An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has indicted Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar in a case linked to the bloodbath in the city on May 12, 2007. Besides Akhtar, who belongs to the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), the ATC yesterday indicted several others in the case, 11 years after the incident. Nearly 50 people were killed and over 100 injured in attacks on rallies by different political parties and the legal fraternity who had attempted to go to the airport to welcome deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on May 12 during military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure.
Nine hours after reaching Karachi and being stranded at the airport as violence and anarchy broke out in the city, Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad. Akhtar, who was the provincial home adviser to the chief minister at the time, appeared before the ATC and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
The court directed the prosecution to produce its witnesses in the next hearing, Dawn reported. The Karachi mayor and at least 18 others are out on bail in the case while 16 others are absconding. Only one of those charged today is in jail. Akhtar told the media after the hearing that since becoming mayor, some 40 cases had been lodged against him, with as many as 20 first information reports filed against him in one day. The hearing of the case will resume on June 23.