In a significant breakthrough in the Dr Imran Farooq murder case, the British police’s Counter-Terrorism Unit has arrested a 52-year-old man believed to be a British of Pakistani origin and closely linked with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday.
The man, who has not been officially named, was arrested as he landed at Heathrow Airport from Canada. He was taken to a West London police station on suspicion of conspiracy to murder Farooq, co-founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), in September 2010.
“Counter Terrorism officers investigating the murder of Imran Farooq have arrested a man on suspicion of conspiracy to murder,” the Metropolitan Police in London said.
“Officers arrested the 52-year-old man at Heathrow Airport at approx 1010hrs (BST) this morning after landing at the airport on a flight from Canada,” the police statement added.
Reliable sources told Pakistan Today that the arrested suspect was identified as Iftikhar Hussain, and he is reported to be closely related to the senior MQM leadership. Startling revelations are expected when the British police interrogate the suspect, the sources added.
The British police have meanwhile decided to expand the investigation and a team of special counter terrorism officials is scheduled to leave for South Africa to further probe the events leading to Farooq’s murder.
Meanwhile, reports pouring in from London said that the British police had placed the names of five Pakistanis on the Exit Control List and they had been forbidden from leaving the country.
A private TV channel reported that the British police had also decided to question “a leading politician based in London” in connection with the murder probe.
Farooq, 50, was on his way home from work when he was attacked outside his home at Green Lane in north London’s Edgware area on September 16, 2010.
A post-mortem gave his cause of death as multiple stab wounds and blunt trauma to the head. A five-and-a-half inch bladed kitchen knife and a house brick used in the attack were recovered at the scene.
Farooq had been living in London in self-imposed exile since 1999 after fleeing Pakistan during a deadly military operation. After his death, party members said he had fallen out with the leadership but had been planning to relaunch his political career.
“Detectives from the Met police counter-terrorism command remain committed to finding those responsible. They believe his murder would have required careful planning and would have required help from other people, some of whom may have provided assistance or information unwittingly,” the Met Police said in its statement.
A reward of up to 20,000 pounds has been offered for anyone providing information leading to the identification, arrest, and prosecution of those responsible for the politician’s murder.
“We understand that people may have concerns in speaking to the police and would like to offer reassurance that information will be dealt with sensitively,” the Met has said.
Last week, Met police officers had searched two residential properties in London as part of their investigation into the murder.
Television reports said they carried out a 55-hour search at two north-west London addresses and confiscated several documents.
Pakistan Today had earlier learnt on good authority that one of the residences searched was registered in the name of MQM founder Altaf Hussain. Senior MQM leader Raza Haroon, who has previously served as a provincial minister in the Sindh government, was reportedly interrogated for nearly five hours during the raid.
Repeated attempts were made to contact the MQM’s media spokesperson and member Coordination Committee, Engineer Nasir Jamil but the calls went unanswered.
Pakistan Today also attempted to contact MQM’s senior leaders Haider Abbas Rizvi and Faisal Sabzwari but their phones remained unattended.