Nagan Chowrangi Karachi News mqm

KARACHI: A US-based woman activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London has allegedly been discovered plotting the assassination of various personalities to trigger sectarian violence and spread chaos in the metropolis.

This was stated by officials of the police’s Counter-Terrorism Department and Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, at a press conference here on Thursday.

“The MQM-London's Coordination Committee member Kehkashan Haider has established target killers' groups in collaboration with India's RAW and anti-Pakistan Sindhi and Baloch groups to target law enforcement agencies, police, political and religious leaders in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi,” said CTD DIG Omar Shahid Hamid.

Rangers' Col Shabbir said that some of the targets were aimed at fanning sectarianism in the metropolis. Mr Hamid added that other targets were politicians in the city but it might not be advisable to share their names with the media at this moment.

The counter-terror force chief said Ms Haider, based in Texas, US, since the 1990s, had remained a close aide of MQM founder Altaf Husain.

Sharing details of unearthing the plot to kill personalities, the CTD chief pointed out that both the CTD and Rangers obtained some “concrete evidence” after interrogation of recently held alleged hitmen affiliated with the MQM-L who were arrested in Sindh, particularly in Karachi. Those held suspects have revealed that under directions of MQM-L chief Altaf Husain target killing teams had been “re-established”.

“These new target killing teams are being patronized by Kehkashan Haider,” said the official.

‘She has not only given a list of targets, but also informed the hitmen that when and where to target those personalities’

As per available evidence, Ms Haider had given directions to the hitmen for carrying out targeted killings and the CTD and other institutions were providing security to the personalities included in the list of targets.

He recalled that the Rangers had issued a press release about “target killers linked with the MQM-London” on Oct 4, 2017. Out of which, three hitmen were arrested by the paramilitary force. They were involved in the killing of Rashid, alias Mamu (the then chairman of UC-13, Rafa-i-Aam Society), and weapons were also seized from them.

Those suspects had also confessed to their involvement in the killing of the UC chairman before a judicial magistrate and revealed that that target and other targets were given to them by Kehkashan Haider, who had also sent Rs300,000 to them as a “reward”. Out of which, Rs150,000 was sent through hundi / hawala, which their accomplice Asif, alias Rais, had received. According to the press release, $ 1,470 was received by their absconder accomplice Chand’s wife Huma through the Nagan Chowrangi branch of an international financial services firm.

The CTD with the help of Rangers utilized service of their “special informer” and obtained “explosive disclosures” about directions given to the hitmen by Altaf Husain through Ms Haider. An audio clip was also played in which Ms Haider was allegedly giving instructions to the hitman for killing.

Ms Haider had given the task to head the target killers ’team whose name was withheld by the officials to assassinate a pesh imam (prayer leader), said the CTD chief.

She had also given the task for the killing of other personalities. "She has not only given a list of targets but also informed the hitmen as to when and where those personalities be targeted."

Ms Haider had initially promised to give Rs50,000 to the hitman, which would be raised to Rs200,000 with the provision of sophisticated weapons.

The CTD has registered a case (31/2021) against Kehkashan Haider under relevant sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act pertaining to terror financing, said Mr Hamid.

Answering a question, the CTD head said they would also approach the foreign ministry to share such information / evidence with the US embassy about terror and terror-financing activities of the US-based Ms Haider.

Responding to a volley of questions by media persons, the CTD chief said: “This has always been a purpose of the MQM-L that terrorism is spread in Karachi, so there is no doubt that it is a constant effort of theirs to once again sow fear in the city. "

Mr Hamid who has written novels on the theme of Karachi’s crimes said that it was “alarming’ that a woman based in the US was coordinating such illicit activities in the city like a mafia don ”.

He said a clear line of financial transactions was appearing when they traced bank accounts and transactions, adding that the evidence of financial transactions for terror made Pakistan’s case stronger.

However, he added that money laundering aspect would be investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency.

The CTD head gave the assurance that investigations into the case would be impartial and would not target any political party.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2021