LONDON: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s former head of diplomatic wing and Coordination Committee member Muhammad Anwar has revealed that the MQM has been receiving funds from the Indian government and he was asked by the party leadership to coordinate with Indian contacts to get the funding.
In an exclusive interview with The News and Geo at his home in Edgware, the MQM stalwart denied having anything to do with the murder of Dr Imran Farooq and revealed that it was Nadeem Nusrat who introduced him to an Indian diplomat in early 90’s. Nusrat, MQM’s former Coordination Committee member, now lives in Washington and runs his own organization.
Speculations have also existed that the MQM received monies from India’s spy agency RAW but this is for the first time that someone in the party’s senior-most position like Anwar has officially confirmed MQM’s involvement with India’s spy agency over a period of time.
Anwar revealed: “It was sometime in the early 90’s when Nadeem Nusrat came to me and told me that he would like me to meet an Indian diplomat. He asked me to meet the Indian diplomat alone but I refused and told him that he should accompany too. It was at 7 o clock in the evening and it was raining heavily that day. Nadeem Nusrat, on my insistence, went with me to the meeting but stood outside the venue.”
Anwar said he told the Indian diplomat that he will discuss issues with him only in the presence of his senior, Nusrat. The Indian diplomat told Anwar he had instructions only to speak to him and not to anyone else. “I told him that I will not speak to him on my own. After making a call to someone and after about half an hour’s argument, he received permission and then Nadeem Nusrat joined us too. This is how I got connected.”
Anwar said that it was never his decision to meet Indian diplomats and deal with them. “I confirm that I was obeying orders of the party. I was asked to do what I did and I was connected by MQM with the Indian contacts. I never had any vested interests. We were towing the party line on India.”
Anwar said he had informed General (retired) Ihtisham Zameer about the whole situation and offered him assistance but the offer was not taken up due to narrow political considerations.
Anwar said that his own colleagues in MQM – Pakistan and UK created a bad impression about him, projected him as the only bad person whereas the reality is that each and every person in the leadership position shared responsibilities and all decisions were taken in consultations with each other.
He said that the MQM-Pakistan leaders were projecting themselves today as holier than thou but he said that the Karachi based leadership was responsible for large-scale killings and destructions in the city. “The so-called civilized leaders that you see on TV these days were the ones who were always offering to Altaf Hussain to inform them who to maim, kill and burn. I am ready to share details with authorities about their deeds. Over the years, they have blamed me only to launder themselves as clean guys. That’s not the case.”
Last week, Anwar was named as absconder, with Altaf Hussain and Iftikhar Hussain, in the Dr Imran Farooq murder case by Islamabad’s Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).
He told this correspondent that the judgment quotes Kahlid Shamim as saying that in 2005 he called Imran Farooq from Dublin and spoke to both of us over the speaker and in the same conversation I allegedly asked him to kill Dr Imran Farooq.
“It’s ridiculous to say that I was planning Doctor Farooq’s killing on his face during a conversation Doctor Farooq was listening to standing with me. Is this believable? This is a Romeo and Juliet story. This is totally baseless, without any substance.”
Anwar said he has never met Shamim in is life and never had any relation with him of any kind. How is it possible that I planned the assassination of my senior in his presence, with a stranger on the phone thousands of miles away, asked Anwar.
Anwar blamed Governor Ishrat-ul-Ebaad, the former Sindh Governor, for spinning dark theories about his role in the killing. Anwar shared that the former Sindh governor told him that Britain’s spy agency, MI6, has shared with him two pictures showing him with two assassins of Dr Farooq.
Anwar said: “I asked Ebaad many times to send me pictures but he never did and then I had to take a tough stance. Altaf Hussain asked Tariq Mir to visit Karachi, meet the governor and bring the two pictures. Tariq Mir came back with two tiny photo-shopped pictures made in a studio. I laughed seeing at those pictures.”
Anwar said he had fully cooperated with Scotland Yard in their investigation and the police had never shared with him anything suggesting his link of any kind with the killing. “If there was anything the police would have presented that before me as incriminating evidence but I have seen nothing and the police have mentioned nothing.”
He said that Ishrat Ebaad should also be made part of the investigation and questions should be asked of him as well as to who was passing him false information and what information did he have. Anwar said that police had raided his house and took all his belongings including laptops of his college-going children but found nothing. “I am saying unequivocally and vociferously that I am not involved,” he said.
Anwar said that Altaf suspended Dr Imran Farooq to embarrass and humiliate him. “I respected him a lot. We had disagreements over policy matters and I always stood by merit in the party.”
He said Dr Imran Farooq was consistent in his political beliefs and didn’t like U-turns and policy somersaults made by the party founder.
Anwar said that the current MQM group had let down the whole Muhajir community by calling for “Sindhu desh” ignoring the fact that over 25,000 Urdu-speaking people have laid down their lives for the just cause of Muhajir rights. “The martyrdom of our people was not for Sindhu desh but for Muhajir rights.”
Anwar said that MQM has never been against Pakistan. Anwar recalled that Field Marshal Ayub Khan gave his father Tamgha-e-Khidmat in 1967 for his services to the state of Pakistan. In 1971, Anwar said, his father in 1971 did food provision work in North Bengal on General Niazi’s request because all provisions were cut off.
He said: “My father was the only person who supplied food without even billing. He was arrested as a war collaborator and languished in jail and suffered inhumane torture. My father-in-law Syed Ahmed Ashraf was campaigning for Pakistan in 1937 with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was Secretary General of All India Muslim League. He is buried in Islamia College. We are not and were not against Pakistan. We were not Indian agents. Whatever our relations with India, we were towing MQM’s party line.”
Anwar said the late Asma Jahangir called MQM’s office on 12 May 2007 and told the London office that MQM people were involved in killing innocent people and pleaded to the party leadership to stop the carnage in Karachi during Pervez Musharraf’s government.
“I, Anees Advocate, Imran Farooq and Tariq Mir were opposed to the violence. I told leadership what would happen to us in international and local opinion but in the end, Karachi leaders prevailed and Altaf didn’t agree with us.”
Anwar offered that he would cooperate with the authorities in the UK and Pakistan if needed to establish facts. Anwar has warned that he will be spilling more beans on MQM if anyone tried to malign him.