Waseem Akhtar confesses involvement in May 12 violence

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Waseem Akhtar has “confessed” to involvement in May 12, 2007 carnage, the day Karachi witnessed a series of violent clashes among rival political parties on the arrival of the then chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

According to a police report presented in a court, Waseem Akhtar, who is also nominated as mayor of Karachi, admitted that he ordered firing on people gathered to receive Iftikhar Chaudhry outside the Karachi airport.

The report said that MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Kamran Farooqui and Muhammad Adnan are also nominated in the case.

“An accused, Aslam alias Kala, was arrested on information by the Karachi mayor-designate,” it added.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) has sent Waseem Akhtar on judicial remand for 14 days in connection with two cases registered against him in Malir Police Station and Sachal Police Station.

The court also issued order to the prosecutor and the police to present a challan on the next hearing.

The court, while refusing to give remand of Waseem Akhtar in a case of holding a protest rally outside the Chief Minister’s House, remarked that the accused be interrogated in jail.

In 2007, gunfights and clashes erupted across the provincial capital as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP) activists who supported Iftikhar Chaudhry and pro-government (MQM) activists took to the streets against one another. Police were mere a silent spectator to this gory spectacle. Earlier, Chaudhry’s supporters had announced a public rally to welcome the judge while at the same time the MQM also announced a demonstration of their own to protest against the politicisation of the issue of judges’ suspension.

Before the citywide riots escalated, several roads were cordoned off and all routes to the airport were blocked to avoid clashes between groups. In the carnage that ensued, several cars were burnt and buildings smashed, while gunfights left more than 40 people dead with several hundred injured and arrested.

Several lawmakers and analysts have since questioned the incompetence of the city’s security apparatus on the day of the riots and the “complicity” of the MQM in giving rise to the riots. The MQM had officially denied involvement in chaos and blamed it on other parties’ activists.

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