KARACHI - Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar was released yesterday from Central Prison Karachi, after a court granted him bail in the last case baring his release.

According to prosecution, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan leader was facing trial in 39 cases, including those relating to alleged facilitation to terrorists and hate speech. Some eight cases were filed against him in connection with violence in Karachi on May 12, 2007.

Four cases related to May 12 carnage and violations of law were registered against him in Airport Police Station. Earlier, Waseem had secured bail in 38 cases.

But he was in prison since July 19, 2016 when an ATC dismissed his pre-arrest bail application in one of the cases relating to May 12 violence. The ATC judge granted him bail against a surety bond of Rs500, 000.

Talking to the media persons after his release, the Karachi mayor said he has spent worst time of his life in prison and he is going to write a book over this episode.

“I will withdraw my salary from the bank as I arranged all the bail money through loans from friends,” he said.

On this occasion, Waseem Akhtar's wife expressed her joy and said those who filed ‘fake’ cases against her husband should also be investigated.

MQM Pakistan leaders and a huge crowd of party workers had gathered outside the prison to welcome the mayor of the city. Supporters showered rose petals on him and Waseem responded by showing victory sign to them.

Later, the MQM-P leader paid a visit to Quaid-e-Azam mausoleum and laid floral wreath at the Mazar where party convener Dr Farooq Sattar, opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Khuwaja Izhar ul Hassan, Karachi Deputy Mayor Dr Arshad Vohra, and other party leaders and party supporters were also present.

Talking to media men there, Waseem said “we want to serve the city without any discrimination and work for its progress and development”.

He thanked the citizens of Karachi for electing him as mayor and appealed to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to support him in solving the problems of citizens.

“I wanted to visit Mazar-e-Quaid right after taking oath as mayor and pay tribute to the founder of the country but this could not happen and “today I got this opportunity to come at the Mazar.”

Speaking on the occasion, Khawaja Izhar-ul Hassan rejected the speculations that General Pervaiz Murshrraf was likely to assume headship of MQM-P, saying that there was no vacancy of 'leadership' in his party; even if such a vacancy is created, it would be filled from the party cadres.

He however said his party’s doors were always open for everyone, including the ex-president and the ex-governor (Ishratul Ebad). He said soon some very high-placed personalities of Karachi would join MQM-Pakistan.

He congratulated the citizen on the release of Karachi mayor but added, “Today, one Waseem AKhter has been released but several others were still in the prison.” He said his party was hopeful the courts will give them justice.

Khawaja Izhar said that development of Pakistan is linked with Karachi and the port city’s elected representatives should be given powers, adding “we will approach courts if we were deprived of rights”.

To a question about joining the PPP-led government in the province, he said presently MQM-Pakistan does not intend to join the government. They would join the provincial government on one condition: that the slot of chief minister is given to MQM-P, he added.

Earlier, Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra informed the media that Waseem Akhtar, after paying visit to Mazar-e-Quaid, would pay his respect at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada graveyard and then he would visit MQM-P’s temporary office in PIB Colony. “Karachi Mayor Office is ready, we are waiting for him. Together we will restore lights to this city," he added.

Meanwhile, the workers of MQM’s London and Pakistan chapters had a face off as the Karachi mayor arrived near Shaheed-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan Chowk (once known as Mukka Chowk).

MQM-London workers raised slogans in favor of MQM founder Altaf Hussain and made efforts to stop MQM-Pakistan leaders from advancing towards Yadgar-e- Shuhada.

As the situation got worse a heavy contingent of police rushed to the site and baton-charged the workers of the two parties. The police also stopped the MQM-P rally from entering Jinnah Ground to avoid any possible clash.