Saleem Shahzad sought permission to go abroad for treatment

KARACHI: An anti terrorism court allowed on Wednesday former Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Saleem Shahzad, a co-accused in a case registered against Pakistan Peoples Party leader Dr Asim Hussain, to leave the country for medical treatment abroad.

Granting his application for travelling abroad, the court asked him to furnish a surety to the tune of Rs2 million.

Mr Shahzad, who was arrested at Karachi airport upon his return to Pakistan, was named co-accused in a case related to providing treatment and shelter to alleged terrorists.

He returned to the country after living abroad for 24 years.

During the hearing, Mr Shahzad requested the court to allow him to travel abroad as he was fighting cancer.

He informed the court that he had earlier undergoing treatment in London.

Earlier an antiterrorism court granted bail to the former MQM leader in a terrorism facilitation case against a surety of Rs500,000.

However, the ATC had kept Mr Shahzad’s British passport with it to restrict his movement out of the country during the trial.

According to the prosecution, Shahzad, when with the MQM, had facilitated treatment of suspected terrorists wounded in clashes with law enforcers at Ziauddin Hospitals in Clifton and North Nazimabad.

Other politicians — Wasim Akhtar and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Qadir Patel, Pak Sarzameen Party’s Anis Kaimkhani, and Pasban-i-Pakistan’s Usman Moazzam — are also implicated in the case.

The group of hospitals was run by former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain.

The case was registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act in November, 2015, at the North Nazimabad police station on the complaint of Rangers. All suspects have obtained bail from courts. Later, the police arrested him in three other criminal cases registered by the Landhi and Malir police in 1992.

The cases pertained to the murder of an activist of rival Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi, Shoaibullah, attack on a brother of MQM-H chairman Afaq Ahmed and attack on the house of former MPA Mohammed Iqbal Qureshi. He has obtained bail in all cases.

Mr Shahzad remained associated with the MQM since its inception as a student organisation in 1978 until he was removed from the Coordination Committee in London in 2013. He was later expelled from the party.

Meanwhile, an ATC put off the hearing of two hate-speech cases registered against chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Dr Farooq Sattar, Mayor Wasim Akhtar and others.

The court fixed July 8 for the next hearing of the cases registered by the Sohrab Goth police on the complaints of private persons. The complainants in the cases stated that MQM chief Altaf Hussain had criticised the government and the country’s security agencies, and his slanderous remarks hurt their feelings.

They also alleged that the MQM chief had conspired and instigated his workers against the security agencies.

Mr Hussain had delivered a speech accusing the paramilitary force of torturing and killing his party workers.