Man arrested in connection with London murder of Imran Farooq


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The Independent Online

Scotland Yard on Monday made its first arrest for nearly three years in connection with the murder of a prominent Pakistani politician who was battered and stabbed to death while continuing to work from exile in London.

Dr Imran Farooq was found dead outside his home in September 2010 in a suspected politically-motivated plot after rumours he was planning to split from the MQM party.

A 52-year-old was arrested on Monday morning after he flew in from Canada and was being questioned at a west London police station on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

The arrest followed a number of searches at homes in north-west London, including one reportedly linked to the MQM party. The MQM (Muttahida Quami Movement) has its stronghold in Karachi, but the leadership is in London after claiming exile in 1999.

Only one other person has been arrested in connection with the killing, but was released in 2010. Counter terrorist officers have interviewed eight people under caution but no-one has yet been charged.

Police believe that the killing of Dr Farooq as he returned from work needed careful planning and involved several people. A kitchen knife and brick were found at the scene.

Dr Farooq was one of the founders and a significant player in the MQM party. Pakistani analysts believe that Dr Farooq was preparing to leave the party and set up a rival political force to the MQM, which has strongholds in London, Canada and South Africa. MQM is a secular middle-class party and the most powerful force in Karachi. However the party’s power was seen to be on the wane with unusually open protests against alleged corruption in the city during a closely fought election battle.

The MQM was run close by the party of former cricketer Imran Khan, who accused the MQM of involvement in the killing of one of his party figures. The MQM, which could not be reached for comment yesterday, has denied involvement in the death of Mr Farooq and of the politician in Karachi.