Imran Farooq (1960-2010) Murdered: What Happened? What Will Happen Now?

Posted on September 16, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Pakistanis Abroad, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

The murder of Dr. Imran Farooq – one of the founders of MQM, a central figure in the development of the party and a key architect of its conceptual and ideological foundations – in London has sent shock around Pakistani political circles, particularly in Karachi.

Once second in prominence in MQM circles only to Altaf Hussain, Imran Farooq has been out of political news for many years now and had distanced himself – or been distanced – from mainstream day-to-day MQM affairs. The reasons why have remained unclear but the stuff of rumor mills. His murder in London is bound to reignite the rumor mills again. Indeed, they already have.

It remains unclear what happened in London. But it is clear that the repercussions of what happened there will be felt in Karachi and beyond well into and after the 10-day “mourning period” declared by MQM. Right now all television channels seem more engrossed in showing MQM leader Altaf Hussain’s near hysterical breakdown at MQM’s London offices, but we need to also begin thinking through the many critical questions that remain unanswered: Was this a run of the mill mugging and murder in a large international metropolis, or an international political targeting? If the later, who was behind it and why? But most important of all: what, if anything, does this mean for MQM; and by extension for Karachi and Pakistan?

Details still remain sketchy and there are more rumors floating than facts. This report from Dawn lays out the essential details:

Dr Imran Farooq, a founding leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the organisation’s first secretary general, was assassinated in London on Thursday evening. Dr Farooq also served as the party’s only convener.

Television reports, quoting party and family sources, said Dr Farooq was attacked by some unidentified men with daggers near his London residence. He died of multiple wounds. But according to one source, a lone assailant had been lying in wait inside the apartment block where Dr Farooq lived on the first floor. He was attacked with a knife when he was climbing the stairs. He died on the spot.

At first the MQM leadership tried to keep the murder under wraps. Meetings in different cities to mark the 57th birthday of the party’s founding leader, Altaf Hussain, were suddenly cancelled for “unavoidable reasons” and supporters were told by senior leader Dr Farooq Sattar to go home. Tens of thousands of people had assembled in different places in Karachi, Hyderabad and other towns in Sindh to celebrate their leader’s birthday.

At the same time, the MQM leadership in Karachi and London went into closed-door sessions to discuss the situation arising out of the development. Reports from London said the police had cordoned off the apartment block and preliminary investigations had begun. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far and no arrests have been made.

Dr Imran Farooq is remembered by Muttahida loyalists as one of the key figures who laid the foundation for the All Pakistan Mohajir Students’ Organisation (APMSO), which eventually turned out to be a forerunner of the MQM. During the early 1980s, the APMSO was converted into a fully fledged political party to advocate the cause of the Urdu-speaking popuce, mainly in Karachi and other parts of urban Sindh. With Altaf Hussain as its leader, the bespectacled Dr Farooq was appointed secretary general of the party. He was also regarded as one of the main ideologues and the brain behind education of the party cadre.

When in 1992 Altaf Hussain went into self-imposed exile in the wake of a military crackdown, Dr Farooq went underground in Karachi, running the party from hiding. Although he was declared absconder by the then government, he continued to dodge the authorities. Eventually he managed to slip out of the country on a fake passport and under an assumed name. After arriving in London, he applied for political asylum. In the initial years he was one of the main players who helped Altaf Hussain oversee the party’s restructuring from London.

However, a couple of years ago differences emerged, sending Dr Farooq into obscurity. Since then he had been living the life of a recluse, with no role in party affairs. Even then his brutal killing sent the Muttahida rank and file into a daze, leaving them searching for answers.

70 responses to “Imran Farooq (1960-2010) Murdered: What Happened? What Will Happen Now?”

  1. Rehan Abbasi says:

    is this pakistaniat or inglistaniat? y r we discussing British people?

  2. Aman Pasand says:

    I think you are missing the point here.It has nothing to do with “World Politics”.This here is a crime which has been repeatedly committed for reasons other than political.

  3. Bushra Rehman says:

    This is extremely unfortunate that some valuable lives were lost. However, looking into the history of world politics and struggles we know that’s the price every righteous entity has to pay. Long live the common class ideology, long live the martyrs.

  4. noor says:

    I have one question.

    Why Altaf Hussain started talking too harsh against US policies for the first time, I remember, in the last 10 years or more after the tragic murder of Imran Farooq? What is going on? Can somebody comment on this?
    I agree with aman pasand. We need answers to all these questions. The best answere, i below, mqm can provide.

  5. Aman Pasand says:

    Some interesting but alarming facts about MQM

    When MQM initially won the elections in late 80s and early nineties, this was MQM’s top leadership:

    Chairman: Azeem Tarique

    V. Chairman: Bader Iqbal

    Secretary General: Imran Farooq

    Deputy Sec general: Khalid Bin Waleed

    Finance Secretary: SM Tariq

    Mayor Of Karachi: Farooq Sattar (last-one alive)

    Deputy Mayor : Raziq Khan

    First 2 senators : Nishat Malick and one more

    It is so regrettable and unfortunate that all these top leaders of MQM are dead , and all have been assassinated, except Farooq Sattar.

    It is also on record that all these leaders either left MQM (Badr Iqbal, SM Tariq, Imran Farooq, Razik Khan) or developed differences with Altaf Hussain ( Azeem Tariq, Khalid Bin Waleed, Nishat Malick) before their death

    MQM is in power for 23 years in Sind and Pakistan’s federal cabinet, including ministry of defence and law in Sind for 8 years. The most surprising part is that they have never ever tried to catch or even seriously demanded the capture of culprits who wiped off the entire leadership of MQM in last 20 years???


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