KARACHI - Karachi Mayor-designate Waseem Akhter, former Sindh home minister Rauf Siddiqui and Pak Sarzameen Party leader Anis Qaimkhani were remanded to judicial custody till August 3 following cancellation of their interim bail by an anti-terrorism court in terrorists’ facilitation case.

Another co-accused in Dr Asim Hussain’s case, Pakistan People’s Party leader Abdul Qadir Patel, fled from the court following the cancellation of his bail.

MQM leader Waseem Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui, PSP leader Anis Qaimkhani and PPP leader Abdul Qadir Patel reached the ATC for hearing of the case while another co-accused Pasban leader Usman Moazzam did not appear before the court.

The ATC rejected the interim bail application of the accused persons following the Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) report on facilitating and sheltering terrorists in Dr Asim Hussain’s case. Waseem Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui and Anis Qaimkhani were arrested and shifted to jail in two separate armoured personnel carriers. Waseem Akhtar, Anis Qaimkhani and Rauf Siddiqui waited for hours till the law enforcers managed their transportation.

Scores of MQM workers and lawyers gathered outside the court premises and chanted slogans in favour of Muttahida and their detained leaders. On this occasion, MQM’s Rauf Siddiqui said: “This is the worst example of political victimisation as the decision had already been taken.”

Waseem Akhtar said he had arrived from London on Sunday just to appear before the court. He said the hearing pertained to either rejection or acceptance of the bail application. He claimed it wasn’t the decision of the court; plainclothes men appearing in the courtroom were behind the decision. Waseem said his bail had been rejected on the basis of a fraudulent and fake JIT. He alleged his lawyers were not being allowed to go to the high court to secure his bail.

As Qadir Patel came to know about the bail plea rejection, he fled the court premises in the presence of heavy contingents of police and Rangers. However, he surrendered to Boat Basin police after five hours of his escape.

Talking to media persons, he said: “I reached 20 to 25 minutes late when the ATC courtroom was locked. The people informed me of my bail cancellation, so I am filing an appeal before the high court. The question of fleeing the court does not arise. I am just going to exercise my legal right.”

Following his escape, Patel’s name was placed on the exit control list (ECL) while Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal directed the law-enforcement agencies to immediately arrest the PPP leader and produce him in the court.

It is worth mentioning here that the case against the accused has been registered on the report of the JIT formed to investigate PPP leader and former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain. Dr Asim had been in the Rangers’ custody for 90 days on the charge of facilitating and treating terrorists. The Rangers got 90-day remand of Dr Asim and North Nazimabad police registered an FIR against him under Anti-Terrorism Act.

Saqib Ismail, a senior police officer in Karachi, told Reuters Akhtar and Rauf Siddiqui were arrested on suspicion of sheltering and providing medical treatment to alleged militants and criminals.

Ismail added that Anis Kaimkhani from the Pak Sarzameen Party was also arrested in Karachi.

“All three accused were shifted to Central Jail,” said Ismail.