Wife of Pakistani politician killed in Britain makes appeal

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The widow of a Pakistani politician stabbed to death in London made an emotional appeal Thursday for information to track down his killers, as police said they were still seeking the motive for the attack.

Imran Farooq, 50, a founding member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a major force in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi, was found with head injuries and stab wounds outside his home in north London on September 16.

"Someone, somewhere knows something about my husband's murder," his wife Shumaila Imran told a press conference, breaking down in tears at one point as she appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

She described her husband as a "dedicated family man, a loving father and loving husband."

"His murder a week ago has devastated me and left our family in a state of shock and disbelief."

Senior Scotland Yard detective Neil Basu said police were "keeping an open mind as to the motive behind the attack" but were "doing all they possibly can to catch those responsible."

The MQM is a partner in the ruling coalition led by President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's Party in the southern province of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital.

Farooq claimed asylum in Britain in 1999. He was wanted over scores of charges including torture and murder related to the MQM's activities but always claimed the accusations were politically motivated.

In 1978 he helped form the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation -- representing Karachi's Urdu-speaking majority in Karachi -- and six years later became secretary general when its student wing became the MQM, a full fledged party.

He was twice elected to parliament but went into hiding in 1992, when the government ordered a military crackdown against party activists in Karachi.

Although he was officially number two in MQM and was popular within the party, his role was relatively low-key.

London has hosted a number of exiled Pakistani politicians. Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf currently lives there, as does MQM leader Altaf Hussain.

© 2010 AFP

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