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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Dr. Farooq murder case: ATC allows FIA to record statements of British witnesses

An Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad has approved the FIA’s appeal for recording the statements of 32 British witnesses through vide link in the murder case of MQM leader, Dr. Imran Farooq.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Islamabad, on Thursday, approved the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) appeal for recording the statements of 32 British witnesses through video link in the murder case of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader, Dr. Imran Farooq.

ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand presided over the hearing. FIA prosecutor, Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmad put forward a list of witnesses, including the wife of Dr. Imran Farooq, urging the court to allow the FIA to record their statements through video link.

32 British Witnesses

The defense counsel raised objections to this appeal, however, the FIA prosecutor argues that the evidence, in this case, has been obtained through the bindings of Mutual Legal Assistance between the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

FIA prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmad argued that arrangements have been undertaken, and once they are completed, the statements of the witnesses can be recorded on a daily basis. However, the ATC judge put forward certain reservations with unnecessary additions to the list.

In response, the FIA prosecutor said that the unnecessary witnesses will be excluded from the list when the time arrives. He said that the decision of the ATC will be conveyed to the UK Attorney General, who will then inform the UK Border Agency. He said that the entire process will be undertaken through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Upon hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defense, the ATC judge accepted FIA’s request.

Read more: A target killer who lost count killing for MQM

On Monday, the head of the UK’s investigation team working on Dr. Farooq’s murder case appeared before the ATC and provided an original record of the case to persuade the judge.

Stuart Greenaway, Detective Chief Inspector of the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) apprised ATC Judge Arjumand that the code name given to the case was “Operation HASTOR” and in his capacity as the head of the investigation team, he has surveyed all aspects of the murder in order to establish the truth.

Greenaway apprised the ATC that all the evidence collected throughout the investigation was in his custody. He provided the original map of the crime scene, CCTV footage of the incident, murder weapons, post-mortem, and forensic reports, passports and fingerprints of the accused individuals, bank account details, and records pertaining to the admission of the accused, Mohsin Ali, in the London Academy of Management Sciences (LAMS). Greenaway also produced the emails sent by Mohsin Ali.

Dr. Imran Farooq, a senior leader and founding member of the MQM, was murdered outside his residence in London, in 2010. On December 5, 2015, the FIA registered a case against MQM founder Altaf Hussain and other party leaders for their alleged involvement in Farooq’s murder.

Read more: UK seeks no death-penalty assurance for evidence sharing in Imran Farooq case

Since last year, the trial of the accused has been delayed as the prosecution’s case lacked evidence. The Islamabad High Court had ordered the trial court to conclude the extremely delayed trial by October 2018.

However, the FIA’s prosecution team has repeatedly asked the court for further extension in the deadline given the reluctance of the UK authorities in sharing evidence with regards to the murder, fearing that if convicted, the accused might be awarded a death sentence. European laws do not allow evidence sharing with a country where the offense is punishable by death.