Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan with more than 20 million people has elected a new mayor who is serving prison time and says will run the city from behind bars.
Waseem Akhtar, a former lawmaker, was elected on Wednesday as the mayor of the city while in Karachi’s central prison where he has been held for over month.
“Akhtar was arrested in July on charges of aiding alleged militants and criminals by providing them with shelter and medical treatment. Akhtar also faced previous charges of provoking riots in May 2007 that shook Karachi. If convicted, he is unlikely to be released from prison for several years.” Says the report by Quartz
Akhatar was fronted by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a political party that has ruled the city for decades. MQM is known to operate a controversial militant wing. Akhatar’s arrest is part of a military led crackdown on political corruption and violence in the city according to Quartz.
The newly elected mayor has vowed to run richest city in Pakistan from his prison cell, saying he will ask for permission to open an office in jail and make ‘new rules’ so that people could access him according to t report by Reuters. He will use video link for the whole five year term if necessary to run the city from incarceration.
“There is no meeting hall in jail which is big enough for the entire municipality to meet… The arrangements could become awkward for jail officials. I suspect the new mayor may have to authorize his deputy mayor to preside over some of the meetings.” a Pakistani government official told the Financial Times.
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