ISLAMABAD - The government has asked Britain for assistance in investigating BBC claims about MQM-RAW links, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday directed interior minister to thoroughly probe the matter, and the minister will today formally write to British government for help.

The report, published Wednesday and citing an “authoritative Pakistani source”, said members of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement had received military training at camps in northern and north-eastern India over the past 10 years.

It said that two MQM leaders had admitted to British authorities on record in 2012 that political party received funds from India and its cadres had been given training in “explosives, weapons and sabotage” by Indian spy agency- Research and Analysis Wing. The assertions however have been denied by both the MQM and New Delhi.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Special Assistant to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Tariq Fatemi, met with the premier at PM House on Thursday. Nisar shared initial details of the report and said concerned departments of the interior ministry have been directed to investigate the matter. The premier asked the minister to expedite work on this and sought an early report from him.

Later, after have a meeting with British High Commissioner to Pakistan Philip Barton also on this issue, the interior minister addressing a press conference at Punjab House said, “In the light of the advice of British High Commission, I am going to write a letter to the British government to get access to facts as mentioned in the BBC report.”

Repeatedly using the word ‘facts’ instead of allegations, the minister said that facts, which had surfaced as a result of BBC documentary, were extremely sensitive in nature and were a matter of great concern for Pakistan.

“Pakistan is focused and committed and would go to the last to get access to information mentioned in this report,” he said and added that it was the responsibility of the British government to cooperate with Pakistan in this regard.

The minister demanded that the British government should hold a transparent investigation on the issue and keep updating Pakistan on it. “Pakistan and UK are already cooperating on difference issues including crimes and narcotics control as well as immigrations issues and authorities of both sides have a close liaison,” he said.

Avoiding giving a direct answer that whether British government had shared with the Pakistani government the transcript of the recorded interviews of two MQM leaders as mentioned in the story, the minister restricted himself to saying that the government had some kind of information about such activities and law enforcement agencies had also reported about this. “Some things had come into our notice earlier and we had taken up them with the British authorities,” he said.

Nisar said that BBC report validated the information that country’s intelligence agencies had been providing about their neighbouring country (India) to Pakistani government and other foreign countries. The top leadership of India has also admitted its involvement in such clandestine activities, which he called ‘illegal and inhuman’.

“We have shared very important information with Scotland Yard during last six months that has helped them crack this case,” the minister said hoping that British would show the same spirit about investigation on BBC documentary. “It is the responsibility of the British government to extend as much help as possible to Pakistan in this regard.”

London’s Metropolitan Police are currently investigating the MQM over money laundering after a huge quantity of cash was reportedly found at party offices and exiled leader Altaf Hussain’s home in London. As well as the money laundering case, British police are also probing the murder of MQM politician Imran Farooq in London in 2010.

Nisar said that he also discussed Dr Imran Farooq case with the British High Commissioner and a team of Scotland Yard would visit Pakistan at the end of this week or next week. He said that it should be understood that the deceased was the son of the soil and it was responsibility of the government to help UK authorities solve this case. “It is not a matter of quid pro quo... However, this cooperation with the UK authorities should serve as precedent” for future cooperation, he said.

Responding to questions, the minister said that MQM as a party and all its workers in Pakistan should not be linked with this case as the report was about some specific persons of the party. He also showed confidence in the judicial system of UK and the BBC, saying everyone knew about its credibility. He showed ignorance about the Pakistani officials as quoted in the story but informed that the BBC reporter Owen Bennett-Jones never contacted any government official ‘through official channels’.

Answering a question, the minister said that he had come to know that former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had decided to return the necklace to the government that was denoted by the wife of former Turkish prime minister. Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) had bought this necklace from the public money that was donated for the flood victims but later it was given to Gilani. FIA is already probing this matter, he said.