ISLAMABAD - Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik yesterday said dissident Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Mustafa Kamal’s allegations against him stemmed from past bitterness.

Earlier, Kamal claimed MQM leaders used to brief Rehman Malik – the then interior minister – on all the updates regarding London Metropolitan Police interrogation in connection with Dr Imran Farooq murder case.

Addressing a news conference in Karachi along with Anees Kaimkhani, he hinted Malik even knew about the alleged RAW links of Altaf Hussain. Both the MQM dissidents came back to Pakistan after remaining in self-imposed exile for around three years.

Kamal claimed that Rehman Malik used to dictate MQM the press releases before they were issued to the media.

The MQM dissident - a former senator – also served as the mayor of Karachi from 2005 to 2009. In August 2013, he quietly left the country, moving first to Tanzania and then settling in Dubai, informing party leaders through emails he had left because of his wife’s illness and personal problems.

Legal experts said a treason case could be filed against Malik if Kamal provided evidence of his claims that as a interior minister PPP leader violated his oath. Such compelling evidence would also be needed for a case against Altaf Hussain.

But the Pakistan People’s Party leader laughed off Kamal’s allegations against him as a ‘joke’ without any substance.

“I can’t understand why he is saying all this but this may be due to past bitterness. He was annoyed with me when he was proposed for Sindh governor-ship and I opposed,” Malik told The Nation from New York.

The former interior minister said he never discussed any issue with the MQM leadership regarding the party affairs and his meetings with Altaf Hussain were restricted to coalition in Sindh and the centre when the PPP was in power from 2008-2013.

“Even Altaf never asked me for any favours. We never discussed RAW links or anything that violated my oath. Mustafa Kamal’s allegations are beyond apprehension,” he added.

He said Altaf never asked him to be soft on any of his worker’s alleged RAW links. “In fact RAW or any criminal allegedly associated with MQM was never discussed,” he claimed.

Malik said the only point where he used to step in was a joint declaration of the parties where the opinion of both the sides was reflected.

The PPP leader said he never held any secret meeting with Altaf and the details of the interactions were reported in the media. “During those meetings (Sindh) Governor Ishratul Ebad or Farooq Sattar were always present,” he maintained.

Malik said whenever he met Altaf, he represented the PPP and relationship of the two parties came under discussion. He accused Kamal of distorting facts to gain political mileage.

The former interior minister said he condemned Kamal’s accusations and would give a reply at a news conference after returning to Pakistan. “For now, one can only laugh at the claims made by Mustafa Kamal. It is nothing more than a joke,” he remarked.

MQM leader Senator Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif said a news conference by just two people could not dent the party.

He said Altaf Hussain was an undisputed leader of the MQM and had millions of followers. “Kamal’s allegations have no significance,” he added.

Saif said the people had complete trust in the party and they had demonstrated the same time and again. Another MQM leader Ali Raza Abidi said Kamal’s allegations were orchestrated by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

“This is Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan’s last trump card. No need to worry about,” he commented.

Senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar saw Kamal’s allegations as a conspiracy to implement “minus Altaf formula.”

He said all the accusations were not new and the MQM had been facing such allegations for a very long time.

Imran Khan, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief, was pleased with Kamal’s news conference saying it endorsed the PTI’s viewpoint.

The PTI has been in a battle to replace the MQM in Urban Sindh but the efforts have not been fruitful so far.