Waseem Akhtar

Wasim Akhtar (Urdu: وسیم اختر; born 25 November 1955) is a Pakistani politician of the Muttahida Quami Movement (P). He served as the Mayor of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, from 2016 to 2020. Shortly after his nomination as Mayor, he was controversially arrested for what his supporters saw as political reasons.

Waseem Akhtar
MQM protests leaders 2015 (cropped).jpg
Waseem Akhtar
29th Mayor of Karachi
In office
30 August 2016 – 29 August 2020
DeputyArshad Vohra (until March 2019)
Preceded bySyed Mustafa Kamal
Pakistani Parliamentarian from Karachi, Sindh
In office
May 2008 – May 2013
Personal details
Born (1955-11-25) 25 November 1955 (age 67)
Karachi, Federal Capital Territory, Pakistan
Political partyMuttahida Quami Movement (P)
Residence(s)Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Alma materTelecommunication Engineer
OccupationPolitician

Akhtar worked as a telecommunication engineer for AT&T in Saudi Arabia for ten years. After returning to Pakistan, he started radio sets and telephone sets assembly business which later expanded to pharmaceutical distribution.[1]

Early life and careerEdit

After his early academic education, he finished his degree program in telecommunication engineering.

He is also facing charges as the main culprit on the 12 May 2007 riots in which more than 50 citizens were killed. [2]

Personal lifeEdit

Akhtar belongs to an Urdu-speaking Muslim Rajput family. He is the son of Akhter Muhammad Khan. He runs a real estate business. He is married and has six children.

Political careerEdit

 
Waseem Akhtar during 2016 electoral campaign.

Mayor of KarachiEdit

In 1987, he joined Muttahida Qaumi Movement.[3] He is currently a senior member of MQM.

After the 2015 Karachi local government elections, Akhtar became the Mayor of Karachi on August 24, 2016.[4] He took oath as Karachi mayor on 30 August 2016.[5]

ArrestEdit

Waseem Akhtar was arrested based on a Joint Investigation Team report on Dr. Asim Hussain.[6][7] These reports, according to legal experts, are inadmissible in courts.[8] The Anti-Terror Court which would try him has also been declared as "unjust and ineffective" by the International Commission of Jurists.[9][10]

Waseem Akhter was arrested shortly after his nomination papers for the Mayor of Karachi were accepted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (which requires that a candidate have no criminal record). Since he was nominated mayor of Karachi, unknown persons registered FIR against him in the District of Malir, home of then Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar, who would later be suspended by the government.[11][12] The Anti-Terror Court ordered his arrest, which seems part of chain of political crackdown against MQM, which has blamed the law enforcement agencies for transgressing their authority and extrajudicially killing many MQM workers, including Aftab Ahmed, a former coordinator for Farooq Sattar.[13] Waseem Akhtar also alleges that the court needlessly delayed his bail by not hearing his bail case.

ChargesEdit

Charges against Waseem Akhtar included that he listened to speeches by MQM founder Altaf Hussain and clapped.[14] He is also accused of recommending people to Dr. Asim Hussain for medical treatment.

Fake confession reportsEdit

Pakistani media ran reported that Waseem Akhtar had confessed to murder, but his lawyers presented a signed letter from his jail declaring the reports to be false.[15] Waseem Akhtar later himself appeared on the media and rejected the fake confession reports.

MQM has also alleged that law enforcement agencies were pressuring Waseem Akhtar to withdraw as the mayor of Karachi.[16] Some analysts opined that Waseem Akhtar was not being provided a fair trial.[17]

Fake receipts in Dr. Asim caseEdit

Journalist Shahzaib Khanzada revealed that Rangers had submitted forged medical receipts intended to show that Waseem Akhtar had recommended alleged terrorists receive treatment from Dr. Asim. All of the receipts belonged to innocent residents (the receipts and addresses were authentic but names had been changed).

Amnesty InternationalEdit

Amnesty International published a report stating that the life of Waseem Akhtar while in detention might be in danger because of torture and ill treatment by the law enforcement agencies.[18]

Release from jailEdit

Waseem Akhtar was released from detention on November 16, 2016 after getting bail on all 39 cases.[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Waseem Akhtar: The party man". 14 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Waseem Akhtar Politician Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)". urduwire.com. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  3. ^ "Waseem Akhtar: The party man". 14 March 2016.
  4. ^ Reporter, Dawn.com | The Newspaper's Staff (2016-08-24). "MQM's imprisoned Waseem Akhtar elected Karachi mayor". Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  5. ^ "MQM's jailed Waseem Akhtar takes oath as Karachi mayor". 30 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Waseem Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui, Anis Qaimkhani arrested from Karachi court". www.geo.tv. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  7. ^ Tanoli, Dawn.com | Ishaq (2016-07-19). "Police arrest Waseem Akhtar, Anis Kaimkhani in Dr Asim terror case". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  8. ^ "Investigating high-profile crimes: JIT reports inadmissible in court, say legal experts - The Express Tribune". 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  9. ^ "Pakistan: military justice system unjust and ineffective – new ICJ paper | ICJ". www.icj.org. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  10. ^ "Explainer: How Waseem Akhtar will run Karachi from inside a jail". Express Tribune. 30 August 2016. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Bad cops bent to make Karachi police a mafia: Altaf Shakoor President of Pasban-e-Pakistan". CNN iReport. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  12. ^ Baloch, Dawn.com | Shafi (2016-04-18). "SHC orders FIR against SSP Rao Anwar over 'staged encounter'". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  13. ^ Ali, Dawn.com | Imtiaz (2016-05-03). "DG Rangers admits deceased MQM worker was tortured during custody". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  14. ^ "MQM's Waseem Akhtar seeks bail in hate speech case - The Express Tribune". 2016-01-04. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  15. ^ "Wasim Akhtar condemns "fake" confession reports | SAMAA TV". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  16. ^ Webmaster (2016-08-10). "MQM being pressured to withdraw Waseem's name". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  17. ^ "Is Wasim Akhtar getting a fair trial?". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  18. ^ "URGENT ACTION FIVE POLITICAL ACTIVISTS AT RISK OF TORTURE" (PDF).
  19. ^ "Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar released from jail". www.geo.tv. Retrieved 2016-11-16.