KARACHI - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday directed the prosecution to file an amended charge sheet against the accused in cases pertaining May 12 carnage by February 2. 

ATC conducted hearing of four cases of May 12, 2007 bloodshed, wherein, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar did not appear in the court. Other accused were produced before the court during the hearing.

Waseem’s lawyer submitted an application of exception by stating that his client was not able to appear in the court as he suffered from a chest infection. The counsel also submitted his client’s medical report.

The court approved his plea and directed him to ensure his appearance in the next date of hearing.

The court did not indict the accused, under an amended charge-sheet due to absence of the mayor Karachi, who was among 22 others indicted in the high-profile case. The investigating officer was directed to produce amended charge-sheet after the arrest of another co-accused Abdul Zahid.

Waseem Akhtar and other accused have already been indicted in four cases pertaining to May 12. Court had declared 14 accused in the cases as absconders. Cases against the accused were registered at the Airport police station.

According to the prosecution, as many as 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies by different political parties and the legal fraternity who had attempted to receive the then deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at the Karachi airport ahead of a lawyers’ gathering on May 12, 2007.

Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad after nine hours of being restricted to the airport. Akhtar was the provincial home adviser to the chief minister at the time.

The Karachi mayor and at least 18 others are out on bail, while 16 others are absconding.

Moreover, another ATC conducted hearing of 26 cases regarding hate speech by MQM founder, wherein the MQM leaders including Farooq Sattar, Khawaja Izhar, Rauf Siddiqui, Qamar Mansoor, Rehman Hashmi and others appeared in the court, Amjid ullah, however, Amair Khan, Mehfooz Yaar Khan and Waseem Akhtar were absent.

Amir Khan’s lawyer submitted an application for exemption by informing that his client is in Saudi Arab to perform Umran  The court inquired to the IO about the prosecution witnesses, the IO replied that many witnesses have been transferred from Karachi to other cities, and he has been trying to contact them.

The court expressed its displeasure over their absence and remarked that no further delay will be tolerated, and also issued bail-able arrest warrants against the witnesses.

The court also directed the IO to ensure appearances of witnesses to record their statements in the next hearing to be held on February 16.  

Earlier, the court had indicted the MQM (Pakistan) leaders inducted in 21 identical cases pertaining facilitating the dissemination of hateful speeches made by party founder, the accused denied the charges and opted to contest the cases.

Senior MQM leaders, including Dr Farooq Sattar, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Amir Khan, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Rauf Siddiqui, Rashid Godil, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Gul Faraz Khattak, Salman Mujahid, Abdul Qadir Khanzada, Khushbakht Shujaat, Shahid Pasha, Qamar Mansoor and Kanwar Naveed, along with nearly 200 party workers, have been booked in total 26 identical cases of hate speech.

The court had amalgamated identical FIRs registered at different police stations in the city against the MQM leaders for allegedly facilitating and listening to the highly provocative speech of their London-based chief against the country’s security establishment.

More than two dozen cases were registered against them at the Artillery Maidan, Malir City, Sohrab Goth and other police stations by the individuals