EDITORIAL: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad has finally delivered its verdict in a decade-old high profile...
EDITORIAL: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad has finally delivered its verdict in a decade-old high profile murder case of a London-based MQM leader, Dr Imran Farooq. Sentencing three accused to life imprisonment, the court observed that it was a fit case for death penalty but for a foreign country - where death sentence is banned - which shared important evidence. The case could have come straight out of a spy movie about political intrigue and murder in a foreign land. Right from the outset, MQM founder Altaf Hussain was believed to have wanted to get rid of a potential challenger, for which it purportedly turns out, he sought and received the support of his two close confidantes and four field facilitators and killers.
According to the court, it was a conspiracy involving seven accused in which everyone played his role. The two killers, facilitated in terms of money and logistics, travelled to London for the explicit purpose of committing the murder. Their job done, the two men immediately left London. There was little doubt about who may have had the motive to murder Dr Farooq. Yet the investigation and trial process took so long, apparently, because the crime spanned legal jurisdictions of two countries. An unusual and vital aspect of the case is the cooperation Pakistan received from the relevant authorities in Britain where the murder took place in September 2010. A mutual legal assistance agreement paved the way for production of documentary evidence and articles before the court. Detective chief inspector of the Metropolitan Services, the UK, Stuart Greenaway, specially travelled to this country with the evidence and recorded his statement. 15 other UK-based witnesses also recorded their statements via video links.
Yet it is only half of the work done. One of the accessories to the crime, Kashif Khan Kamran, is still at large. And the principal Altaf Hussain, declared an absconder by the ATC, remains free. So are his two senior party colleagues who allegedly colluded with him. Common sense suggests that since the corroborative evidence in the sentencing of the three accused came from the UK police, the same should be applicable to the man - a British subject - at whose behest the crime was committed - as well as the other two men. Unfortunately, in the past, he was perhaps accorded exceptional treatment by the host government due to whatever reasons. The problem has been the double standards of Western democracies; what is unacceptable at home is kosher in another country as long as it serves their own interests. In any event, a lot has changed since. The convictions by Islamabad ATC have been made possible on the basis of purported evidence provided by the UK police and citizens. That could be a powerful enough argument for bringing to justice the 'absconder' in the same case.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020