- MQM trashes BBC report on Indian funding, calls it ‘half-cooked story which lacks concrete evidence’
- No decision yet to challenge BBC in court under defamation charges: Barrister Saif
- Mohammad Anwar, Tariq Mir likely suspects for admissions on India funding: MQM sources
While the federal government remained tight-lipped over the allegations accounted in a BBC report pertaining to alleged Indian funding and weapons training to Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) for unrest in Karachi, the Karachi-based political outfit has vehemently rejected the report.
Talking to Pakistan Today over the phone from MQM’s London headquarters, MQM’s Senator Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif trashed the report claiming it “had no substance”.
“There is nothing new in the BBC report, however, the intent of a media trial looks fresh. They even failed to come up with new allegations. Moreover, the report quotes Pakistani sources to build its argument which reflects it has no value in a court of law. This looks to be a half-cooked story which lacks concrete evidence. Even the nameless sources used to build the argument were vague. Simply, it’s a pack of lies,” Senator Saif said.
“The MQM is a patriotic political party which firmly believes in the solidarity and stability of Pakistan. We can’t even think of all this. We don’t need foreign funding. MQM is not a small party. We spend lots of money in welfare projects. This allegation looks absurd,” he stressed.
Moreover, Saif said that MQM has been facing media trial since 1992 when false allegations of formation of Jinnahpur were levelled against the MQM. “But all of these allegations were proved baseless. Even the officers who performed operation later come forward and told that all such allegations were frivolous. Time will again prove our innocence,” asserted the MQM leader.
TO THE COURT THEN?
However, when asked if the MQM was planning to drag BBC into a court of law under defamation charges, Saif could not come up with a clear answer, saying that the party’s legal team would decide future course of action.
“Since the matter is already in the court here in London, it would be inappropriate to make a comment. Rather than jumping to conclusions, we will seek guidance from our legal team. I am just leaving to attend a meeting being held here in London,” Senator Saif said, who himself is a lawyer.
He added that MQM rabita committees in Pakistan and Britain held a joint meeting following the report’s publication.
Asked why MQM was hesitant to move court against BBC if the report was “baseless”, Barrister Saif said that rather than MQM, BBC should have moved court.
“If the BBC has evidence, it may produce it in the court of law rather than making a media trial of my party. We are now holding a meeting with our lawyers and will come up with a future course of action,” he maintained.
When asked who were the two MQM leaders who had admitted in their recorded interviews of taking Indian funding as claimed in the BBC report, Saif said that none of the MQM leaders interviewed by London authorities had made such admissions.
London Police has detained and interviewed MQM leaders Altaf Hussain, Muhammad Anwar, Iftikhar Quraishi, Sarfraz Merchant and Tariq Mir in the money laundering case.
However, a senior leader in the MQM said that the British authorities had recorded interviews of all the six but they suspect Mohammad Anwar and Tariq Mir are under the scanner for making the confessional statements.
Muhammad Anwar is a close aide of MQM chief Altaf Hussain and a member of party’s central coordination committee. Anwar’s son in law, Ansbad Malick, had also been indicted in money laundering case.
The MQM supremo was arrested on June 3, 2014 during the course of a money laundering investigation initiated in July 2013 by the London Metropolitan Police, prompting thousands of people in Karachi to stage a sit-in calling for his release.
The London Police has extended MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s bail till July 9, 2015 after he was interviewed for more than five hours by investigating officers on Tuesday.