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KARACHI: Police on Tuesday afternoon arrested Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) Waseem Akhtar and Rauf Siddiqui and Pak Sarzameen Party's Anis Kaimkhani in a case pertaining to providing treatment and shelter to alleged terrorists.

Akhtar, Siddiqui and Kaimkhani have been shifted to jail in an armoured personnel carrier (APC). Police have been ordered to arrest Abdul Qadir Patel, who is also facing charges under the same case.

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) earlier in the day rejected the pre-arrest bail applications of the political leaders.

The pre-arrest bail applications of Anis Kaimkhani, Rauf Siddiqui, Waseem Akhtar, and Abdul Qadir Patel, who were facing charges of allegedly asking former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussian to provide treatment and shelter to alleged terrorists and gangsters at Ziauddin Hospital, were rejected.

A heavy contingent of police deployed at the premises summoned officers from the nearest police station to court.

Reaction from party leaders

“Karachi operation has not remained impartial. We respect the courts but whenever an unjustified thing is done, we will record our protest,” senior MQM leader Wasay Jalil said while talking to DawnNews.

“Why are we being dictated? Why are the agencies dictating us? Even sports are being militarised and we are seeing press-ups on the field.”

On the arrest of Anis Qaimkhani, PSP leader Raza Haroon said: “Qaimkhani has followed the proceedings legally. His version was never heard and he was not allowed to clear his name. Being involved in a case doesn’t mean he is criminal. Even the prime minister is involved in [many] cases.”

Senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said Rangers failed to prove anything against Dr Asim despite keeping him in custody for a long time. “Rangers have kept Dr Asim for so many days; even then they couldn’t find anything. Later they issued a fabricated statement,” he said.

“Had it been something in our favour, it would have been difficult for everyone to accept. But since it was against us, everyone accepted it,” Kaira added.

Patel surrenders to police

PPP's Abdul Qadir Patel has surrendered to the police after failing to appear before the court earlier in the day.

"When I reached the court, the door was closed and I could not enter. Hence, after waiting for a few minutes I left," said Patel while talking to the media on his arrival at Boat Basin police station to hand himself over to the police.

The PPP leader added that he had not run away from the court as some media channels reported.

"If I wanted to run away, why would I come to Karachi from London, attend court proceedings and surrender myself to the police.

The political leaders were on pre-arrest bail for at least six months. Their applications were fixed before the ATC-II judge for confirmation or otherwise.

Dr Asim, a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, had been booked on the complaint of Rangers for allegedly treating and harbouring suspected terrorists, militants and gangsters at the North Nazimabad and Clifton branches of his hospital at the behest of some MQM and PPP leaders.

According to the prosecution, four different parties had allegedly asked Dr Asim to provide medical treatment to “political militants”, Lyari gangsters as well as activists of banned militant outfits after they sustained wounds in shootouts with police and Rangers.

A case was also registered at the North Nazimabad police station earlier, under charges of harbouring offenders, criminal breach of trust and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act.