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Karachi's new mayor comes out of prison to take oath of office

world Updated: Aug 31, 2016 01:12 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Waseem Akhtar

Waseem Akhtar gestures while speaking to members of the media after the ballot for mayor outside the Municipal Corporation Building in Karachi, Pakistan, on August 24.(Reuters File)

Karachi's newly elected mayor Waseem Akhtar took oath of office on Tuesday despite the fact that he is currently in prison. 

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader took oath despite staunch opposition from rival parties.

Waseem, a former MP who is being held at Karachi’s central prison, was brought to the city's main square, the Karachi Polo Ground amid high security to take oath of office.

The tenure of the city’s last elected mayor, Syed Mustafa Kamal, ended in February, 2010.

Family members of Waseem and MQM leader Farooq Sattar were present at the oath-taking ceremony.

MQM’s Arshad Vohra took oath as deputy mayor.

Opening his speech at the ceremony with the chants “long live Muttahida, long live Bhutto and long live Imran Khan,” Waseem thanked all institutions in the country.

“Despite the problems Karachi has been facing, I ensure that we will work together for the betterment of this city and the province,” Waseem said while urging Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to set aside all differences.

“I am currently in prison but all charges against me are fake,” the mayor said.

Waseem announced his decision to fight for justice and move a bail application in court after taking oath.

“The city of lights has suffered already, I will not let it suffer any more,” he added.

On winning the mayoral election on August 24, Waseem said, “It will be written in history because elections have never happened like this ever before.”