KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Saturday came down hard on the counsel for two leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement over their absence during the hearing of two cases pertaining to allegedly facilitating an incendiary speech of party founder Altaf Hussain.
Several senior leaders, including Dr Farooq Sattar, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Qamar Mansoor, Rehan Hashmi, Amir Khan and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, along with nearly 200 party workers have been booked in around 26 identical cases.
Two ATCs have indicted them in 23 identical cases so far.
On Saturday, the ATC-X judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, took up two identical cases registered at the Sohrab Goth police station.
All the accused were present, except Mayor Akhtar and Rauf Siddiqui.
Confessional statement of suspect in May 12 case recorded
Defence counsel Irshad Bandhani moved an application pleading to exempt the mayor from personal appearance for one day, assuring the court that he would appear on the next date.
Defence counsel Shaukat Hayat and Abid Zaman also moved an application submitting that their client, Rauf Siddiqui, was visiting Saudi Arabia for renewal of his wife’s iqama after obtaining proper permission from the ATC-I judge and pleaded for one-day exemption from appearance.
The judge came down hard on the counsel for not producing the court’s order allowing the suspect to travel abroad.
While allowing both applications, the judge warned them that the interim bail granted to Mayor Akhtar in the case would be cancelled if he failed to appear in court on the next date of hearing.
The judge also expressed extreme displeasure over the absence of Inspector Nusrat, the investigating officer of both the cases, without properly intimating the court.
A police official had informed the court that the IO could not attend the court since he had undergone an eye surgery and was currently under treatment in a private hospital. However, no medical certificate was produced in this regard.
The court directed the official to submit a medical certificate regarding his purported surgery.
In the previous hearing, the court had summoned the IO to record his statement on an ‘A’ class report submitted by him, seeking closure of one of the two pending cases.
Around 26 identical FIRs were registered against the MQM leaders and workers under relevant sections of the law at different police stations in the city.
Confessional statement of jailed ‘MQM man’ recorded
A judicial magistrate on Saturday recorded the confessional statement of a suspect in a case pertaining to the May 12, 2007 mayhem.
The suspect, Mirza Rizwan Baig alias Chapati, has been booked in one of the cases pertaining to violence, rioting, attempted murder and terrorism.
Mayor Akhtar is also among 20 accused who have been booked in two identical cases under relevant sections of the law registered at the Airport police station in 2007.
Last week, an ATC allowed the IO to grill the suspect in prison in connection with the May 12 mayhem. The suspect was initially arrested for possessing an illicit weapon.
The IO moved an application before a judicial magistrate (South) and submitted that the suspect was willing to record his confessional statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
After completing legal formalities, the magistrate recorded his confessional statement in which he confessed to his involvement in an armed attack on a rally to welcome the then deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in which around 12 people were killed and around 15 others wounded.
He confessed that Hameed alias Sciencedan, Taqi Mamu, Mansoor and others were also involved in this armed attack, adding that he was associated with the MQM and the party helped him get a job as a ward boy in a government hospital in 2013.
He deposed that he went into hiding in New Karachi after the law enforcers launched an operation in 2016.
He said he had killed Sunni Tehreek’s Qasim alias Pappu on Kashmir Road in 2010; in 2009 he killed another ST activist Sattar near Gora Qabrastan; also killed MQM-Haqiqi’s Farooq alias Tanky and injured another Attaullah.
He confessed to his involvement in extortion and attack on the office of a private television channel on Aug 22.
After recording confession, the magistrate sent him to prison on judicial remand.
Around 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies by different political parties and the legal fraternity who had attempted to receive the then deposed chief justice at the Karachi airport ahead of a lawyers’ gathering.
Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad after nine hours of being restricted to the airport. Akhtar was the provincial home adviser to the chief minister at the time.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018