An anti-terrorism court (ATC) approved on Saturday the bail for Karachi’s elected mayor Wasim Akhtar in a hate speech case.
ATC-I judge approved the bail plea which Akhtar had filed over fears he might be arrested following his release from jail. The court, however, asked the mayor to submit a surety bond of Rs25,000.
This is the 38th case that Akhtar has been granted bail in during the course of a year. A verdict on whether he may remain behind bars or be set free is awaited on November 16.
Last week, an ATC reserved order on Akhtar’s bail plea in a case pertaining to facilitation of terrorists, paving way for the Karachi mayor’s release from jail on November 16. The mayor had been alleged of involvement in the treatment of terrorists at the former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain’s Ziauddin Hospital.
The court also approved bail in two cases pertaining to organising and listening to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founding chief Altaf Hussain’s ‘hate speech’.
Dr Asim, MQM lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui, Waseem Akhtar, Qadir Patel, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) president Anis Kaimkhani and Usman Moazzam of Pasban-e-Pakistan were indicted in a terror facilitation case, following which the judge summoned witnesses to appear in court against the suspects.
The imprisoned mayor took oath earlier this year despite staunch opposition from rival parties. Akhtar, a former MPA, who is being held at Karachi’s central prison was brought to Polo Ground amid high security to take his oath. The tenure of the city’s last elected mayor, Syed Mustafa Kamal, ended almost six-and-half-years ago in February, 2010.