Karachi—Mayor of Karachi Waseem Akhtar incarcerated since July 19, 2016, despite his coveted position, was given a hero’s welcome by his party leaders and workers on being released from Karachi Central Jail Wednesday afternoon
An anti-terrorism court had earlier grated him bail in the last of the 39 cases registered against him, and ordered him to be set free.
Court orders were sent to the Jail Superintendent and no sooner was the formality of Rs500,000 surety complete, he was set free.
Waseem, a former home minister of Sindh, and frequently-elected member of the assemblies, spent about six month in imprisonment.
Order for his bail was expected today, and was announced by the ATC judge. However, formalities took time to complete. The opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hasan and several other important leaders of MQM-Pakistan were present to receive him.
At the Central Jail, the leader of the MQM-Pakistan Dr Farooq Sattar, former minister, and MPA Faisal Sabzwari, Aamir Khan, and others garlanded him, while the party workers waved the party tri-colour in jubilation, raising slogans in their party’s and Pakistan’s favour.
Soon celebrations turned into a huge rally of party workers, sympathisers and supporter, which waded through the main thoroughfares to lead Waseem Akhtar to the Quaid-i-Azam Mazar where he laid a wreath as homage to the Father of the Nation.
Main party workers were with him. Waseem looked happy at his release from prison. From there the rally head to the party’s temporary centre at PIB Colony. Waseem had refrained from saying anything until after dusk, but opposition leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan did tell the media that while General ® Pervez Musharraf, or former Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad were welcome to join the party, the question of passing over leadership to outsiders did not arise. If and when the need for a change in the top hierarchy was felt, it would be from within the party’s ranks and file.
When asked to comment on Waseem’s release, he said that he was happy, but it was not just a question of the release of one Waseem Akhtar, several hundred Waseem Akhtars were still either languishing in jails or their welfare was not yet known.