ISLAMABAD - The Federal Investigation Agency Thursday seized 29 properties worth Rs3.5 billion owned by the Khidmat-i-Khalq Foundation, a charity wing of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, in connection with the terror financing and money laundering case being probed against the party leadership.

The agency’s Counter Terrorism Wing (CTW) has seized all 29 properties located in various parts of Karachi, says a letter of FIA available with The Nation. The Ambulance Centre and Mortuary of KKF located in the Landi area of Karachi are among the seized properties.

The letter written from the office of Deputy Director CTW Karachi for the Director Land Management, Karachi Development Authority (KDA) says that order of seizure has been issued under section 5 (5) of FIA ACT, 1974 in case number 05 registered in 2017 under various sections of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-money laundering Act 2010.

“During the course of investigation, it transpired that following properties are owned and in possession of M/s Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation Karachi which are likely to be misappropriated (changing title/sale) by the nominated accused persons in the subject case,” the letter said. The letter directed the KDA that it should ensure that these properties may not be removed, transferred or otherwise disposed of in any manner either without prior permission of FIA or of the “competent court of jurisdiction.” “It may be noted that this order of seizure is being issued U/S 5(5) of FIA Act, 1974 and any contravention thereof shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or both,” it concluded.

In 2017, FIA Karachi had registered a case against London-based MQM founder Altaf Hussain and other senior members of the party on charges of terror financing and money laundering and later, the case was transferred to CTW in Islamabad on the directions of Interior Ministry.

According to FIA sources, all 29 properties had been bought with funds collected through extortion and the funds generated through assets were being used for two purposes. First, the funds used to be sent to London through six facilitators including some major leaders of MQM. Secondly, the money was being used to make payments to the families of deceased MQM workers and the missing persons of the party. Some transactions had been made through fake names, the FIA sources said. An FIA official clarified that payments being made to the families of MQM members have not been stopped.

In November last year, CTW had summoned at least 24 former and sitting lawmakers of Muttahida Quami Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), a breakaway faction of MQM, in the terror-financing and money-laundering case. The notices had been issued to some of the top stalwarts of the party for giving donations to KKF during 2013 to 2015. The notices said the donations were later used in different illegal activities. Some notices also addressed those politicians who were affiliated with MQM in the past and now represent Pak Sar Zameen Party (PSP).

FIA had registered the case against Hussain and others on the complaint of businessman Sarfraz Anwar Merchant. The complaint said that the donations received by KKF, a non-government organisation, were transferred to the accounts of different MQM members and business organisations and were later used to “carry out terrorist activities in Pakistan, to purchase weapons of destruction, and for money laundering to United Kingdom (UK) for Hussain”.

The agency had last year had also prepared a list of 726 persons who allegedly gave donations, ranging between a few thousands and millions of rupees, to the KKF.