ISLAMABAD/ KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders Wasim Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqi, and Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Qaimkhani were taken into custody in a terror facilitation case after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) rejected their interim bail on Tuesday.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Qadir Patel, who earlier escaped to flee the court premises, also surrendered in the evening.
Saqib Ismail, a senior police officer in Karachi, told Reuters Akhtar and another MQM Siddiqui, were arrested on suspicion of sheltering and providing medical treatment to alleged militants and criminals.
Ismail added Kaimkhani from the PSP was also arrested in Karachi. "All three accused will be shifted to Central Jail," said Ismail.
ATC issues non-bailable arrest warrants for absconders in Dr Asim Hussain case
Declaring his arrest ‘unconstitutional and unlawful’ Akhtar, who is also Karachi's mayor nominee, said he was being politically victimised.
He vowed to file a formal appeal in the Sindh High Court.
“Even our lawyers are not being allowed to step outside the ATC and file a formal appeal in the high court."
MQM lawmaker Ali Raza Abidi also said party’s lawyers will apply for bail.
“We feel that the case on Dr Asim is based on political victimisation where a concocted investigation report was created for media distribution only,” he told The Express Tribune.
“The MQM expects a fair trial and an early bail of the nominated mayor and a sitting MPA. This is part of the policy of criminalisation, demoralisation and isolation of the party.”
Patel surrenders before Boat Basin police station
Talking to media outside the police station, the PPP leader claimed he reached the ATC a bit late and its door had been closed.
Therefore, Patel said, he waited outside and after learning through his counsel that his interim bail was rejected, he proceeded outside to file a petition in the high court.
“From there I went to a friend’s house for legal consultation and saw the media footage, describing me as a runaway.”
Vowing to face the trial, Patel said he did not come back to Pakistan from London to escape the court.
“I came back to the country from London to attend the hearing of the case then why would I escape from the court,” he asked.
Earlier Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah directed the Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal for Patel's arrest.
“As far as Patel’s arrest is concerned, it was a matter in ATC. It’s the duty of home minister to get the absconder arrested,” he said.
Dr Asim's case
A close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, Dr Asim Hussain, was arrested by the paramilitary Rangers on charges of corruption and facilitating terrorists in August 2015.
ATC denies Dr Asim bail in terrorists' refuge, treatment case
The FIR registered by the Rangers deputy superintendent alleges Dr Asim provided medical treatment and shelter to terrorists and criminals on the behest of the arrested leaders, as well as Saleem Shahzad.
Last month, the ATC had rejected bail for Dr Asim in the terror facilitation case.
The former federal minister is currently in the custody of National Accountability Bureau in Karachi.
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