The sister of a Bradford man, Farooq Ali, says she believes her brother was murdered in Pakistan but the truth is being covered up by the authorities.
Farooq Ali, 44, from Bradford, was found dead in the Ramada by Wyndham hotel in Islamabad in March.
His sister, Rehiana, told 5Pillars that there are so many inconsistencies in the circumstances surrounding his death that she has concluded that he was probably murdered.
Islamabad Police maintain the death was from natural circumstances although they are still to produce an official report into the incident.
And a Pakistani judge has rejected a private complaint against the hotel and police in the lower courts citing insufficient evidence, but the family’s legal team believe he has erred in his judgement and have lodged an appeal in Islamabad High Court.
Rehiana Ali maintains the police botched the investigation into her brother’s death and are now refusing to carry out a proper probe. She also says the post-mortem and forensics were botched.
After spending the last eight months in Pakistan investigating the case herself, Ms Ali says:
- Hotel CCTV proves there was suspicious activity outside Farooq’s hotel room with 3–4 people monitoring the room between 4–5am on March 12.
- The hotel allowed 14 people into the room before the police (thus potentially contaminating a crime scene).
- The hotel has given the Ali family inconsistent information about the circumstances surrounding his death.
- There was no finger printing of the crime scene.
- Police never set blood or foam for toxicology.
- Police did not send all food for forensics.
Ms Ali said: “People say that there is no justice in Pakistan. I now understand why they say that – but I also believe that most people eventually give up. The system is designed to grind you down.
“In my brother’s murder, Islamabad Police have wilfully destroyed most of the forensic evidence and obstructed the investigation repeatedly. Pakistani officialdom believes they can ignore us. How long can they continue to cover this up? Why would any diaspora go back to Pakistan if this is how they are treated?
“And then there’s the British authorities – they should not be giving license to Islamabad Police to mistreat us. We have asked our MPs Richard Burgon, Judith Cummins and Naz Shah to raise this issue at the highest levels in the Houses of Commons specifically at PMQs. That hasn’t happened yet. I hope they step up – only Naz Shah has engaged on the public front as yet.
“I believe a UK citizen was murdered in a 4* international hotel and left for five days in a room – for those who know Pakistan, that’s impossible. There are too many questions that Ramada by Wyndham and Islamabad police won’t answer. And the British authorities are not doing enough to get answers.
“We want the truth of what happened to Farooq on 11th or 12th March. Those responsible for his murder must be held to account.”
Farooq Ali was a Biochemistry graduate of Imperial College London. But at the time of his passing he was undertaking tennis training at the Pakistan Tennis Federation as he hoped to go on the seniors’ tour. He was also writing a fiction book.
Farooq was staying in the Ramada by Wyndham hotel in Islamabad after having moved there in May 2021.
Rehiani Ali said: “No concerns were raised when we spoke to our brother (shortly before his death). He was only 44 years old and completely well and very upbeat. If he had any health concerns, he would have almost certainly shared them with me, as I am a doctor (a consultant neurologist). He had no medical conditions at all.”
Farooq Ali and his sister shared a credit card but when she noticed no payment to the hotel had been made, she phoned him but her call went unanswered.
She then called the hotel on March 16 to check that he was still there and was assured he was. No reference was made that the hotel staff had not seen him for five days. She was then called seven hours later informing her that her brother was dead.
Rehiana Ali believes Farooq was murdered on March 11 or the early hours of March 12. But his body was only discovered on March 16 – five days later.
After his family few out to Pakistan, Farooq Ali was then taken to Kashmir and buried on March 18.
Bradford West MP Naz Shah held a press conference last Friday alongside Mr Ali’s sister Yasmin and brother and sister-in-law Yusuf and Abda.
Ms Shah said: “Why is it (this case) being kicked into the long grass? I recognise there’s a crisis with the country but that does not stop the country from functioning. We’re into the eighth month since his death, since his body was found.”
She added: “My constituents have raised concerns around the death in Pakistan. The Foreign Office have been briefing the family but we don’t feel that we’re getting anywhere.”
Islamabad Police and Ramada by Wyndham hotel have yet to comment to the media on the matter.