Pakistan) to manage their internal security... Pakistan's vulnerability is many many times higher than India's....Taliban have beheaded 23 of their (Pakistani) soldiers...funding can be countered by giving more funds...more than one-and-a-half times the funding they have available and they'll be yours..the Taliban are mercenaries...go for more of a covert thing"

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gangs of Karachi

Gangster Politicians of Karachi

Ex-Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Cover War Against Pakistan?

Pakistan's Political and Military Policy Response to Peshawar Attack

Taliban or RAW-liban?

Respecting Rights of Fellow Humans: Huqooq ul Ibad in Islam

Counter-insurgencyOperation ZarbeAzb

India's Abiding Hostility Toward Pakistan 

India's Israel Envy: Will Modi Attack Pakistan?

Who Killed Karkare?

CFR's View of the Taliban

Rising Religious Intolerance Threatens Pakistan's Future

Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization


Anonymous said...

Dr. Shahid Masood on this document:

Riaz Haq said...

The Indian (Express) newspaper alleges that one of the Pakistani officials has claimed that individuals linked to the party received multiple remittances through Dubai’s RAK Bank from one Jasmine Valley General Trading through 2011, 2012 and 2013, totaling just under $ 1.5 million. The fact that Jasmine Valley has Indian nationals as owners, the source alleged, meant that it could be a RAW front.

However, the public record shows that Jasmine Valley, far from being an entity fronting for Indian intelligence, is itself being prosecuted by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. The DRI, in 2001, filed charges against multiple entities linked to Jasmine Valley, saying the firm was used to under-invoice imports from Italy, China and Spain to avoid Customs duties.

“It seems to be one of many similar shell companies in Dubai that engage in dubious financial practices,” an Indian government source familiar with the case said. “There are lots of firms in the Emirates that will move money around for you for a fee.”

According to the report published by The Indian Express, several phone calls were made to numbers listed in Dubai business directories for Jasmine Valley, but they were all either switched off, or did not respond.

No email address is listed for Jasmine Valley in any of six business directories this newspaper searched; only a post box address is available.

When contacted by The Indian Express, Anwar did not respond to requests for a comment.

Riaz Haq said...

If Altaf and his supporters feel that MQM leaders did not take any money from RAW and the BBC story by Owen Bennett Jones is baseless, then they should sue BBC for libel in a British Court. George Galloway did that when he was accused by Daily Telegraph of taking money from Saddam Husain. Galloway won a retraction, an apology and hundreds of thousands of pounds in the case.

Kashif said...

This year, no one from #MQM came to my place with fitra slips. They just hang a banner on the road and kept their quite. Change is here!

Riaz Haq said...

Kashif: "This year, no one from #MQM came to my place with fitra slips. They just hang a banner on the road and kept their quite. Change is here!"

#MQM forced #Fitra collection stopped in #Karachi. #India #RAW money under scrutiny. Cut #MQM funds to stop crime.

Riaz Haq said...

Former RAW chief AS Dulat has on Saturday said that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain is a ‘guest’ of British intelligence agency MI-6 in London. However, he refused to answer a question about Indian funding of MQM, reported Dunya News.

Talking to a news channel in India, AS Dulat, refusing to answer a question whether India funds MQM or not, claimed that Altaf Hussain is a ‘guest of MI-6’. He said that Altaf Hussain is hosted by MI-6 and therefore, MI-6 should be questioned about MQM s funding as well.

AS Dulat’s statement has come amid rumors that two of MQM leaders have confessed MQM’s funding from India.

Riaz Haq said...

Crime Down in #Karachi, Paramilitary in #Pakistan Shifts Focus to Top Political Parties in Sindh

Paramilitary troops have become ubiquitous around this sprawling Pakistani port city. They watch over police officers at traffic circles, their convoys patrol thoroughfares, their raids drive daily headlines.

After years of crime and militancy that had made Karachi a byword for violence, an extended operation by the paramilitary force — the Sindh Rangers, who are ultimately answerable to the powerful Pakistani military command — has been working. Officials and residents report that crime is notably down across the city.

But in the name of security, the force in recent months has also begun upending the city’s political order. The crackdown has expanded to target two powerful political parties that have long been at odds with the military establishment. And it has left a broad trail of human rights violations — including accusations of extrajudicial killings, in which officers shoot suspects after taking them into unlawful detention, according to rights advocates and members of those parties.

The crackdown, which began two years ago, was initially limited to the slums and outskirts of the city, where Taliban militants and gangsters wielded influence. But this year, the military ordered that the dragnet be thrown wider, especially targeting the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or M.Q.M. The political party has controlled the city for decades through the powerful combination of a large ethnic support base, political acumen and armed gangs.

And in August, the Sindh Rangers arrested and brought charges of financing terrorism against Dr. Asim Hussain, a close aide to former President Asif Ali Zardari, who heads the Pakistan Peoples Party, or P.P.P. Several top leaders of the party, which in addition to its national profile controls the government of surrounding Sindh Province, have left the country, fearing arrest.

“We have dismantled the network of Taliban and criminal gangs of Lyari,” said one senior paramilitary security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the news media. (Lyari is the name of a poor Karachi neighborhood infamous for gang wars.) “Now, it is the turn of militant wings of political parties and those who provided finances to armed groups.”

The leaders of both the parties say they are being targeted for political reasons and accuse the Rangers, and their military masters, of overstepping their mandate and meddling in civilian politics. Interviews with the police and paramilitary officials and political leaders reveal that even among those who support the military, there is a growing sense that the country’s generals have made a concerted decision to wrest Karachi from the M.Q.M.’s control.


Some analysts believe the politician Imran Khan and his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, have the most potential of any group to cut into the M.Q.M.’s influence in Karachi, especially given the widespread image of the party as being acceptable to the military.

But Talat Aslam, a senior editor at The News International in Karachi, said that Mr. Khan’s party, known as P.T.I., had not yet had much electoral success in the city and that at times it had misplayed its hand here.

“Very often, the P.T.I. gives the impression of being a force of outsiders that could arrive out of the blue to ‘liberate’ the captive and enslaved Mohajirs from the M.Q.M., which rules over them by force alone — a description that does not always go down well with the electorate,” Mr. Aslam said.

Political observers say the most likely consequence of the continuing paramilitary crackdown will be that no single political party will now be able to control the city. But for some here, particularly within the business sector, the improvement in overall violence has been worth the political upheaval.

“We do not care about the politicians,” said Atiq Mir, a leader of the local merchants’ community. “Peace is returning to Karachi because of the steps taken by the Rangers.”

Riaz Haq said...

Ex #Karachi Mayor Mustafa Kamal says #MQM #AltafHusain #India's #RAW agents, unveils new political party. #Pakistan …

In a fiery tell-all press conference upon his return to Karachi, former city nazim Mustafa Kamal on Thursday announced a new party in a direct challenge to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Flanked by former fellow MQM colleague Anees Qaimkhani, this was the first media appearance by the two leaders after a prolonged absence from local political scene and rifts with the leadership of their former party, the MQM.

Addressing the media at the press conference in Karachi, Kamal lashed out sharply at MQM chief Altaf Hussain, with whom the former Karachi mayor has had a falling out since years since he left the party and moved to Dubai.

Before starting a presser which lasted for nearly two hours, Kamal told those present that the agenda of his press conference would be split into three parts, where he would outline why "I and Anees left the party. Second, why we have come back, and what we will do next.”

Kamal accused Altaf Hussain of insulting party workers several times in public meetings, especially once in May 2013 when he changed the party set up overnight.

He recalled that during his time in the MQM, the party's Rabita Committee would continuously be degraded and insulted by Altaf Hussain within weeks and months, but recently the situation had worsened so much that the Rabita Committee would now be insulted every few minutes.

What was first done in private settings was being done in public through media channels, he said.

He recalled how the MQM Rabita Committee was manhandled by people when the PTI secured 800,000 votes.

He also revealed that a time came when former Interior Minister Rehman Malik would dictate the press releases for MQM, adding that Malik had access to the MQM chief even more than MQM leaders.

'We have come to rebuild'

With tears in his eyes at one point, the emotional leader demanded to know why children of MQM workers continue to bury their fathers. He demanded to know what the agenda is behind all these sacrifices. “Is it to help fund Altaf Hussain's alcoholism, to finance their properties and wealth abroad?” he asked.

"We were a civilized community. We have now been reduced to RAW agents," he said. "What do you want us to see? More arrests? Torture? Martyrs? I agree you have to give sacrifices in movements. We are willing to sacrifice ourselves. But tell me what for?"

Kamal minced no words when claiming why he left the MQM after he realized that all his efforts and hard work was not for the benefit of the people but to fund the ills of one man.

“We have returned today because every child of Pakistan, every party, the establishment of Pakistan as well as the present and past government s know, that Altaf Hussain has links with the Indian intelligence agency RAW,” he alleged.

Also read: Former MQM leader confessed ‘Indian funding’ to London police

“When Dr. Imran Farooq was martyred, and the Scotland Yard started gathering evidence from his residence; they took away a truckload of evidence from his (Altaf’s) residence. For six or seven months, the investigators studied the evidence and documents that they had collected. Then they summoned the members in London, including Altaf Hussain who was interviewed for three days,” he said..

Mustafa Kamal claimed that during the Scotland Yard interviews, they were asked whether they were taking funds from India.

He added that all the individuals denied the allegations for at least 10-15 minutes and then the Scotland Yard began serving them documentary evidence proving all the allegations that they had just denied.

Kamal claimed Altaf was misleading the people of Pakistan that “since he has raised his voice against the establishment of Pakistan, he is being cornered and silenced”.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex mayor of #Pakistan's richest city #Karachi: #AltafHusain funded by #India #RAW, runs #MQM militants. via @Reuters

A former mayor of Karachi, Pakistan's largest and richest city, returned home from self-imposed exile on Thursday and launched a new political party to challenge the iron grip of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on the city.

The MQM political party is under pressure from the paramilitary Rangers force, which launched an armed operation in the southern port city late in 2013 to tackle soaring crime rates.

Since then, hundreds of MQM workers have been arrested and a Pakistani court has issued an arrest warrant for party boss Altaf Husain for threatening the army in a television address.

Mustafa Kamal, who won wide support as mayor of Karachi from 2005 to 2010 for his efforts to ease traffic and improve public services, leveled blistering criticism at Husain's strongarm tactics.

"Today we are launching a new political party," a weeping Kamal said at a news conference. "Children have been slain and generations have been destroyed by Altaf Husain. This is my challenge."

Hussain could not immediately be reached for comment. Wanted in his homeland over a murder case, he has been living in self-imposed exile in Britain since 1992.

Kamal left Pakistan in 2013 over reported differences with Husain, and had lived in Dubai since then.

In a tirade that lasted almost two hours, Kamal accused Husain of the murders of party workers, and of delivering speeches and making party policy while drunk. He said Husain personally ran the party's militant wing.

MQM senior leader Saif Ali dismissed Kamal's accusations, adding there was no doubt Husain was the "undisputed leader of the people."

Karachi is home to Pakistan's stock exchange and handles all of the cash-strapped country's shipping. It generates most of Pakistan's tax revenue, and some of its most wanted men.

The Rangers crackdown and Kamal's unprecedented attack have raised questions over who will control Pakistan's financial heart in the future.

Husain is known for his fiery addresses to supporters in Karachi via a loudspeaker linked to a telephone in his London home. His hold on the sprawling and violent city is so strong he is capable of shutting down entire neighborhoods.

In 2010, MQM founding member Imran Farooq was stabbed to death in London. Party insiders say he had major differences with Husain before his death.

Husain is now under investigation in Britain for Farooq’s murder, as well as charges of money-laundering.

Last year, Pakistani officials arrested two men suspected of killing Farooq. Both are affiliated with the MQM.

Riaz Haq said...

“British judges have found that the #MQM is responsible for killing 100s of #Karachi police officer in #Pakistan.”

On two occasions British judges have found that the MQM is a violent organisation. In 2010 a Karachi-based police officer sought asylum in the UK claiming the MQM was threatening to kill him in revenge for his having registered a case against one of its members. The judge, Lord Bannatyne, granted asylum and in his judgment accepted that: "the MQM has killed over 200 police officers who stood up to them in Karachi".

The figure is often cited by the Karachi police themselves, and refers to those officers who were closely involved in Benazir Bhutto's anti-MQM crackdown, Operation Clean-up. It came in 1995, during Bhutto's second government. Unable to rely on the slow, intimidated and corrupt courts, which were always nervous to convict MQM defendants, the security forces resorted to hundreds if not thousands of extrajudicial killings of MQM activists. Many of the police officers responsible have subsequently been murdered. MQM, however, refutes any allegations of inciting violence from London.

Riaz Haq said...

I bet Allama Iqbal was very prescient. He was referring to MQM's Altaf Husain when he wrote: Jaafar az Bangal Sadiq az Dakan/ Nange e Millat Nange Deen Nange Watan.

Riaz Haq said...

Will #MQM power center shift from #London to #Karachi? #AltafHusain #Pakistan #India via @TheEconomist

FOR decades the fleshy features of Altaf Hussain have glowered over Karachi. The leader of the mighty Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) may have fled to London 25 years ago, but his image remains plastered on the streets of the city he controls. But it is becoming harder to find the posters and party flags that once fluttered from every streetlight. Mr Hussain has gradually been losing sway over Pakistan’s largest city to the Rangers, a notionally civilian security force under the control of the army.

In 2013 the government ordered the Rangers to rid Karachi of Islamist militants and criminal gangs. Last year they turned their attention to the MQM, a party successive governments have accused of deep involvement in Karachi’s criminal economy. Although it is ostensibly a relatively liberal and staunchly anti-Islamist political outfit, the authorities claim it runs a shadow organisation of extortionists and kidnappers. As evidence of the party’s unsavoury side, the Rangers point to weapons they discovered when they raided its “Nine Zero” headquarters last year.

This week Mr Hussain was at it again, with a speech in which he railed against television stations that had denied him coverage. One person was killed and several were injured when angry supporters ransacked the offices of two media companies. In response, the Rangers arrested senior MQM officials and shut Nine Zero. The police lodged a treason case against Mr Hussain, who had described Pakistan as a “cancer” in his speech. The interior minister complained to the British government about the conduct of Mr Hussain, who became a British citizen after fleeing an earlier crackdown on the MQM.

Mr Hussain issued a fulsome apology and said he had been under “immense mental stress”. It was not enough to avoid an unprecedented rebuke from Farooq Sattar, the MQM’s leader in Pakistan. All future decisions will be taken by the party’s leadership in Pakistan, he said, not from London. Mr Hussain appears to be acquiescing to this demotion: he has issued a statement promising to hand over “complete power”.

Sceptics say Mr Hussain will never willingly relinquish his grip. He stepped aside once before, in 1992, only to re-assert himself a few months later. But a comeback will be harder this time. The battering the Rangers have given the party’s heavies has greatly diminished his clout. His regular demands for citywide strikes used to turn Karachi into a ghost town. Shops now stay open, for the most part.

Yet the MQM’s local leadership will not want to cut all ties to Mr Hussain. He is the most charismatic figure in a party increasingly challenged by rivals, including the splinter Pakistan Sarzameen Party, which was set up by a former MQM mayor in March with, many believe, the support of the security services.

The MQM draws its support from the mohajir community—Urdu-speaking Muslims who fled India in 1947 and their descendants. They have remained a dependable vote block despite the many hair-raising claims made about the party, in part because they fear they will lose out to the city’s other ethnic groups, not least the fast-growing Pushtun community. For many mohajirs, the Rangers’ crackdown has only made Mr Hussain more popular. “Altaf is like the head of a family who has been fighting for us for 30 years,” says Mujahid Rasool, a 50-year-old shopkeeper. “Even when the eldest son starts taking more responsibilities, it doesn’t mean he is the family’s guardian.”

Riaz Haq said...

#BBC journalist Owen Bennet Jones: Money laundering charges against #MQM dropped for political reasons. #AltafHusain …

Money laundering charges against Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder could have been dropped for political reasons, British journalist Owen Bennett Jones who has followed the case closely said in an interview with BBC Urdu on Friday.

“Two senior leaders of the MQM confessed to the London police that India had funded them. There statements were recorded with the police. Police gave their case to the Crown Prosecution Service which faced international pressure and thought it is better to drop the case in view of public interest,” he said.

He called this development a victory for MQM. “It’s a big victory for MQM. It is an important turn in the several year long investigation. Money laundering was an important aspect of the murder case. It was thought that [amid the pressure] MQM will split.”

The London police, he said, raided that MQM founder’s house to probe the Imran Farooq murder case. But they instead found a huge amount of money and list of weapons in his house, which triggered the money laundering investigation.

Scotland Yard announced on Thursday that no “further action will be taken against Altaf Hussain” and others in the long-running money-laundering case, deciding to drop the investigation altogether and effectively ensuring that the sensitive evidence involved in this case doesn’t go to public for fear of causing rifts between Pakistan, the UK and India.

The case against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain started in the end of 2012 when the police found a large amount of cash at the MQM’s International Secretariat. Scotland Yard said during the course of investigation that it had “credible evidence that the MQM received funds from the Indian government sources and broke the electoral laws of Pakistan and the UK”.

Riaz Haq said...

#MQM's #London-based Chief #AltafHusain coming to the United States of #America to raise funds

The chief of the London faction of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain, who is facing a ‘severe’ financial crisis, is set to fly to the Unites States soon after the elections there, Nadeem Nusrat, the party’s second-in-command, told The Express Tribune.

Nadeem Nusrat, however, did not clarify how and when Altaf Hussain would go to the US.

Gathering forces: MQM-Pakistan hopes to rise from ashes

The visit, referred to as a ‘political’ tour, is expected to last as long as three weeks during which Hussain is expected to hold meetings with ‘important government officials’, representatives of think tanks, besides delivering lectures at various universities.

He is virtually banned from conducting politics in the country. Authorities are persistently moving against his party. His once-close ‘lieutenants’ have dissociated themselves from him. He is wanted in a number of cases, in Pakistan, ranging from murder to sedition. And his accounts are running out of money.

A source in the MQM-London said that the visit is planned to gain US support and apply indirect pressure on Pakistan government, urging them to end the ongoing crackdown against party workers loyal to his faction.

“[Hussain] has been receiving invitations from America for quite some time. Party workers (over there) wanted him to visit by the end of this year. The plan has, however, been delayed,” said Nusrat, who returned to London from the US on Saturday afternoon.

Asked if the MQM chief was medically fit to go on such a flight the party convener said that he was fine and fit to travel.

Nusrat agreed that the party leaders in London had been facing a financial crunch over the past two-and-a-half-year period and the situation worsened over the past few months. Funds routed from Pakistan have completely dried, leaving them with no option but to seek funds from their comrades living in other countries.

According to MQM insiders, the party followed a rigid fund raising regime. But, all channels for routing money to London have been shut down.

Analysts believe that the August 23 decision of Farooq Sattar to divorce the entire London leadership had hurt Hussain. “He feels isolated. The Pakistan leadership, including those who got elected to assemblies on the party tickets doled out by him, stopped supporting him,” said Nadeem Nusrat.

Altaf Hussain apologises to army chief after anti-Pakistan speech

Although the MQM-London tried to re-enter mainstream politics with a new left-leaning team, spearheaded by Dr Hasan Zafar Arif, Momin Khan Momin and Amjadullah Khan, the authorities thwarted their collective attempt to take off the party by sending them all to jail.

The London leadership is still in contact with “people in Karachi”, maintained Nusrat.

Workers, he said, were being told to maintain a ‘low-profile’ until the situation improved.

According to one party source, Nadeem Nusrat has consistently been communicating to party workers loyal to Hussain to hold steadfast “until Altaf Hussain travels to the US”.

Riaz Haq said...

The I.S.I. also reported that it caught sight of R.A.W. operating in Karachi, infiltrating the Mujahir Qaumi Movement (M.Q.M.), the political party founded by Muslims who migrated from India after Partition. In the 1990s, the M.Q.M. leadership, facing multiple murder and extortion allegations, fled into exile in the U.K. and South Africa. In both places the British security services and the R.A.W. went to work recruiting, including the R.A.W. chief Samant Kumar Goel, seen by the I.S.I. as the most aggressive and capable Indian conduit in the Karachi operation. A window into this world opened-up after a brutal murder in Edgware, in North London, in 2010. Dr Imran Farooq, 50, an M.Q.M. leader, was ambushed walking home, and repeatedly stabbed and bludgeoned with a brick. During the inquiry that followed Scotland Yard detectives were told in sworn witness statements that millions of dollars was delivered by the R.A.W. to the M.Q.M. via diplomatic missions in Vienna and Johannesburg.246 When India required chaos in Karachi, M.Q.M. was paid by Lodhi Road to make it happen in a mirror of B. Raman’s equivalence operations. •

Levy, Adrian. Spy Stories: Inside the Secret World of the RAW and the ISI (pp. 215-216). Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Riaz Haq
8:01 AM (1 minute ago)
to me

Arif Rafiq
“According to ppl w/ knowledge of the investigation, as well as interview transcripts reviewed by Bloomberg…Metropolitan Police detectives believed some of the funds might have come from the Research and Analysis Wing, the Indian intelligence service….”


How Pakistan’s Most Feared Power Broker Controlled a Violent Megacity From London
Accused of murder, money laundering, and terrorism, Altaf Hussain spent decades pulling Karachi’s strings from his British exile. Today he’s down, but not out.

ByChris Kay
September 30, 2022 at 9:30 PM PDT

Two Pakistani men, Kashif Khan Kamran and Mohsin Ali Syed, were watching Farooq and followed him as he left the station. When he was just a few steps from his house, Syed rushed at Farooq, holding him in place while Kamran bludgeoned his head with a brick, and then stabbed at his chest and belly. The two men dropped Farooq’s body and went straight to Heathrow Airport, where they boarded a flight to Sri Lanka. En route, Kamran made a brief call to Karachi, which Syed would later describe to police. The job was done, Syed recalled him saying.

London has seen more than its share of violence apparently motivated by faraway political vendettas. The murder still crossed a line. Eventually, British police raided a series of properties linked to the MQM, finding hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash. In addition to piles of money, in Hussain’s home they discovered what appeared to be a shopping list of guns and other weaponry, denominated, curiously, in Indian rupees. According to people with knowledge of the investigation, as well as interview transcripts reviewed by Bloomberg News, Metropolitan Police detectives believed some of the funds might have come from the Research and Analysis Wing, the Indian intelligence service–allegations that would prove explosive when aired in Pakistan. (The Indian Prime Minister’s office, to which RAW reports, didn’t respond to a request for comment; the Met declined to comment). Even if that wasn’t true, the cash was clearly of uncertain origin, and the police opened a money-laundering investigation.

The financial probe never led to prosecution, and nor was Hussain charged in connection with Farooq’s death, prompting another MP, Naz Shah, to ask the Met commissioner at a hearing whether British law enforcement was “taking the matter seriously.” The commissioner demurred, saying only that investigations were ongoing.

But events in Pakistan were beginning to turn against Hussain. In 2013 China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, had unveiled the Belt and Road Initiative, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan across Asia and beyond. As a traditional Chinese ally, Pakistan was to receive as much as $60 billion. Spending all that money productively would require more stability in Karachi—and an MQM no longer able to bring commerce to a halt. The subsequent military crackdown, which prompted Hussain’s 2016 calls for his followers to attack TV studios, brought the party to a political nadir. Its top officials in Karachi renounced Hussain’s leadership, leaving it unclear who was really in charge: those on-the-ground bosses, or an emigrĂ© who still commanded considerable loyalty from the rank and file. The Karachi wing sought control of the party’s British assets, alleging in a lawsuit that Hussain had siphoned millions of pounds of MQM funds into his own pocket. (Hussain denied wrongdoing). Amid the infighting, the MQM won only seven seats in the 2018 national elections, its lowest total ever. Without input from Hussain, the estranged Karachi wing entered Imran Khan’s coalition government.

Riaz Haq said...

ByChris Kay
September 30, 2022 at 9:30 PM PDT

Hussain elaborated, rejecting every allegation in turn. Suggestions of money-laundering and funding from Indian intelligence were “all rubbish,” he said, while the cash found by police in his house was simply there for safekeeping. In particular, Hussain denied any responsibility for Farooq’s murder. The assassins had eventually been arrested in Pakistan, where they told investigators that MQM leaders had instructed them to commit the crime. Though they later recanted those statements, an Islamabad court ruled in 2020 that they’d been acting under orders from Hussain. “I don’t know them,” Hussain said sternly. Instead, he said Farooq’s death was the work of Pakistani intelligence, like so much else. (Pakistan’s military didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Hussain’s denials came just a few weeks after another incident in which someone who crossed him found himself in harm’s way. Nusrat, Hussain’s former aide, had relocated to the US in 2017 after becoming disillusioned with Hussain’s leadership, setting up a separate Mohajir advocacy group. In July of last year he traveled to Houston to give a speech. On the way back to his hotel, Nusrat’s driver suddenly slammed on the brakes. A black sport-utility vehicle had pulled up. Someone inside fired several rounds before speeding away. Nusrat was unharmed. He wasn’t sure if the gunman missed, or if the shots were meant only to serve as a warning.

Hussain’s terrorism trial began in January at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in southwest London. There, prosecutors played the jury enraged speeches Hussain had delivered before the TV station attacks, and presented transcripts of his agitated discussions with MQM comrades, captured by a system the party used to record phone calls. In his closing statements, prosecutor Mark Heywood argued the evidence showed that what Hussain “asked and commanded were acts of terrorism.” Hussain’s lawyer, Rupert Bowers, asked the jury to evaluate Hussain’s words with the “yardstick” of Pakistan’s violent political culture, pointing out that his client had apologized for what ensued. Hussain, he said, “intended no serious violence to come from his speeches at all.” After deliberating for three days, a majority of jurors agreed that Hussain wasn’t guilty. He emerged jubilantly from the courthouse, blowing kisses to the small crowd of supporters.

Hussain arrives at Kingston Crown Court on Jan. 31.Photographer: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images
With another court battle just a month or so away—this time a civil suit brought by some of his erstwhile MQM allies—Hussain’s future still looks bleak. Riven by infighting and under pressure from the army, the party that once dominated the economic heart of Pakistan appears severely weakened. But the MQM has bounced back before. In April, Hussain’s London faction tentatively revived its operations in Karachi, naming two Pakistan-based leaders to serve as his lieutenants. A supporter is also petitioning a Pakistani court to remove the ban on his speeches.

Before climbing into a chauffeured Range Rover to drive home from court, Hussain made clear that he wasn’t finished trying to shape events in the city of his birth. “Inflation has skyrocketed,” he declared, with poor Pakistanis unable to afford fuel or electricity. “Today, I call upon all the institutions as well as the politicians of Pakistan that, for God’s sake, think about the poor people.”–with Ismail Dilawar

Riaz Haq said...

How Pakistan’s Most Feared Power Broker Controlled a Violent Megacity From London

Though he was born in Karachi in 1953, Hussain has always identified as a Mohajir—a term that refers to those, like his parents, who left India after partition. In Agra, about 140 miles south of Delhi, Hussain’s father had a prestigious job as a railway-station manager. In Karachi he could only find work in a textile mill, and then died when Hussain was just 13, leaving his 11 children dependent on Hussain’s brother’s civil-service salary as well as what their mother earned sewing clothes. Such downward mobility was common among Mohajirs, who were the target of discrimination by native residents of Sindh, the Pakistani state of which Karachi is the capital. Hussain was enraged by his community’s plight. He and a group of other Mohajir students founded the MQM in 1984, and Hussain gained a reputation for intense devotion to the cause. After one protest, when he was 26, he was jailed for nine months and given five lashes.

Religiously moderate and focused on reversing discriminatory measures, the MQM built a large following in Karachi, winning seats in the national and provincial parliaments. It didn’t hurt, according to UK diplomatic cables and two former Pakistani officials, that it received support from the military, which saw the party as a useful bulwark against other political factions. Although Hussain never stood for elected office, he was the inescapable face of the MQM, his portrait plastered all over the many areas it dominated.

From the beginning, the MQM’s operations went well beyond political organizing. As communal violence between ethnic Mohajirs, Sindhis, and Pashtuns worsened in the mid-1980s, Hussain urged his followers at a rally to “buy weapons and Kalashnikovs” for self-defense. “When they come to kill you,” he asked, “how will you protect yourselves?” The party set up weapons caches around Karachi, stocked with assault rifles for its large militant wing. Meanwhile, Hussain was solidifying his grip on the organization, lashing out at anyone who challenged his leadership. In a February 1991 cable, a British diplomat named Patrick Wogan described how, according to a high-level MQM contact, Hussain had the names of dissidents passed to police commanders, with instructions to “deal severely with them.” (Hussain denies ever giving instructions to injure or kill anyone).

Even the privileged came under direct threat. One elite Pakistani, who asked not to be identified due to fear of retribution, recalled angering the party by having the thieving manager of his family textile factory arrested, unaware the employee was an MQM donor. One afternoon in 1991, four men with guns forced themselves into the wealthy man’s car, driving him to a farmhouse on the edge of the city. There, they slashed him with razor blades and plunged a power drill into his legs. The MQM denied being behind the kidnapping, but when the victim’s family asked political contacts to lean on the party he was released, arriving home in clothes soaked with blood.