LONDON: Pakistani security agencies picked up two suspects in the Dr Imran Farooq’s murder case after being tipped off by Scotland Yard, but since then Pakistan has not shared any information about their fate with the Counter-Terrorism Command Unit in London.
A letter from Scotland Yard will be sent to Pakistan “very shortly” to formally ask for the cooperation in this matter but it will not ask for the extradition of the two men as the two countries don’t have an extradition treaty, a source familiar with the investigation said to this scribe.
The absence of such a treaty has not thwarted cooperation between the police forces of the two countries as Britain has come down heavily on drug traffickers in recent years on the basis of the tip-offs provided by Pakistani authorities and that gives hope to investigators at the Scotland Yard that Pakistani authorities sooner or later will come round to discuss as to what happened to the two men who the investigators want to speak to in connection with the two men.
The two Pakistani men were arrested as they landed in Karachi after having assassinated Dr Imran Farooq, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Convenor who was killed outside his home three years ago on 16 September 2010. They didn’t travel directly to Pakistan and spent several days in at least two other countries before finally deciding to fly to Karachi.
Members of Pakistan’s security agencies laid in waiting for them and picked them as soon as the two were identified to be the suspects, said the source. The operation was fronted by the police but the men were taken over within minutes by the spy agencies and since then the two have become what’s now known in Pakistan as the “missing persons”.
No information about the two men has been shared with Scotland Yard so far, said the source. On November 11, 2012, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe disclosed exclusively to Geo News that two suspects were in the custody of Pakistani authorities but during the PPP government, the fate of the two men became a muddled affair.
The name of Khalid Shamim has already been mentioned in a Pakistani court but its not clear whether Shamim is also sought by the Scotland Yard in relation to the murder conspiracy.
Rehman Malik, the then Interior Minister, issued a denial about the presence of the two in police custody.
Technically, Rehman Malik was not wrong because the two men at that time – as now – are not in police custody and increasingly the breakthrough in Dr Imran Farooq’s case is now linked with these two men.
Source told that Scotland Yard had provided graphic details of the two men to Pakistani counterparts – their names as appeared on passports and their photographs. The police had clear images of the two men but their details are not being released due to operational reasons and the growing confidence of the police that it has made developments since December last year.
The police also believe that not only the two men were shadowed and helped throughout their journey in and out of London but also a wider network of people in London, Pakistan and at least in two other countries remained involved in the operation throughout that succeeded, unfortunately, as Dr Imran Farooq was killed in a highly professional manner, setting off an investigation that has cost British taxpayer millions of Pounds and have become a question mark for the credibility of one of the best police forces in the world.
It is believed that Scotland Yard will also share with the Pakistani authorities information about several other characters -based in Karachi – who are believed to have played a role in the sophisticated assassination plot of Dr Imran Farooq, who, according to the investigators, was planning to launch his party after having been sidelined from the MQM.
The name of a Karachi businessman – the owner of a freight company – is of huge significance to the investigators as this businessman is believed to have obtained visas for the killers using his company’s credentials. This businessman provided all the paperwork that is required for obtaining visas and confirmed that the applicants worked for him in senior positions and wanted to visit London for business purposes.
When asked to comment on at least 10 questions concerning the two men, the killing plot, the Karachi businessman and what help Pakistan could offer to Britain, a Scotland Yard spokesman refused to go into details and said that answering these questions will “jeopardise” the “sensitive investigation and the developments made so far”.
As Dr Imran Farooq’s 3rd assassination anniversary approaches tomorrow (Monday), Scotland Yard is set to issue another public appeal for help in the arrest of killers but the appeal will contain only limited new information.
The MQM has always said that it has nothing to do with Dr Imran Farooq’s killing and that it has helped the police in its investigations.