New Delhi, June 25: London-based leaders of the Muttahida Quami Movement, a Pakistani political party now under fire for allegedly receiving payoffs from the Research and Analysis Wing, have denied having links with India’s covert service. “The allegations are utterly baseless, and have been planted by the Pakistan army to defame us,” said Muhammad Anwar, the top leader of the MQM’s London office, in an exclusive interview to The Indian Express. The BBC had reported Wednesday that investigators in the United Kingdom had conducted recorded “interviews with senior MQM officials who told them the party was receiving Indian funding.” The BBC attributed its report to information to “an authoritative Pakistani source.”
Anwar said: “For reasons I do not understand… the BBC has chosen not to reveal who is alleged to have received the money, from whom or when — questions I expect it asked its sources. The police have interviewed more than 4,000 people in this matter, so the key question is whether the allegation was credible… I very much doubt it.” As the report generated furious reactions in Pakistan, the BBC shut down its office in Karachi, fearing attack from the MQM — a party that has been linked to gangworld violence in the city.
The allegations related to an estimated £500,000 found by police from the home of the MQM’s London-based chief, Altaf Husain, and the party’s office. Earlier this month, Karachi Senior Superintendent of Police Malir Rao Anwar had alleged that two Karachi MQM activists — Tahir Rehman ‘Lamba’ and Muhammad Junaid Khan — received funds and training from RAW. The allegation came amidst charges by Pakistan army of Indian involvement in fueling terrorism in the country.
“The establishment in Pakistan wants to wipe us out,” Anwar said, “and to rule Karachi through its jihadist proxies. This is part of an effort to legitimise extra-judicial execution and torture of MQM workers.” Karachi police records obtained by The Indian Express show Rehman had told police that he had been despatched to India for training by the MQM in 2006, after years of serving as a party hit-man in the city. The MQM’s London secretariat, police claim, arranged for Rehman to travel to New Delhi through Bangkok, where he was provided with a legitimate Indian visa.
The records state Rehman was hosted by two men he identified as Javed ‘Langda’ and Tariq Zaidi — both allegedly MQM operatives, who had relocated to India in 1992, and had been living in Delhi under RAW protection. Based on the limited information in the police documents, The Indian Express was unable to locate either individual, in spite of extensive enquiries. Rehman was allegedly later sent to Dehradun to train under the supervision of a military officer he identified only by the single
name “Ram”. The training, the records state, included fabricating improvised explosive devices and firearms use. Then he reportedly returned to Pakistan, with RAW assisting his infiltration through the India-Pakistan frontier in Kashmir.
Indian intelligence officials declined comment on-record, but pointed to several apparent mysteries in the Karachi police account. “Even RAW’s worst detractors wouldn’t think its stupid enough to bring in potential terrorists it is training on legitimate passports and visas,” one noted.
2015 Kashmir Despatch