Funeral of top MQM leader held amid fears of violence in Pak | world | Hindustan Times
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Funeral of top MQM leader held amid fears of violence in Pak

world Updated: Nov 06, 2010 17:26 IST

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Thousands of people attended the funeral on Saturday of a top MQM leader who was stabbed to death in London in September that had sparked violence in Karachi.

The burial of Dr Imran Farooq, a founding member of the Mutthaida Qaumi Movement (MQM) who was stabbed and clubbed to death outside his London home on September 16, was held amid unprecedented security measures in Pakistan's biggest city and financial hub.

People preferred to stay at home amid fears of political and ethnic violence that has been frequent in the city in the last few months.

The 50-year-old politician had been living in the UK in self-imposed exile since fleeing a crackdown on his party in 1992.

Thousands of people, including top MQM leaders and representatives of other political parties, participated in final burial rites of Farooq whose body was flown into the city this morning from London.

Governor of Sindh province Ishratul Ibaad and Interior Minister Rehman Malik of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) received Farooq's coffin at the airport.

"We have taken every possible measure to avoid any terrorist attacks since that is the biggest threat for us," Malik said.

Farooq, a founding member of MQM had escaped to London in 1999 and claimed asylum after remaining in hiding for nearly seven years after the military crackdown against the party on the orders of the government in 1992.

"He was one of the central leaders and driving forces of the party and involved in decision making. He was respected for his honesty and commitment to the party cause in the most difficult conditions," said MQM leader Waseem Akhtar.

Top leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP), which represents the Pashto-speaking people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the city, were conspicuous by their absence at the funeral.

There has been lot of tension between MQM and ANP, the two parties who have blamed each other for the spate of violence in Karachi this year that has claimed around 350 lives in target killings and arson attacks.