25/06/2015 8:13 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

BBC Report Says India Trained And Funded Pakistani MQM Militants; Party Rubbishes Claim

A supporter of Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, (MQM) holds his picture during a protest rally in Karachi, Pakistan on Monday, May 20, 2013. Supporters of MQM gathered to protest against the chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Imran Khan, for his accusation on MQM self-exiled leader Altaf Husain holding him responsible for the murder of a senior PTI leader in Karachi. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

A controversial BBC report quoting an unnamed senior Pakistani official has claimed that India has trained hundreds of militants belonging to Pakistan's opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in "explosives, weapons and sabotage over the past 10 years" in camps based in the country's north and north-eastern regions.

The report also claimed that two senior leaders of MQM told British authorities, who were investigating the party for alleged money laundering, that they received Indian government funds.

However, Hindu quoted a spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry as saying that the BBC report is "completely baseless".

"Shortcomings of governance cannot be rationalised by blaming neighbours,” the spokesperson said.

MQM has also rejected the report. PTI quoted MQM spokesman Muhammad Ali Saif as saying that "such charges were levelled in media against the MQM in the past and later on those who levelled the charges took back them back."

He said none of MQM leaders told British police that the party received funds from India and the British channel should produce the proof in support of its allegations. He said MQM was examining the report and would challenge it in the court if it was necessary.

According to the report, before 2005-2006 the training was given to a small number of mid-ranking members of the MQM, the Pakistani official reportedly told BBC. More recently greater numbers of more junior party members have been trained.

The party enjoys huge support in Pakistan's Mohajir community - the Urdu-speaking Muslims who migrated from India during the 1947 partition and are mostly based in Karachi.

The party is alleged to have used violence for political ends but always denies the charge. Its leader Altaf Hussain fled to UK in 1992 after military operation was launched against the party and was given British citizenship in 2002. With 24 members in the National Assembly, the MQM is the fourth largest party in the parliament.

In April, a police officer in Karachi had made similar claims. The official said two arrested MQM militants had told the police they had been trained by Indian intelligence agency RAW. It triggered an abusive tirade by Hussain, the BBC report said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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