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Friday, 25 December 2015

International criminal safe haven…

On the 11th of March 2015, Pakistan Rangers raided the central office of MQM in Karachi. What they recovered from that office included convicted criminals, and a huge amount of weaponry. The level of sophistication, of the recovered weaponry, for the first time made it obvious for me, why were the people in Karachi and Hyderabad afraid of MQM, and why did they pay protection money on regular basis.
A couple of years back, while in Karachi, I had witnessed how the MQM thugs enforced strikes and urgent shutdowns. On the day of the killing of Manzar Imam, hardly more than an hour after his death, standing in the balcony of my hotel room, I witnessed MQM shutdown procedure in live action.
Two youngsters, of 20-25, arrived on a motorcycle on the street in front of the hotel. Stopped in the middle of the road. The passenger, who was holding a naked firearm (pistol), got off the motorcycle, fired two rounds in the air and adding in some very taporia instructions, ordered all the businesses to close. Ten minutes later the bustling street was dead. All the shops had closed, and the silent observer in the hotel balcony was forced to contemplate.
Since that day, I had been wondering why hundreds of people bowed their heads in obedience to just two youngsters, who in fact even exhibited signs of feeble health. A pistol cannot have an infinite number of bullets, and evidently those apparently drug addict Mafiosi, had no more weapons on them. But seeing the stockpile, recovered from the MQM head office in Karachi, all my questions were answered. I as an outsider did not know, but evidently the people of Karachi knew, that unless they complied with orders, the pistol would be replaced by RPGs, automatic assault rifles, sniper rifles and mobs of MQM thugs.
Weapons recovered from MQM Headquarters 
The fact that the recovered weaponry included weapons stolen from NATO containers is also not very surprising, because I remember the time when Babar Khan Ghauri was the Minister of Ports and Shipping, and believe me ministerial portfolios open a lot of lucrative gates for you in Pakistan. 
As could be expected, all MQM leaders in Pakistan started a hue-and-cry campaign, because now they understood that all those skeletons in their closets might be revealed. To avoid exposure, and to try to avoid prosecution, they are yelling since 11th of March, 2015, about injustice and persecution. But I would like to ask all of them, why did they not raise voice, when many times, over the past years, their hit-men came from South Africa, mainly, carried-out liquidations and flew back? They may have licenses for Automatic Assault Rifles, because this is Pakistan, but do they also have a license to harbour Wali Khan Babar’s killer? 
The loudest voice, against law enforcement in Karachi, came from London. You must have guessed, whose drunken voice is being referred to. Why was this voice raised from London and not Karachi? Because the latter city is the International safe haven for criminals. Don’t hurry into thinking that I am just labelling London in particular, and UK in general, as the international criminal headquarters. I am about to substantiate my claim.
I am not going to tell you about Altaf Hussein, and hundreds of other wanted criminals from MQM, who successfully escaped to UK at various times and are now living as respected British citizens. I will tell you about a couple of other cases, where people wanted in their homelands for serious crimes like terrorism, easily found their way to UK, and the British apparatus gave them full protection.
Let’s start with a man named Boris Berezovsky. For many of you this might be an unknown name, but Berezovsky was a wave maker. He was a Russian citizen, who escaped prosecution, and landed in the United Kingdom, with a little short of 1.5 billion dollars in his pocket. Berezovsky held important offices in the Russian executive branch in the 1990s. The first time, when someone disclosed Berezovsky’s illegal wealth accumulation practices, and his direct contacts with the Chechen rebels, was in 1996. Paul Khlebnikov published an article in FORBES magazine, in which he disclosed Berezovsky’s illegal activities, including money laundering, contacts with terrorists, and contract killings. The list of murders contracted by Berezovsky included the killing of a popular Russian journalist, Valdislav Listyev. The said journalist was appointed as the Director General of Russian Channel One in January 1995, and on 1st of March, 1995, he was murdered near his home. Following Listyev’s death Berezovsky acquired the major share of Channel One stock. Vladislav Listyev was the strongest opponent of letting Berezovsky use Channel One for his purposes.
As far as money laundering was concerned, Berezovsky had a very intricate network, which included using Channel One’s accounts, and funnelling money into Chechnya. Berezovsky mediated a lot of deals, with international terrorists, in Chechnya to obtain the release of kidnapped Russians and foreigners. 
Catherine O’Brien in her review of Camilla Carr and John James’ book “The sky is always there: Surviving a kidnapping in Chechnya”, wrote that Boris Berezovsky piad 1 million Pounds Sterling for the release of these hostages, and the hostages were delivered to his private plane, which later took them back home. 
The Russian prosecution had material evidence, which showed that Berezovsky funded the International terrorists in Chechnya, especially Shamil Basayev. He was also under investigation in Switzerland for monetary fraud, but Berezovsky died in Aston, as a British citizen, in 2008. Don’t forget the 1.5billion dollars, which I mentioned earlier, because they played a major role in the issuance of British citizenship for Berezovsky. 
Let me further tell you about another interesting character, who is enjoying British hospitality for more than a decade now. I am talking about Ahmed Zakayev. He took active part in the first and second Chechen wars. He was Aslan Mashadov’s interior minister and one of the mediators of a peace deal with Russia in 1996. 
The arrest warrants for Ahmed Zakayev were issued after the establishment of his role in the terrorist attack on a Moscow theatre, in October 2002 (commonly known as Nord-Ost terrorist attack). The terrorist attack, orchestrated by Al-Qaeda affiliated Chechen terrorists, took place from 23 to 26 October 2002 and on 28-29 October 2002 Denmark hosted “The Global Chechen Congress”. During the Moscow theatre fiasco, Zakayev made appearances on International media, and did his best to justify the terrorist attack.
On 30 October 2002, the Danish authorities refused to extradite Zakayev, and very soon he surfaced inside the haven. Zakayev was arrested at a London airport under the Interpol warrants, but was released under a £50000 bail bond. Interestingly enough, his bail was paid by Vanessa Redgrave, and Berezovsky’s “Civil Liberties Foundation”. 
One of Zakayev’s men, Duk-Wahi Dushuev, recorded a statement for the Russian authorities in December 2002, where he implicated that Zakayev had issued orders for the killing and abduction of people in his presence. Understandably enough, Dushuev retracted his statement once he left Russia. But more interestingly, on 29th of August 2012, Georgian Ministry of Interior servicemen trapped and killed a group of 11 terrorists, who were trying to cross the Russian-Georgian border. One of the terrorists was Dushuev (Georgia is a staunch anti-Russia western ally).
Berezovsky and Zakayev do not interest you, but I think late Dr Imran Farooq, does. The British law enforcement agencies arrested a man named Iftikhar Hussain, who is a close relative of a prominent Pakistani political figure. The CDR data from Iftikhar’s SIM brought a lot of covert information into the limelight. Scotland Yard is not hesitant now in saying that Imran Farooq’s murder was politically motivated, with a secondary objective related to money laundering. 
Talking of money laundering, I remember the British law enforcement recovered 250000£ of undeclared and untaxed funds from Altaf Hussein’s apartment in London. But I did not witness any moves to remove Altaf Hussein from UK, on the basis of illegal activities. If a young Pakistani student dares work part time, during his studies to meet his expenses, the British Border Control Authority raids the employer’s establishment, arrests the “illegal” worker, handcuffs him/her and launches deportation proceedings. What is the level of illegality here; a couple of hundred pounds a month? To avoid the heavy hand of British Border Control Authority your illegality has to be in hundreds of thousands. 
The list of international criminals wanted in many countries, and who are living a sound life in UK, is very long. There are hundreds of MQM thugs, who have criminal records in Pakistan, but they have somehow reached UK, and are under British protection now. If you have a criminal record, the British Border Control Authority never issues you a visa. But when it comes to major criminals, like Altaf Hussein, Berezovsky and Zakayev the terms of endearment take a 180 degree turn. MQM also has sleeper cells in many European cities, but that is a very different story.
My advice: don’t be afraid of committing crime. Make sure that your crime does not fall under the petty category, and that you embody monetary and political value. If you meet the said criteria, you are welcome to the International Criminal Safe Haven, called UK.

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