LONDON: Shumaila Imran Farooq, the widow of slain senior MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq, said the party’s Pakistan and London chapters have not looked after her in any manner after the brutal assassination of one of its founding leaders in London almost a decade ago.
Speaking for the first time in 10 years to Geo News talk show host, Shahzeb Khanzada, about the trauma she has faced all these years and the abject level of poverty she is living in, Shumaila broke down into tears as she explained how the MQM-P and MQM-L quickly moved on with their lives, never to turn back and ask her how she and her two sons — both under 15 — were doing.
Shumaila has Stage 2 mouth cancer, which was diagnosed around 18 months ago. She said the MQM-P was enjoying being in power as the ruling PTI’s coalition partners, gaining privileges and benefiting from perks; however, not even once had any of the party leaders bothered to ask if she needed any help or made a call out of courtesy.
“Nobody calls me. I have often seen them making media statements claiming and promising to do wonders for the widow and children of Shaheed-e-Inqilaab Dr Imran Farooq but practically they have done nothing… never,” she told Khanzada.
“I am in this situation of life and death now. My husband was one of the founders of the MQM and died for the party but his own party has not taken care of me,” Dr Farooq’s widow said.
Speaking of the MQM-P’s role in Pakistani politics, she said: “They make statements of support on Twitter, Facebook, and the media but they have never helped me.”
When asked if the MQM-L headed by Altaf Hussain ever helped her, she said: “I live in a one-bedroom flat provided by the British government. I survive by getting handouts from the government for food and utility bills. I live on benefits.
“Everyone is aware of the fact I am a cancer victim and have a few years to live, I have two young sons and there’s nobody in the world who would help me but those who were supposed to be there for me have never helped me,” she added.
The slain leader’s wife said the UK-based MQM-L “initially helped me but then stopped”.
“Nobody stands by you when you are in a difficult situation. Nobody is there for you when you are in difficulty. I have been through the worst of times and I don’t wish this upon my enemies even.”
She appreciated Geo News for raising her issues, talking about her, and spreading awareness among the masses. It was through Geo News’ several years of reporting that people know about her, she said, adding that otherwise she was completely abandoned by her former colleagues in the MQM.
Shumaila said her own family members in Karachi helped through the past 10 years but her in-laws never spoke to her or asked her about well-being. She mentioned that she had not spoken up in that time period due to fear and the trauma.
“I have lived in fear for my safety and the safety of my children. My sons are still getting counselling. They fear going outside and they don’t want to hear loud noises.
“They have not recovered from the terror trauma. We have never had a day of peace in our lives in ten years,” she explained.
Shumaila said Dr Farooq faced challenges with the MQM leadership before he was murdered and was, therefore, worried all the time. At home, however, he smiled around his children and did not want to let them know of his worries.
She said the impression that he wished to set up his own party or was against Hussain is wrong.
“My husband was with Altaf Hussain till the last moments of his life. He had no plans of setting up an alternative party. However, he was a man of principles and did not compromise on the stance he took.”
The deceased leader’s wife expressed satisfaction over the conviction of his murderers, saying she was “pleased that those responsible would spend the rest of their lives in prison” for killing a true patriot and “a hero of the MQM”.