Waseem Akhtar, two others arrested in Dr Asim case

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Abdul Qadir Patel surrenders to police

Salahuddin Haider

Karachi—In a dramatic development, two of MQM front-rankers, Mayor-Designate Waseem Akhtar and MPA Rauf Siddiqui, as will as Anees Qaimkhani of Pak Sarzameen Party were arrested on orders from an anti-terrorist court here Tuesday and sent to jail.
Later former Peoples Party leader Abdul Qadir Patel, who too was on interim bail, was meted out similar treatment. He was in the courtroom, having returned from London, but had went out of it. As he stood for some time outside the courtroom, he charged that the police had shut the doors to disallow him entry into the courtroom. But no sooner he went home alongwith his police guard, Home Minister Anwar Sial ordered his arrest too. He later surrendered himself at the Boat Basin police station just hours after police vans had besieged his Defence Society residence and office.
While MQM, and PSP leaders were charged with helping murderers and hardened criminals to seek medical attention in Dr Asim’s Ziauddin Hospital in Disitrict Central, Patel, had reportedly fallen from the grace as Peoples Party seems to have distanced itself from him. This had happened after the arrest of Lyari gang war leader Uzair Baloch. Patel, too came from Lyari and had close affiliations with Uzair.
It was not immediately known as to whether they will be given class “A” or “B” reserved for VIP and graduate prisoners, or will be lodged in class “C” with ordinary prisoners.
Their arrest orders came after their interim bail was denied extension. The presiding judge summoned the police to take them in custody. Police arrived there soon afterwards and drove them central jail in different vans. The detained leaders showed “V” signs to witnesses to announce conviction in their cause.
The three said they would move the High Court Wednesday for fresh bail as they thought that they had been framed in Dr Asim case. Patel on the other hand said he was thinking of seeking justice from higher judicial fora.
Sources said that the establishment was unhappy with Waseem Akhtar’s choice for the coveted post of Karachi Mayorship, and had even brought pressure on MQM to nominate someone else for post. MQM’s refusal to do that worsened the situation.
Former minister and Mayor, and now PSP founder leader Mustafa Kamal, outside the court, described Anees Qaimkhani’s arrest as unfortunate, but it was obvious that an establishment, looked with suspicion of being “unfair” in carrying out Karachi Operation, was keen to eras that impression. Hence the arrest of Qaimkhani and Qadir Patel also.
Later a large number of MQM and PSP workers had converged outside the Karachi Central jail to voice protest over the arrest of their leaders.
Speaking to a private TV channel earlier, Waseem Akhtar claimed that they were unlawfully detained inside the building, with police not even allowing their lawyer to leave the building to file an appeal in the Sindh High Court.
“Today is a dark day in the history of Pakistan. We are being framed on the basis of a fake JIT report,” Waseem Akhtar said.
“The judge herself admitted today that there are certain things in the JIT report which she is being forced to accept. There are a lot of personnel in plain clothes inside the courtroom. The gates have been closed and we are not being allowed to leave. Even our lawyer, who wants to go to the Sindh High Court to appeal, is not being allowed to leave,” he alleged.

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