Although Waseem Akhter, through his hand written letter from the prison, has altogether denied that, yet the police officers (Rao Anwar and Malik Altaf Awan) as well as the Pakistani media-men are still beating the drum of his alleged confession regarding the incidents of 12 May, 2007.
Anyway, as per Karachi police, MQM`s nominated Mayor for Karachi Waseem Akhter confessed that had been ordered by MQM`s top leadership to stop/sabotage the Chief Justice Iftekhar Choudhry`s rally on May 12, 2007 at any cost. However, this is quite opposite to the reality. Factually speaking, there was no formal rally announced on that by the organizers (bar associations). In fact, they had arranged a formal gathering of lawyers at the Sindh High Court building as a reception of Iftekhar Muhammad Choudhry. That was the meeting that the deposed chief justice had to address. So, the blame of trying to stop the CJP`s rally by MQM is proves to be baseless.
In the same context, it was also repeatedly blamed that dozens of containers were placed on the roads in order to hinder Iftekhar Choudhry`s rally. However, no one could deny what Waseem Akhter, in a talk show, revealed. He said that these were the bar associations themselves which had demanded from the local administration to place containers on the way to safeguard the CJP`s convoy to the venue. He, as a proof, referred to the minutes of the meeting in which all that was formally demanded and decided. On top of all, it was no one else, but Waseem Akhter himself who, considering the political tension in the city, offered the CJP and his colleagues to be taken to their destination (Sindh High Court building) by a helicopter. Considering this, can it be blamed anyhow that MQM or Waseem Akhter wanted to stop the CJP from reaching the venue??
On May 12, 2007, there were only two formal gatherings to be held in Karachi; one by lawyers` community at Sindh High Court building in the honor of deposed chief justice, while the other one was at Tibbet Centre by MQM. It is also very important to recall that the organizers of the CJP`s reception (lawyers associations), through media, had appealed the political and religious parties to keep off their program as it was a non-political event and that it was only for lawyers. Question is, after such a statement from the hosts, was there any justification left for PPP, PML-N, ANP, PTI, JI or ST to stage rallies in the connection of the CJP`s arrival in Karachi??
Regarding MQM`s rally, it was to be held at Tibbet Centre (from Gru Mander to), far away from the venue of the lawyers` program. In addition, MQM`s rally was not in connection with Iftekhar Choudhry`s Karachi visit as it was having a different view over the on-going lawyers` movement for restoration of Iftekhar Choudhry. Moreover, MQM leadership sought a formal permission of the same.
Question is, did the other political and religious parties get prior permission for their rallies for that day? If really yes (though it seems to be wrong), what was their route and venue? Shahra-e-Faisal and Karachi airport? The same route and place which the lawyers` bodies had appealed them to stay away from? We know that Shahra-e-Faisal was also the route of MQM`s rally (from Karachi East to Tibbet Centre). So, was holding rallies and moving towards a sensitive and uninvited place, not a deliberate act of causing tension in the city? Media reports indicate that the area that remained worst affected by 12 May`s carnage was Shahra-e-Faisal. It was the same violence which not only hindered the CJP`s visit, but also baldy sabotaged MQM`s grand rally as less number of people could manage to reach Tibbet Centre.
Taking into account the extremely tense and poor law & order situation in the city, MQM leadership had to wind up its program earlier. Considering all these, who should be held responsible for the political clashes and the resulted deaths on 12 May, if not the unconcerned and uninvited political and religious parties? Very obviously, only CJP and MQM`s programs got affected that day because other parties had arranged no formal programs except to receive Iftekhar Choudhry which had not been allowed by the lawyers.
MQM`s rivals also paint the poor performance of Karachi police on May 12 as an MQM`s plan and hold Waseem Akhter responsible as he was the interior minister that time.
No doubt, the Karachi police played as a silent spectator on May 12. They seemed to be standing a side. Had they ensured that only the parties (with prior permissions) staged rallies on the already specified routes would move, the unnecessary political tension and the resulted clashes would have been avoided. Similarly, had they taken immediate actions against those having weapons instead of saving their own lives, dozens of human lives could have been saved. In this respect, Altaf Hussain (MQM founder & leader)`s statement is on record. He revealed that on May 12, he, from London, called then DG Rangers Sindh and requested him to send the Rangers to control the situation, but he refused to do that. Question is, when the Rangers can continue conducting operations in Karachi even after their policing powers have legally expired, should they not have played their required role on May 12 too on Altaf Hussain`s appeal? Furthermore, did we ever witness any political or religious leader, Chief Minister, Prime Minister or President of Pakistan claiming that he called Police chief, DG Rangers, Corps Co-commander or Army chief to send their forces to Karachi in order to save human lives in the crucial time when Urdu speaking community was being invaded by political rivals, racist groups, Liyari gangsters and Taliban terrorists?
Anyway, if the deplorable performance of police can termed as a plan of Waseem Akhter to target his political rivals, then what about the criminal silence of law-enforcement agencies over the target killings and attacks on Muhajir communities since 80`s?? What should the exclusively targeted seize and search operations in Urdu speaking areas, arbitrary arrests, brutal torture in the custody and even the extra-judicial killings of MQM`s workers by the law-enforcement agencies be called? Keeping in view the fact that police is being controlled by PPP`s provincial while Rangers by PML-N`s federal governments, will the so-called impartial critics not similarly hold PPP and PML-N and their interior ministers responsible for the killings of MQM`s workers during the on-going Karachi operation?
On the other hand, if MQM, as the rivals blame, had really wanted to kill its rivals, would it not have achieved this just by launching a police operation against them like the way PPP and PML-N (with the full support of PTI, ANP, JI and all the ethnic groups) have been doing against it for decades? But, did MQM ever do that? Did any single worker of rival party get arrested, go missing, brutally tortured or even extra-judicially killed before, on or after May 12 by Karachi police during Waseem Akhter`s tenure as interior ministry?
The critics also quote General Pervez Musharaf`s speech of May 12 as an evidence that the violence in Karachi was on his order.
Apparently, there was no controversial thing present in his statement. In fact, he was referring to the MQM`s rally that was the biggest unlike his rivals on the day. Yet if Gen Musharaf`s obviously simple statement can be taken for an evidence of the killings in Karachi, then there is also a long list of MQM`s rivals and their provocative statements/remarks which practically led to the bloodshed of Urdu speaking people. Rasool Baksh Palejo, Iyaz Palejo, Qadir Magsi, Malik Ghulam Sarwar Awan of PPI (whose son Malik Altaf Awan is the investigation officer of Waseem Akhter`a case), Shahi Syed and Zulfiqar Mriza have a bad record for this.
“I did not issue 300,000 weapon licenses for aerial firing for celebrating wedding ceremonies, but to kill MQM`s people”. It was an open confession of then PPP`s Interior Minister Zulfiqar Mirza. Was his volunteer revelation ever quoted as an evidence of the mass killings of Urdu speaking people by his patronized Liyari gangsters?
“We (ANP leadership) have decided to award senate ticket to Shahi Syed for having reined in MQM”. This was ANP leader Ilyas Bilour`s statement which he uttered live in a press conference. Was that ever produced as a proof of the ethnic cleansing of Muhajirs especially in Pashtun areas of Karachi? “Altaf`s chapter`s closed.” This statement was not of a political rival or a leader of a racist group, but of then chief of Pakistan army General Asif Nawaz Janjua. This was how he exposed the real objective of his military operation in Karachi during 1992. Did any anchorperson, analyst or a legal and constitutional expert ever consider that disclosure as an undeniable evidence of Muhajirs` genocide by Pak army in the disguise of restoring peace in Karachi? Do they have any answers to this??