Murdered politician's widow in tearful plea

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The widow of the murdered Pakistani politician Imran Farooq collapsed with emotion yesterday as she appealed for help to catch his killer.

Dr Farooq, 50, died from stab wounds and head injuries after he was attacked outside his home in Edgware, north London, last Thursday. Police believe the killing was politically motivated as he was a prominent member of the MQM (Muttahida Quami Movement) party.

His widow, Shumaila Imran, 42, said "someone, somewhere" holds important information about the murder. Choked with tears, she added: "I want to make my own personal appeal for help in catching the people who killed my husband.

"He was a dedicated family man, a loving father and a loving husband. His murder a week ago has devastated me and left our family in a state of shock and disbelief. My husband was on his way home from work when he was set upon and attacked.

"I want to appeal today for anyone who has any information about the attack on Imran to come forward and tell the police what they know."

Mrs Imran, who has two young sons, was supported by a relative as she spoke to media from Britain and Pakistan.

She said: "It does not matter how insignificant this information may seem to you – it could be absolutely vital to the police investigation. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and my family and sent us their best wishes and condolences. I would also like to thank the police for their help and support during this very difficult time."

Dr Farooq was living in exile after fleeing his homeland 11 years ago following death threats. His murder sparked violence in Karachi, where vehicles and shops were set alight.

Political allies said he had many enemies because of his outspoken comments but did not have a bodyguard. The investigation is being handled by detectives from Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command.

The MQM is one of Pakistan's major parties, the largest in the coalition governing Karachi and an important member of the federal government in Islamabad.

Independent observers accuse the party of being involved in illegal activities and hundreds of its supporters have been killed in the past 20 years in gang warfare.