Saturday September 25, 2021

Waseem Akhtar’s mayoral victory tainted by May 12 legal challenge

ATC accepts interim charge sheet that names city mayor and 56 other suspects


Hours before he was officially confirmed as Karachi's latest mayor, Waseem Akhtar was nominated as an accused in cases related to the May 12, 2007 carnage in an interim charge sheet that was accepted by the administrative judge of anti-terrorism courts (ATC) with directives for submission of final charges at the earliest.

Along with Akhtar, 56 other people including MPAs Muhammad Adnan and Kamran Farooqui were also named.

A notorious criminal Aslam alias Kala, allegedly arrested on information disclosed by Akhtar, was also among the accused.

As per the charge sheet, the city's new mayor has confessed to being involved in the mass rioting on May 12, 2007, and the administrative judge was told that police have gathered concrete evidence to prove Akhtar's role in the violence. 

Brought to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) office to cast his vote, Akhtar on the other hand, asserted that the all cases against him were groundless and politically motivated.

The court was further informed that higher authorities were approached to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the incident.

The city mayor was named in seven cases regarding the carnage. The court had in a previous hearing declined the investigators’ plea to extend his physical remand and sent him to the central jail.

He was facing two other cases: of facilitating treatment of criminals at Dr Asim Hussain’s hospital and providing shelter to them along with other noted representatives of political parties and facilitating Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain in delivering a provocative speech against the armed forces.

Another under detention leader of Pasban, Usman Moazzam, had also been nominated in the May 12 case, while Saleem Shehzad – a suspended member of the MQM – was declared an absconder.

Administrative judges of ATCs had already sent nine accused to the central jail for the May 12 carnage.  The ATC concerned was also transferred the case for conducting a trial against the accused.

Those sent to the prison included Syed Arsalan Ali, Waqas Qaimkhani, Syed Talha Ali, Zeeshan Bashir, Ghulam Murtaza, Muhammad Adeel, Noor Hassan, Faisal Wahab and Athar Qureshi; they were arrested from Gulistan-e-Jauhar.  

Earlier Muhammad Haneef alias Gada, Salman Rizvi, Imran and Nasir were arrested and remanded to the prison for the same charges.


B-class facility

Granted B-class facilities at the jail by an ATC on July 28, the court confirmed its decision after Akhtar’s counsel submitted the needful documents confirming his attorney’s educational qualification.

The court had asked the city mayor’s counsel to submit the documents within 15 days; else the decision was warned to be overruled.

As per the documents, Akhtar had completed his graduation in business studies from Port University of Economics. The court was informed that the institute had corroborated the claim and confirmed that he had studied there.

The attorney was further directed for Akhtar’s Income Tax documents to also be submitted in court.