KARACHI: City mayor Wasim Akhtar on Monday distanced himself from the London-based leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) claiming that his loyalty and association belonged to MQM-Pakistan.

He said he did not need to have “their [London-based MQM leaders] support or take dictation from anyone”.

“The MQM is a democratic political party and not a cult and its members are not an instrument for making irrelevant those who are not in Pakistan and want to patronise and exploit conditions,” said Mr Akhtar in a handwritten statement sent to Dawn.

“I would like to clarify in unequivocal terms that MQM is Pakistan based and registered as a political party here. It has in categorical terms disassociated itself from London and it neither needs their support nor take dictation from everyone.”

The Karachi mayor statement from prison came two days after the MQM leadership in London, which has been found in disagreement with MQM-Pakistan over different issues since the Aug 22 speech of Altaf Hussain, had demanded immediate release of the Karachi mayor, Wasim Akhtar. In the statement, Nadeem Nusrat had asked the government to release the elected mayor so that he could serve Karachi and take up municipal challenges of Pakistan’s largest city.

Although Mr Nusrat had termed Mr Akhtar’s arrest and imprisonment ‘victimisation’ due to his political association, the divide between the two sides appear so strong that Mr Akhtar did not even accept the words from the London leadership in his support.

“I do not need foreign support and I am truly grateful to all who in support of my victimised family held a peaceful protest. Thank you all,” he said while referring to the Sunday protest when his family along with dozens of friends and members of the civil society converged at Dou Talwar in Clifton to demand his immediate release.

“Ever since being the grace of Allah Almighty that I have been elected as mayor of Karachi and taken oath, I am totally apolitical and am facing cases filed against me in courts while being in prison, have not run away as I have faith in due process and our judiciary, which will under the CJ [chief justice of] Sindh High Court’s direction under its judicial policy would provide relief.”

The city mayor reiterated his innocence in the cases he had been recently booked by the police. He said he had not yet confessed neither he was involved in any other charges being labelled against him in the May 12 violence cases.

“Furthermore, I have not confessed to my involvement in May 12, 2007 incident, as I was [at that time] an adviser to the CM, not the CM or in charge of what happened for which judicial inquiries have been held and matter disposed of, but in line with my selectively being targeted by certain rogue policemen and have been falsely implicated, which time and due process will prove my innocence in not only this case but all cases instituted after my nomination as mayor.”

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2016

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