Karachites to decide – to live under fear or in peace

30 Jun

By: Aasef Chauhdry

The world has not forgotten what Altaf Hussain said about seven years back while he was on a tour of India. His hate speech is the recorded in the history, “The division of the subcontinent was the greatest, the greatest blunder of the history of mankind”, he actually said. This was enough to satisfy the people of Pakistan that whose line in fact Altaf Hussain was toeing. That was not enough and again on Aug 2, 2011Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Altaf Hussain appealed to the Indian leaders to give asylum to Mohajir community of Pakistan. He said that f the 1992-like operation was started against MQM, will the Indian leaders provide asylum to us? ”
Ever since 1986 the world is observing that Karachi is made hostage by MQM. Initially the Mohajir Qaumi Movement and later when found it being objected by the majority of the Pakistanis converted to Muttahida Qaumi Movement was mainly behind every strike, every wheel-jam and every shutter down. It went so far that the authorities started seriously thinking about putting an end to it.
There were many ups and downs especially after Imran Farooq’s murder. Altaf’s arrest, release and then other leaders arrest in London which reflected that the noose was being tightened around MQM and Altaf. However, since recent past it appears that the Scotland Yard has bowed to the pressure of British Military Intelligence for whom Altaf Hussain is a great value agent. That’s the reason that he has again started addressing discreetly to his followers and provoking them against the armed forces. His actual anger is mainly for three reasons; bringing peace back to the turbulent city of Karachi, apprehension of the party’s target killers and the seizing of extortion, hides collection and fitrana collection on gunpoint.
In past MQM had been collecting funds through extortion, sacrificial hides, fitrana and corruption in government departments (while being in government). This money was sent through three means to UK. Through foreign currency accounts where dollars were deposited as money could be withdrawn from foreign currency accounts anywhere in the world, through personal carriers like renowned party leaders who would carry it in their baggage and lastly through indirect methods. The dignified carriers were used for laundering of money abroad. Individuals such as Babar Ghauri used to transfer money in their personal luggage. This all money was collected by no means other than extortion, fitrana and selling of hides collected on gun point. The indirect methods were like sending money through sea launches. Routes used for such purpose were Karachi to UAE and then to UK.
The party had a big network for moving money and ultimately it used to be landed in UK at MQM secretariat where it would be placed at Altaf Hussain’s disposal for spending the way he liked it. The sources claim that Imran Farooq was killed on a dispute over collecting and spending of this money. Imran Farooq was always against of putting this money on Altaf Hussain’s disposal who was spending it lavishly and for payment to the target killers’ net works. His other difference was on receiving money from RAW which he never liked.
A revelation came into the lime time, sometime ago. Not by anyone else lesser than a diehard senior party worker Tariq Mir discreetly made a confession about three years back which finally leaked and it appeared that the downfall of MQM is on the cards and the party will soon have it in its neck. Tariq Mir voluntarily visited the Scotland Yard office and made a confession. The police authorities made it very clear that neither it was an arrest and nor was he investigated. It was a friendly walk-in by a person who was feeling ‘guilty’ hence was made comfortable and was interviewed. According to Tariq, MQM got funds from RAW many times in the past. To the Party’s bad luck the leaked statement got viral on social media. Tariq Mir confessed that despite the fact that Dr. Imran Farooq and Altaf Hussain knew about the funding, they never disclosed about it to the other senior party members.
According to Tariq Mir, Altaf Hussain got funding from India since 1994 while MQM workers were sent to India for training and they got training there and did a lot of target killing and terrorist activities in Karachi. His investigation continued for 15 hours at of Scotland Yard’s offices. Mir told London Metropolitan Police at a police station located in Edgeware Road that Indians used to pay 800,000 pound sterling to the party on a yearly basis for running operations. Interestingly, according to transcripts of an interview conducted by the UK police on May 30, 2012, the MQM leader had made the statements ‘voluntarily’ and was ‘not under arrest’. The transcript of the interview was released by a senior journalist.
In July last year Pakistan Rangers Sindh arrested about 16 members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for collecting donations by force from Karachi’s Rizvia Society area. Though the claim was denied by the party in an emergency press conference however the paramilitary force personnel claimed to have recovered Rs 31500 from the arrested men along with documents and receipts related to the collection of funds during the operation. The Rangers warned that law-enforcers will not allow any political party or religious organisation to forcibly collect donations in the name of fitrana and added that holding a press conference in defence of those arrested for making forcible collections is tantamount to supporting such elements.
Money laundering and other links of MQM with RAW were only being dealt by London based persons of the party including Altaf Hussain, Muhammad Anwar and Imran Farooq (Late).
According to Mir, “At some stage our expenses (of the secretariat) were about 100,000 pounds per month. I was aware of our significant increase in funding as a result of the Indian connection. That funding continued for, I cannot be exact. But due to pounds 10,000 cash limit (on importing currency), on some occasions, we got businessmen to receive the money and use it to pay MQM’s expenses. This happened in about 1% of cases,” Mir told the police. When told that the police had also interviewed MQM senior member Mohammad Anwar about Indian funding, Mir said the MQM sought money from all over.
He confessed that, “In 1994, we started getting some money; some of our frozen accounts were released. In 1995-96, I took-over the finance from Nadeem Nusrat and that money was coming from India.” Asked whether MQM Chief Altaf Hussein knew about the Indian money, Tariq Mir said Hussein would receive all money coming in from India. He got his money from different sources. The Indian government funded us because they thought it was good to support us.
Interestingly, this year due to ongoing Karachi operation, MQM is facing severe problems in collection of funds and its reserves have almost depleted. In order to counter any adverse move from Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) MQM has decided to collect money during this Ramzan through other means like; MNA/ MPA’s will be tasked to go in their areas for zakat/ Fitrana and donation collection instead of using MQM workers/ Sector In-charge, ladies will also be employed for the purpose of collection of donation/ zakat/ fitrana and along with it a serious operation will be carried out where the money will be collected discreetly from factory/ mill owners. The LEAs have smelled this plan and have made all efforts to counter any such bid. At the same time it’s the duty of the Karachites to cooperate with the LEAs if they are seriously interested in leaving in peace. The Rangers is asking people to report any such event and have assured them to keep the names of informers confidential.
Karachi is well known for its lawlessness and violence. But then again, it has a softer side; of philanthropy and volunteerism and cub scouts. Unfortunately, this softer side too has become victim to the unrelenting violence – when organisations start fighting to collect more donations and the competition ultimately leads to violence. This was the way things were done in Karachi, until the Rangers decided to act. The Sindh Rangers have come down hard without any discrimination on political parties and their welfare wings, accusing them of forcefully collecting donations. Workers are being arrested, cash and Fitrana slips are being confiscated and a helpline has been set up where people can register complaints against forceful collection. So it’s a wrong propaganda made by MQM that the Rangers are coming down hard only on them.
It’s time for the Karachites to decide whether they have to live under fear or in peace! For later they will have to cooperate with the LEAs.

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