Rangers unimpressed by Waseem Akhtar’s KARACHI: A somewhat ‘forget and forgive’ statement given by jailed Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar following his court appearance on Saturday was apparently not taken well by the Sindh Rangers as the paramilitary force considered it an attempt to cast a shadow on its “impartial” actions in the city.
Mr Akhtar, who was brought to an anti-terrorism court from the Karachi central prison for the hearing of his bail applications, directly addressed the director general of Rangers, Major General Bilal Akbar, during his media talk on Saturday, asking him “for God’s sake” move on and forget whatever happened in the past.
“DG-Rangers is our elder and I would ask him to forget [our] mistakes… I am sorry if he is furious on any matter,” the mayor had said, while appealing to the authorities not to ‘implicate him in false’ cases and allow him bail to serve the people of the metropolis as their representative.
However, a statement issued by the paramilitary force on Sunday suggested that the Rangers chief did not take his apology seriously and instead considered Mr Akhtar’s media talk as an attempt to make the ongoing Rangers-led operation controversial.
Without mentioning his name or his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a spokesman for the Rangers said that the statement of a “prominent leader of a political party in which he addressed the Rangers director general and tried to give an impression that a particular person or a party is the target of the Karachi operation” was factually incorrect.
The spokesman said the Rangers were conducting the operation against criminals and terrorists only, and not against any particularly party or group, for restoring a durable peace in Karachi.
The Rangers’ statement, however, disappointed the Dr Farooq Sattar-led MQM, as they believed that the impression the Rangers got from the Karachi mayor’s statement was not correct.
“It was a reconciliatory effort from Waseem Akhtar as he denounced whatever happened on Aug 22 in the same press talk,” a senior MQM leader said, adding that Mr Akhtar did not express any apprehension on the actions of the paramilitary force against criminals and terrorists.
He said that the Rangers misconstrued Mr Akhtar’s words.
During the Saturday media talk, he paid tribute to the army but sarcastically said that “our prime concern is to keep Waseem Akhtar behind bars”.
Mr Akhtar was arrested on July 19 after an ATC rejected his pre-arrest interim bail plea in a case — lodged on the complaint of a Rangers official — pertaining to the treatment of alleged terrorists in Dr Ziauddin hospitals. Later, he was remanded in police custody and booked in seven more cases pertaining to the May 12, 2007 mayhem. He had contested and comfortably won the Aug 24 mayoral election from prison and took oath of his office on Aug 30.
He has been booked in over two dozens cases — most of which pertain to listening to a provocative speech of the London-based MQM supremo.