KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court has remanded Dr Akmal Waheed in police custody for two more days until August 17.
Dr Waheed – acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2006 on charges of providing medical treatment to militants – was arrested by police on August 8 on his arrival from the UAE. He was initially presented in Anti-Terrorism Court-I on Saturday and remanded for two days. His detention is reportedly over the violation of an undertaking with the police that he had to report his whereabouts. The police filed an FIR against Dr Waheed after he left for the UAE.
On Monday, the ATC-I granted his remand to the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police. He will remain in police custody until August 17. A bail application, moved by Dr Waheed’s lawyer under Section 21-D of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997 is scheduled for hearing on August 15. Notices have been issued to the special public prosecutor and the accused to appear in court.
His family had earlier speculated that the doctor would be released on bail on Monday. But after a long wait at the ATC-I, Dr Waheed was told that he would have to remain with the police for a while. “I think they want to keep me till Eid,” he said jokingly. “They should make a crime show about me called ‘Non-Criminal Most Wanted’,” he quipped to a television reporter.
Dr Waheed announced the remand and bail dates to reporters, his face betraying little emotion. His lithe wife, dressed in an embroidered black abaya, stood up and clutched his hand as he spoke.
Dr Waheed and his brothers have been repeatedly detained by intelligence agencies and have been written about extensively because of a number of cases against them alleging their involvement or support to militant networks.
Given the long list of allegations against him, one would assume Dr Waheed to be an old, wizened man. Given that he returned from completing a jail sentence in the UAE and was whisked away by the police on arrival in Karachi, the doctor looked composed – joking at times with his lawyers, wife and a police officer accompanying them – and was impeccably dressed in grey trousers and a checked blue-and-white shirt.
Inside the courtroom, Dr Waheed took a moment to rest and looked contemplative, his fingers pressed together. He conferred with his wife throughout the morning.
The Gulshan-e-Iqbal police was unwilling to explain why it had asked for a longer remand. The charge against Dr Waheed at the moment is that he violated the fourth schedule of the ATA by not informing the police that he was leaving the country for the UAE.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.