ISLAMABAD - In a significant development, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Tuesday that government had granted access to the Metropolitan Police London to investigate the three key suspects in murder case of MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq.

“The metropolitan police will be visiting Islamabad in the next week to interrogate one of three accused in murder case of Dr Imran Farooq,” Interior Minister Ch Nisar told reporters outside the Parliament House. He said modus operandi had yet to be decided that whether London Police would investigate the suspect directly or indirectly. Dr Imran Farooq was stabbed to death in London in September 2010 near his home under mysterious circumstances.

Some weeks back, Rangers had arrested Moazzam Ali Khan, the alleged facilitator in this high profile murder case from Karachi. However, the two other key suspects, Khalid Shamim and Mohsin Ali Syed, in the murder case had reportedly been arrested last week from Balochistan near border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“British government had sought legal assistance as well as cooperation and as we are bound to cooperate with it under international treaties, the government in the first phase had given permission to London Metropolitan Police to investigate Moazzam Ali, the suspect that was arrested from Karachi,” the minister said. Nisar also said that government was expecting new request from the UK for access to other two suspects.

All these three accused in Dr Imran Farooq case had been detained by the security agencies under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and the two suspects arrested from Balochistan were still in Quetta and under the custody of FC, Nisar said brushing aside some media reports that they had been shifted to Islamabad.

However, he said that government wanted to transfer all three accused to Islamabad so that London Metropolitan Police could investigate them there. The team would be comprised two persons but the number of men could be increased. He assured that investigations would be transparent.

The minister informed that the government had also decided to form a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the case but it had yet to be decided whether JIT would be formed under the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or police. The investigations of JIT would also be shared with the UK, he added.

Nisar made it clear that it was pre-mature to say that the suspects under detentions had links with any other party. “Please don’t treat this case as MQM centric,” he said adding that a delegation of MQM had met him recently to talk about this murder case and they had been given assurance that the investigations process would be transparent.

To queries, he said whatever cooperation would be made with the British authorities would serve as a precedent in future.

Replying other questions, the minister said that there was no imbalance between civil-military relations in the country. He said the diatribe launched by Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari against military was ridiculous and the explanations to these statements were even more bizarre. “Either he (Asif Ali Zardari) should stand by his statement or withdraw it gracefully instead of giving ridiculous explanations,” he said and termed his statement as his grave mistake. He said the explanation of PPP about demand of army to get land for itself from Sindh government was yet another joke as the original demand had come in the year 2000 or 2001. “If army had the desire to get this land, it could do the same in the regime of military dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf,” he said.

Answering a question about model Ayan Ali who was arrested from Islamabad airport while trying to smuggle foreign currency, he said the case was out of the purview of interior ministry and FIA.