Recent leaks of two documents alleging India’s support to Pakistan’s Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) may be linked to remarks by defence minister Manohar Parrikar on ‘using terrorists to deal with terrorism’, analysts say.
Two documents in the public domain – one purported to be a record of a police interview with MQM official Tariq Mir, and another involving Karachi trader Sarfaraz Anwar Merchant – claim that India provides funds to MQM.
While police here denied that the document linked to Mir was part of its records, a Scotland Yard spokesperson appeared to confirm on Friday the authenticity of the document related to Merchant.
The Indian high commission here refused to comment on the issue, but analysts saw the leaks as part of Pakistan’s efforts to brand India as a supporter of terrorism after Parrikar’s recent remarks about using ‘terrorists to deal with terrorism’.
Shaun Gregory, a security expert at the University of Durham, told HT: “The Pakistanis have seized on the alleged ‘confirmation’ in Parrikar's so-called ‘terrorism for terrorism’ remarks to seek to counter the international narratives (and India's narratives) that Pakistan supports terrorism”.
He added: “One could read the MQM link to India as being framed in the context of that line of argument: that is, MQM is a ‘terrorist’ actor involved in political violence and crime; India has links to MQM (of whatever nature); ergo, India supports ‘terrorism’?”
Gregory said that MQM – which espouses the cause of Urdu-speaking migrants from India at the time of partition in 1947 and is influential mainly in Sind – has a ‘political duality’.
“On the one hand it is a secular and pluralist political party with a track record of supporting the PPP and military-backed governments such as those in the Musharraf years (PML-Q, etc). As such it would not surprise me if India had some contacts with them – however innocuous – as any nation state might with another nation's political parties”.
Scotland Yard said it was concerned over ‘possible prejudicial effect’ of the reported leaks.
A Yard spokesperson told Hindustan Times: “Documents have been put to the police asking for clarification as to their validity. We have seen one that appears to be a genuine police document and a second we do not recognise as a police document”.
He added: "We are concerned as to the possible prejudicial effect release of these documents could have to an ongoing police investigation. We are not investigating a possible leak in relation to this matter and will not be drawn into discussing any further documents that may be given to the media by third parties."
The ‘record’ of Mir’s interview was previously denied by the police as being part of their documents, while the spokesman's statement appeared to confirm the authenticity of the document related to Merchant.
However, official sources pointed out that claims made in the documents were still under investigation, and that any statement made by the interviewees could not be construed as facts.
The ‘Pre-Interview Briefing’ document of the Metropolitan Police related to Merchant is dated 15 April 2015. It states: “Interviews were conducted with Tariq Mir and Mohammad Anwar in 2012 in relation to a separate investigation. During the interviews both Mr Mir and Mr Anwar stated that MQM was receiving funding from the Indian government”.
Read: India dismisses claims of funding Pakistan's MQM