KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Waseem Akhtar was sworn in as new Mayor of Karachi amid controversy on how he will be running city’s affairs from prison, Samaa reported.
All sessions judges in Karachi had refused to administer the oath to Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Karachi mayor and deputy mayor – Waseem Akhtar and Arshad Vohra – after not getting clearance from the Sindh High Court.
In the wake of the dispute, Municipal Commissioner Sami Siddiqui administered the oath to Karachi Mayor and Deputy Mayor at city’s Polo Ground where Waseem is expected to be brought by police officials.
The dispute is about Akhtar’s functioning from behind the bar. Reports say he may be provided necessary facilities at the Central Jail or be released on parole. If he is provided an office in prison, the mayor would be legally permitted to pass directives and to chair council sessions via video link.
Akhtar is in jail on sedition and terrorism charges.
He won the mayoral poll by a landslide with 196 of the total 294 votes cast by the city’s municipal authorities.
Akhtar was arrested in July and accused of ordering a crackdown on city riots in 2007, when he was serving as provincial home minister, that resulted in a bloody massacre and death of 40 people with several hundred injured.
The election mission has issued a notification regarding victory of heads of local bodies in Sindh, including Wasim Akhtar; however, the commission withheld result of Karachi’s District West where MQM candidate's victory was voided.
On the other hand, PTI local leader Faisal Vawda filed an application in the Sindh High Court appealing the court to stop Akhtar’s swearing in and declare him disqualified.
However, the court rejected the application.
Speaking to media outside the court afterwards, Vawda lamented the court’s decision and vowed to continue his efforts.
“It’s misfortune that even a president and prime minister comes from jail to rule this country, and now the mayor is from jail who is facing many charges,” he said.
“All this is aimed at diverting focus from investigation of Panama Leaks but I will not back down and pursue my efforts aggressively for accountability and elimination of corruption,” he affirmed.
“I’m playing my part and will go to any extent,” he said, and criticized the government for nexus with MQM.
“Where is the government? It’s missing. The rulers should stop those who are involved in treason and attempting to break Pakistan.
About recent firing on his vehicle, the PTI leader said he has asked police to provide CCTV video of the crime scene, saying that he will get FIR lodged soon. – Samaa