(London Post Report) : – Tariq Mir, a senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), reportedly made the startling revelations about the nexus between his party and the Indian government, claiming that the Indians used to pay 800,000 pound sterling to the MQM per annum for running its operations.
According to transcripts of an interview conducted by the London Metropolitan Police of Mir, the MQM leader had made the statements ‘voluntarily’ and was ‘not under arrest’. The transcripts were released on social media by a prominent TV commentator on Friday night.
According to the transcripts, Mir told the British police that the Indian money was initially received by the party through couriers.
“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 10k 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, Tariq Mir said the MQM sought money from all over.
“The Indians approached us – questions were asked about people without passports, etc. … In about 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,” he said.
Asked whether MQM chief Altaf Hussein knew about the Indian money, Tariq Mir said that Hussein himself was getting money from India.
“He got his money from different sources. The Indian government funded us because they thought it was good to support us,” he added.
WHO IN MQM KNEW ABOUT INDIAN FUNDING?
“It was very secret… The money would have come via Mr Anwar, because apart from me, Anwar and Dr F and Anwar knew about the money. So far as I know, no one else in the party, apart from Anwar, had the money. No one but the four of us knew about it, we did not want to come out that MQM was receiving from Indians”.
About who initiated Indian money, Tariq Mir said he did not know for sure who facilitated getting the money to Altaf Hussein.
Mir said the largest amount of money he ever received was for house purchase, but he did not know what part of that funding came from India. “I would say a large part of the funding for houses came from the Indian money. I said earlier that London gets about Pound 800,000 per anum (this is not to include cost of purchasing houses) that has been fairly steady over the years”.
About funding request of pounds one million needed urgently to Indians, Mir said the pound one million would be to do with the houses…
“The request to Indians (related) for money for more workers. We asked for the funding but I do not believe the Indian people ever paid anything like what we wanted. Some of the expense may have gone on weapons training. People would have been sent to India to get some weapons training.
MEETINGS WITH INDIANS:
According to the transcripts, Mir says he did not exactly remember when the meetings with Indians started.
“I do not remember when I first met with the Indians. … First meeting, with the Indians was in Vienna or Rome. (Mohammad) Anwar and (Altaf) Hussein were present. We had three or four meetings. One was definitely in Rome, one in Vienna, one in Zurich, one in a small city of Austria (Saltsburg); a meeting in Paraguay. First meeting was probably in Rome,” Mir asserted.
“The meetings were held whenever they wanted to meet. The purpose of the meetings was to get to know one and other; I believe their names were not the real names, they were never gave their (names),” Mir added.
Tariq Mir said the Indian visitors who met with MQM leaders were from the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) as he understood and the head of delegation had direct access to the Indian Prime Minister.
“Research and Analysis group, the senior man was high up and had access to senior/prime minister level. I do not remember exactly how much we asked for but I think about US$ 1.5 million. I don’t know how much they gave us, it went to Hussein,” he said.
“The meeting was in 2010 (I think in Rome) and then we got money… Initially the money was paid in US dollars but there were delays in converting to sterling pound so after some time they paid us in sterling pounds not dollars. We get money in lots of different ways; for example some money transferred into a bank account or the money is in a pool in Pakistan, is converted and given to us. All the money used to go to Mr Hussein or a third thing (source of funds) may have been money or a cheque which is paid to Mr Hussein. Or the Indian hands to Mr Hussein, the money would either be transferred to Mr Hussein by Hawalah”.
About the head of Indian visitors, Tariq Mir said there were four men from India in all.
“The number-two person was changed. The meetings did not last long; chit chat; they wanted to know what was going on generally in Pakistan politics, regional politics, because Afghanistan and Taliban; discussed events that had occurred in Karachi. they would have lunch, they basically wanted to meet, to see Mr Hussein to keep contact open between us,” he added.
About how to leave for meetings abroad, Mir said he would buy tickets from travel agents.
“We would never travel directly to where we were meeting; for e.g. travel to Rome via Frankfurt. Indians always decided the date and venues. We were given only two days notice. We met in five-star hotels at their arrangements. At later meetings, it was Mr Anwar who was contacted by the Indians to fix meetings. I never met Indians in the presence of Dr F. We travelled to India with Mr Anwar.”
Asked what Indians wanted from the MQM in lieu of money, Mir said he had no idea what the MQM could give the MQM in return.
“When we were in the government, we had no power whilst in that government. When I met with the Indians, I did not hear us say anything specific that we could do for them…. I would say that the meetings with Indians included trainings [sic] to my understanding training was done – fire arms training. Going back to 1996, when MQM was founded it provided training. I assume that this was included as a part of our talks with Indians,” he added.
Asked about the nature of training to MQM workers in India and whether the training also included firearms in connection with an insurgency, or for self defence., Tariq Mir said that he was not involved in weapons training or funding training.
Asked was it right that people were sent to Pakistan for weapons training, Mir said he knew nothing about it. “I heard of people being sent for weapons training. …. We sent people to India for have weapons training for self defence.
MQM INVOLVED IN TARGET KILLINGS IN KARACHI:
Asked whether the Indians were providing MQM with money with a view to supporting civil unrest in Pakistan and create a separate Sindh State in Karachi, Tariq Mir said that he agreed that the MQM has been involved in tit-for-tat killings and violence in Karachi and elsewhere.
Asked whether the MQM was involved in furthering its political position in Karachi, including involvement in guns, IEDs explosives, Tariq Mir said he cannot say that we have killing teams but there are people.
“…… there are people who would get involved in unauthorised violence that is not sanctioned and would be displaced, chucked out of the party. …. in which (Hakim) Saeed is killed, Nawaz Sharif established a special court to try the case; one person was tortured to death and another was tortured and admitted involvement. Javed Turk, as far as I know, was not a party member. If Anis Khan said he is a member than I do not know. (In) Turk’s letter to describe reporting back to London that the job had been done and asked for money for killing teams,” he added.
He said that the Indians might have been involved also. “No one in my party has discussed these killing teams. The coordination team would not discuss this. …. Now the killing teams are set up and controlled by London,” he maintained, according to the transcript. ( Mian Abrar)