Surprising move: Wasim Akhtar remanded into police custody for four days

MQM's mayor-elect being questioned in terrorist facilitation case

Our Correspondent July 21, 2016
Policemen escort Wasim Akhtar for hearing at an ATC on Thursday. PHOTO: ONLINE

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court's (ATC) administrative judge remanded on Thursday Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) mayor-elect Wasim Akhtar into police custody in cases pertaining to listening to his party chief's 'controversial' speeches.

Akhtar and three other politicians were arrested and sent to jail after their bail was rejected by an ATC on July 19 in a terrorism facilitation case involving former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain.

According to the prosecution, the four politicians and others nominated in the case allegedly asked Dr Asim, who runs Ziauddin Hospital, to provide shelter and medical assistance to terrorists injured in clashes with rivals, or otherwise, at his private health facilities while keeping them screened off from law enforcers.

Later, the mayoral nominee was grilled in two other cases pertaining to MQM chief Altaf Hussain's two speeches in which he allegedly criticised the military establishment and publicly spoke about the human reproductive process.

The police sought from the administrative judge two-week custody of Akhtar on physical remand to interrogate him in these two cases. The judge, however, allowed them only four days.

The attorney for the MQM leader opposed the decision, contending that the cases were kept secret with mala fide intentions. Akhtar had taken bail in all the cases brought to the court, the lawyer asserted.

Akhtar also cast doubts on the intention of the police to keep the cases hidden. He also expressed his apprehension about his safety in police custody.

SHC dismisses Kaimkhani's bail application

Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed on Thursday a bail application filed by Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Kaimkhani in the case relating to the treatment of alleged terrorists and gangsters at Ziauddin Hospital. Headed by Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, a division bench asked the petitioner's lawyer to first move a post-arrest bail before the relevant anti-terrorism court (ATC), which had dismissed his interim pre-arrest bail.

A day after his arrest, Kaimkhani had moved a bail application before the SHC challenging the ATC's order. According to his lawyer Muhammad Farooq, the trial court order was not justifiable since there was no evidence against his client to connect with the alleged offence. He maintained that the FIR was lodged on the bases of a joint investigation team's report, which was not an admissible piece of evidence under the Qanoon-e-Shahadat Ordinance, 1984.

Meanwhile, an application was filed with the ATC-II seeking Kaimkhani's release on bail but the judge asked the lawyer to produce a copy of the SHC's above-mentioned order. Advocate Farooq assured to produce the high court order on Friday.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2016.



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