KARACHI: Waseem Akhtar, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader and mayor of Karachi was finally released from prison on Wednesday after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) granted bail in terror facilitation case, the last of 39 cases against him.
He was welcomed by a large number of party workers and supporters gathered outside the Karachi Central Prison to welcome him. He waas received by MQM leader’s Farooq Sattar, Faisal Sabzwari. Amir Khan and Rauf Siddiqui while party workers showered petals to welcome him.
Akhtar along with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Abdul Qadir Patel was granted the latest bail with a surety of Rs 5,00,000 each and to submit their passports. This was the last of 39 cases against him.
After his release, Waseem Akhtar visited the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah where he laid a floral wreath, offered ‘fateha’ and commented in the guest book.
While speaking to media, Akhtar said that it was his desire the mausoleum since he was elected as the mayor of Karachi, but was unable due to the prevailing circumstances.
He reaffirmed that it would now continue his duties as the mayor of Karachi and fullfill the mandate given to him to the best of his ability. He called on the Sindh government to give the local authorities their rights so they can fuction smoothly without any hindrance.
Bail granted to Akhtar, others
An ATC had indicted former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain, Waseem Akhtar, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leader Anees Qaimkhani, Abdul Qadir Patel and Pasban leader Usman Moazzam in the case related to the provision of medical assistance and shelter to terrorists and criminals at Dr Asim’s private hospitals.
A close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, Dr Asim was arrested for providing medical assistance and shelter to terrorists and criminals belonging to banned outfits, MQM and several Lyari-based groups at his private hospitals in Karachi.
While Akhtar and others were facing charges of allegedly asking the former petroleum minister to provide treatment and shelter to them.
Last Saturday, the MQM leader got bail in a case pertaining to making things easier for founder MQM Altaf Hussain in a bid to make provocative speeches. His last bail was set at Rs 25,000.
For not appearing in the court, the judge also had ordered to issue arrest warrants for 22 MQM leaders including party’s founder Altaf Hussain and Dr Farooq Sattar.
Akhtar has also been given bail in another hate speech case that triggered attacks on media houses in Karachi last August including ARY News Karachi bureau and four cases related to May 12, 2007, bloodshed.
‘Give powers or bear protests’
MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan urged Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday to give powers to local government representatives in the province or else his party would launch a series of protests and sit-ins.
Speaking to media after a local court in Karachi issued release orders of Waseem Akhtar, he said the captain of the team has been freed today and now a new era of progress and development under the leadership of MQM would not stop.
In a bid to join the government, he also demanded chief minister’s position for MQM in Sindh and hinted that a high-profile name of Karachi would soon join MQM.