- MQM’s Karachi mayor-designate Waseem Akhtar denies he has confessed to police that party chief Altaf Hussain had ordered him to stop May 12, 2007, rally even at expense of human lives
- Investigating officer says he stands by Akhtar’s ‘confession’; says he set up a JIT at ‘local level’ to investigate cases already registered against MQM’s senior leader
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was up in arms on Wednesday after a police joint investigation team reportedly formed by the Karachi police claimed that Karachi mayor-designate and senior MQM leader Waseem Akhtar had allegedly confessed during interrogation that MQM Chief Altaf Hussain had ordered him to stop the May 12, 2007, rally in Karachi of the then deposed chief justice “at all costs”.
Soon after surfacing of the police JIT’s report in the media, Waseem Akhtar, who is currently in police custody, in a hand scribbled note, denied that he had made any such confession during investigation.
According to the police JIT report, Akhtar had allegedly told interrogators that MQM chief Hussain had directed him to stop the rally of the then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on May 12, 2007, resulting in the killing of at least 50 people in one day.
According to the report, Akhtar, who was adviser to Sindh CM for Home Affairs at the time, said he was directed to prevent the rally from being a success “no matter how many people die”.
He reportedly further revealed before the police JIT that the MQM chief allegedly received directives from Indian covert agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
“All political parties in Karachi, including the MQM, have militant wings and that money was transferred in party’s London accounts through Hundi,” the police JIT report quoted Akhtar as saying.
On Tuesday, police claimed that Waseem Akhtar had ordered firing on the people arriving to welcome the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhary at the Karachi airport on May 12, 2007.
Officials, in remand papers submitted before the ATC judge on Tuesday, said that whatever happened in Karachi on May 12 was carried out at the behest of Akhtar and he had confessed to it.
They requested further remand of the suspect at which the ATC ordered the police to grill Waseem Akhtar in jail, the remand papers further said.
The MQM rejected the allegations in a press statement issued on Tuesday.
“On May 12, 2007, police remained a silent spectator to the massacre on the streets of Karachi,” said the party, questioning who was responsible for that.
WASIM AKHTAR DENIES CONFESSION:
According to a press statement issued by the MQM, Karachi mayor-designate Waseem Akhtar strongly denied claims made by the police JIT report.
The MQM statement said that Akhtar had himself written a letter from prison and denied all the allegations aired by a section of media quoting police reports.
“Neither I have given any confessional statement regarding the May 12 incident nor have I made any new revelations. All such reports are absolute lies,” Akhtar wrote in the note.
The mayor-designate said that he had reiterated his previous stance that there should be a high-level judicial enquiry into the May 12 incident.
“Conspiracies are being hatched continuously to damage my reputation through a media trial,” he maintained.
“I strongly condemn fake and baseless reports aired by media about me,” he added.
The MQM leader appealed to the people of Pakistan not to pay any heed to such fake and baseless reports.
‘FORMED JIT AT LOCAL LEVEL’:
Talking in a talk show of a private news channel on Wednesday night, Investigation Officer Malik Altaf claimed that he had formed the JIT “at the local level” to investigate charges against Waseem Akhtar and that the MQM leader had confessed to his involvement in the May 12 violence.
“I have now requested my senior officials to form a JIT comprising officials from other law enforcement and security agencies to investigate the May 12 carnage,” he said, avoiding a question as to who had authorised him to form a JIT.
While Altaf refused to comment any further on the case, he claimed that the May 12 violence case was already under investigation which is why the police had interrogated Akhtar.
Speaking on the show, Waseem Akhtar’s lawyer Khawaja Naveed said that the police’s mala fide intention against his client was quite clear as it was trying to implicate the MQM leader in a 9-year-old case while he was taken into custody in a case relating to inflammatory speeches at public gatherings.
AMMUNITION DUMP RECOVERED NEAR MQM OFFICE:
In a possibly related development, Sindh Rangers carried out a raid near MQM’s unit office in Burns Road area and recovered arms buried under a garbage heap.
The officials said the Rangers, acting on a tip-off from an accused taken into custody allegedly on the information provided by MQM leader Waseem Akhtar, seized 14 Kalashnikovs and 8,000 rounds.
Separately, Rangers confiscated a huge cache of arms and ammunition in a targeted action in Shah Faisal Colony. The Rangers spokesman said the weapons were in use of the “militant wing of a political party”.
The weapons recovered in the raid included one RPG-7, eight rocket launchers with seven fuse, three heavy machine guns with 1,820 rounds and five magazines, one Rifle G-3 with 1,105 rounds and two magazines, eight SMGs with 1,018 rounds and 12 magazines, two 7-MM Rifle with 250 rounds and one magazine, 12-Bore Rifle’s 17 bullets and Walkie-Talkie sets.
The Rangers spokesperson said the seized arms and ammunition was used in targeted killings and for disturbing law and order situation in the city.