UK provides evidence to Pakistan law enforcement and Met Police officers give evidence in murder trial for the first time
Verdict establishes senior figures of the controversial MQM in London ordered the murder; court expects the authorities to seek their extradition from the UK
Toby Cadman, Counsel to the Pakistan Government, states the verdict is testament to the high-level cooperation between law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities and “is a vindication of the reforms undertaken by the government”
LONDON (18 June 2020) – Today, the Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan has found three members of MQM guilty of the murder of Dr Imran Farooq – a former deputy leader of the party – in London in 2010. Moazzam Ali, Syed Mohsin Ali and Khalid Shamim were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The case has seen unprecedented cooperation from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command (SO15), the first time the UK has provided mutual legal assistance to Pakistan in a murder trial. It is only through this cooperation that justice has been done. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, Home Office officials and UK forensic experts all gave live evidence in Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad over video link.
The prosecution case was established through CCTV footage, scientific evidence, financial records, travel history records, eyewitness accounts, and the confession statements of two of the accused. The guarantee of the suspension of the death penalty permitted the transfer of evidence from London that had hitherto been unavailable.
The trial also found that senior members of the MQM in London played a critical role in ordering the assassination of Dr Farooq, due to the perceived political threat he posed to the leadership. Three former senior MQM officials have been declared absconders and remain fugitives from justice. The trial judge noted that he expected the Pakistan authorities to ensure they are returned to Pakistan to stand trial for their alleged role in the murder.
The court held that the confession statements and other incriminating evidence established that the murder was the result of a plan to remove the victim as a political obstacle to the MQM leadership and that there was evidence of the involvement of the senior MQM leadership in London.
Following the verdict, Toby Cadman – Counsel to the Government and co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers – stated:
“The serving of justice today is important in itself, yet also speaks to larger developments in Pakistan. The case was complicated: the murder of a Pakistani national in London by Pakistani nationals. Assistance from British legal enforcement was therefore essential in bringing the defendants to justice. That mutual legal assistance was provided from the UK is a momentous step for Pakistan’s legal system. It is a vindication of the reforms undertaken by the government to embed justice and accountability in Pakistan. The British government had to be sure beyond doubt that the accused would receive a free, fair and transparent trial and that they would not be subject to the death penalty. They received a fair trial and justice has been served: a testament to both the UK authorities and the Government of Pakistan. The trial today also sends a clear message that those fleeing the jurisdiction shall not escape justice.”