Since the past over a week Pakistan’s print and electronic media have been replete with news pertaining to the alleged link of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), one of the major political parties of Karachi-Sindh, with the Indian government. This highly sensitive and mind-boggling news was broken by none other than one of world’s eminent and popular Broadcast Channels-the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
BBC quoting Pakistani officials reported that two senior officials of (MQM) in formal recorded interviews had told Scotland Yard that they had “received funds from the Indian government”. The report by Owen Bennett-Jones claimed that BBC was informed by a Pakistani official that over the last 10 years, hundreds of MQM militants had been trained by India in “explosives, weapons and sabotage”. The training took place in camps in north and north-east India, according to the BBC. When the BBC asked the Indian government about the MQM members being trained in India, it termed the charge as ‘completely baseless’.
When the BBC report made headlines in Pakistan’s print media, and flashed incessantly across the electronic media, the people in general and the government in particular stood totally aghast. The impact of this news was so severe that it overshadowed everything else that was happening in the country. MQM’s initial silence over the matter raised the curiosity of the people, vis-à-vis the issue, to uncontrollable limits. However, after MQM’s response to the BBC report the highly charged atmosphere cooled down a bit. The MQM strongly refuted the allegations made in the BBC report that MQM had been receiving funding from Indian authorities. The Coordination Committee of MQM said, “We categorically reject all the allegations leveled in this report. We believe that this report is aimed at tarnishing the image of the party in Pakistan and throughout the world.”
While allegations and counter allegations continue to be leveled and denials continue to emanate from quarters involved in this complicated and extremely sensitive matter, it is reported that the Government of Pakistan is in touch with the British authorities with a view to seeking information/facts of the report as its contents are of vital significance to the State of Pakistan. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary is also reported to have said that institutions relating to national security are handling this critical matter and are collecting the facts.
The measures that the government of Pakistan has already taken and is contemplating to take to deal with the issue in question seem appropriate and sensible. Shall we not then desist from drawing conclusions and wait till the investigation of the case is completed and the facts are brought to the fore? Shall we also not then stop casting undue aspersions on MQM, the political party that may or may not have committed the crime for which it is being so blatantly lambasted by the media and every other segment of the society? The fact of the matter is that MQM may not be guilty of the crime they are being alleged to have committed ‘until proven guilty’. If, however, after due investigation, MQM is found guilty of the crime/s allegedly committed by it the law of the land must take its own course and bring the perpetrators of the crime to book expeditiously.
M FAZAL ELAHI