Imran Farooq

Imran Farooq: Life of a political worker

Dr Imran Farooq was one of the founding members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. — Photo by AFP

Dr Imran Farooq, a founding leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was assassinated in London on Thursday evening. Farooq was among the key figures who laid the foundation for the All Pakistan Mohajir Students’ Organisation (APMSO), which eventually began led to the formation of the Muhajir Qaumi Movement. In 1997, Muhajir Qaumi Movement was renamed as Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Farooq was born on June 14, 1960 in Karachi and was a close associate of MQM chief Altaf Hussain.

He started his political career in 1978 with the foundation of the APMSO.

During the early 1980s, the APMSO was converted into a fully fledged political party known as the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM). The party aimed to advocate the cause of the Urdu-speaking population, mainly in Karachi and other parts of urban Sindh.

After the formation of the MQM, Farooq became the first convener of the party. In the 1988 general elections, Farooq was elected as an MNA from Karachi. He was also the parliamentary leader of the MQM in the National Assembly.

Later on, in 1992, when Altaf Hussain went into self-imposed exile in the wake of a military crackdown against the MQM, Farooq went underground and ran the party from hiding. Although he had been declared an absconder by the government of the time, he continued to evade the authorities.

During that time, several MQM leaders and members left the country after being charged in numerous criminal cases.

Farooq also managed to slip out of the country on a fake passport and identity. In 1999, he arrived in London and applied for political asylum.

Around this time, the MQM began operating from London with Farooq largely seen as among the key figures. During the years immediately before his death, his influence in the party was said to have lessened.

Farooq was married nearly five years ago. He is survived by his wife, Shumaila Farooq, and two children.

On September 16, Farooq was found murdered near his residence in London.

Political observers say there can be extraordinary repercussions if the attacker(s) is found to have any links with Pakistan.
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