ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday said that ‘the main character’ in the killing of MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq would be extradited to the UK only if assurance of reciprocation came from the other side.

In a joint operation with the help of intelligence agencies, Pakistani security agencies last Monday arrested local businessman Moazzam Ali Khan from the Azizabad area of Karachi, and the minister had said that he was the main facilitator of the two suspected killers of Dr Imran Farooq.

Apparently perturbed over some media reports about his other day’s meeting with British High Commissioner to Pakistan Philip Barton, Chaudhry Nisar while talking to reporters outside the Parliament House said that at the moment Pakistan had neither any extradition treaty with the United Kingdom nor had the latter asked for extradition of Moazzam.

“But I have conveyed to the British government that if Pakistan extradited the wanted accused to the UK then in return it will also handover our wanted persons in future as the cooperation should be from both sides,” Nisar said.

“We are so far cooperating with the British under the UN and other international treaties to which both the countries are signatories and are bound to cooperate in the fields of narcotics and terrorism, etc.,” the minister said. Our cooperation of handing over the accused to the UK should be a precedent of cooperation for the other side, he added.

About his other day’s meeting with the UK High Commissioner, the minister said that the meeting was prescheduled and had nothing to do with the appearance of MQM chief Altaf Hussain before London police in money laundering case. “It was purely a coincident,” he said. Nisar and the envoy met the same day MQM chief Altaf Hussain was questioned in London. Some reports suggested their meeting took place exactly the same time Altaf was being questioned.

Clarifying another issue about the meeting, Nisar said that it was neither his duty to brief the diplomat of any foreign country nor to give any documents or evidence because this did not come under his authority. “We, in the meeting, discussed a number of issues including this case, money laundering matter,” he said.

Chaudhry Nisar said that Dr Imran Farooq case was sensitive in the nature as it had international repercussions. “Some talks are being made across red line and I want some clarification,” he said, adding that the government was cooperating with the UK to the maximum as this came under his authority and information was being shared under the decision of the government.

Giving credit to the country’s security agencies, Nisar said that it was due to the ability of the security agencies that Pakistan had shown the way to the Scotland Yard regarding investigation in Dr Imran Farooq murder case. “For the last more than three and half years, it had become a blind case,” he said.

The minister said that all was being done for more than last two years under the decision of the incumbent PM after he took oath in 2013 that this murder case would be taken to its logical end. “I am not doing politics as I have to say a lot of things about the case but I will not say all that,” he said. The investigations of the security agencies and the courts would decide the fate of this case. “Everything would be open,” he assured.

Giving the details of the arrest of Moazzam, Nisar said that the accused had gone under hiding soon after the BBC aired a documentary about this murder case and he was even not available at his residence or business place. “But we knew his whereabouts (much before his arrest) through his cell number and he was found at a ‘specific place’ where we considered it inappropriate to raid” at that time, the minister said, perhaps pointing towards MQM headquarters Nine Zero.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the two alleged killers of Dr Imran Farooq “left the UK after the murder while leaving all their belongings there.”

The minister said that he would brief the media about latest developments in the investigation of the case within a week or ten days. “Don’t do kite flying in at least two cases – that of Imran Farooq and death row convict Shafqat Hussain – and have an eye on the facts of the cases as serious questions are being raised at international level about the judicial system of Pakistan,” he advised.

Nisar welcomed MQM’s announcement that it wanted to take the murder case of Dr Imran to its logical end. “But the MQM should come clean. On the one side it is appreciating the government’s efforts in this regard and on the other questioning the constitution of JIT,” he said, adding that the government was not seeing this case through the prism of politics.

To a question whether estranged Baloch leaders would be extradited to Pakistan from the UK in return for handing over of Moazzam, the minister refused to comment. To another question whether the MQM as party was involved in the murder case, he only said it was not his duty to give judgment. He also clarified that he had called the accused Moazzam Ali Khan as ‘main character’ in the case and not the ‘principal accused’.