KARACHI: For the 10th time since December 30 last year, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) issued on Saturday non-bailable arrest warrants against Anis Kaimkhani, Saleem Shahzad and Qadir Patel, absconding in Dr Asim Hussain's terror facilitation case.
A founding member of the recently formed Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and a former top leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Kaimkhani, another MQM leader Shahzad, and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Patel, have been named as co-accused in the case.
MQM's mayoral candidate Wasim Akhtar and former minister Rauf Siddiqui, who are on interim bail in the case, as well as Pasban leader Usman Moazzam, who is in jail, were also present during the hearing. They face the same allegations as the absconders.
ATC issues non-bailable arrest warrants for Qaimkhani in Dr Asim case
According to the prosecution, the accused had allegedly asked Dr Asim, who runs the chain of Ziauddin Hospitals, to provide medical treatment to 'political militants' injured in clashes at concessional rates and screen them from law enforcers.
The warrants were issued again as the investigating officer (IO), DSP Altaf Hussain, submitted a report before the ATC-II judge, contending that the absconders could not be apprehended as two of them, Shahzad and Patel, were residing abroad while Kaimkhani was not available at his current address.
Kaimkhani recently returned to the country on March 3 and started off a political campaign of his new party led by former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal. He lives in a 'rented' bungalow in Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Phase V and holds press conferences from the same location.
DSP Hussain told the judge that he went to his bungalow several times but Kaimkhani was not there. "The court may ask Darakhshan police, within whose limits the place falls, to help investigators arrest him," he suggested.
The judge issued directions to the authorities concerned to notify the police station to assist investigators in apprehending the absconder.
About the other two absconders, the judge asked special public prosecutor Ayaz Tunio if their names were put on the Exit Control List (ECL). Tunio replied that they would have been on ECL if the authorities were intimated. Even if they are out of the country, the court can issue red warrants for them, he added. The judge directed the IO to write a letter to the home secretary barring the movement of absconders out the country.
Meanwhile, the complainant Rangers' counsel, Rana Khalid, intervened and pleaded the judge pass an order on his pending application about excluding some documentary evidences from the case apparently to favour the accused. The judge deferred the matter as the defence counsel sought time to submit his reply.
Concluding the hearing, the judge asked the IO to arrest and present Kaimkhani in court at the next hearing on April 18 and the other two whenever they return to the country.
Dr Asim spoke informally to the media outside the courtroom and complained that his health was worsening during detention. "I weighed 112 kilogrammes (kg) before I was taken into custody and now I am reduced to 70kg only," he said, adding that the sufferings of being behind the bars cannot be described in words. "Only those who have been through this can understand that how the tension of what next keeps your mind occupied."
Outside the court, Akhtar preferred talking about his former party members who have now formed PSP and are levelling allegations against MQM chief Altaf Hussain. "What happened in Mirpurkhas was public outrage and the Qingqi party might have understood that they made a blunder," he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2016.