KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Saturday issued warrants for the arrest of around 45 witnesses for their absence in 21 cases of hate speeches against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement leadership.

The ATC-I judge, who is jointly hearing 26 identical cases related to the hate speeches of the MQM founder, in the previous hearing had summoned the prosecution witnesses, including the complainants, in the 21 cases, directing them to appear on Saturday to record their statements.

However, the witnesses were found absent and the court issued bailable warrants directing the investigating officers to produce them on Feb 16.

Dr Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Khwaja Izharul Hasan, Rauf Siddiqui and others have been booked in the cases mostly lodged in 2016 at different police stations of the city for allegedly facilitating and listening to the speeches of party founder Altaf Hussain in which he allegedly criticised the military establishment and other state institutions.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019