On 12th May 2007, as Rawalpindi saw Pervez Musharraf address a rally alongside the PML-Q leadership, it was Karachi that witnessed tragedy and violence as the city appeared to be under siege from the very political party that was running the provincial capital at the time, the MQM.
The unrest began as the recently suspended chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry arrived at the Jinnah International Airport on 12 May 2007. Gunfights and clashes erupted across the provincial capital as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) , Awami National Party (ANP), and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) activists, who supported the judge, and the pro-government Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activists took to the streets against each other. Government machinery was used to block all major roads. Police was accomplice and a silent spectator to the violence. News media was attacked at Guru mandir (Business Recorder Road) when MQM activists began firing at AAJ TV headquarters which was shown on live television.
The accused, including Akhtar, appeared before the court today to be indicted. All 21 accused pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges, which include clauses related to attempted murder, creating unrest and spreading terror. 15 individuals have been declared absconders by the court.
The court ordered the witnesses to be summoned in the case’s next hearing.