LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday banned the live telecast of MQM Chief Altaf Hussain’s speeches on TV channels till further orders.
The court also issued notices to the foreign secretary, interior secretary and secretary to the prime minister, seeking details of Altaf Hussain’s nationality.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi and comprising Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu and Justice Erum Sajjad Gul, heard a petition seeking proceedings against MQM chief Altaf Hussain and other leaders of the party for alleged treason.
The petition, filed by advocates Abdullah Malik, Aftab Virk, Maqsood and others, called for a lifetime ban on live telecast of Altaf Hussain’s speeches.
The petition maintained that Altaf was in violation of Article 5 which asks for showing loyalty to the state and obedience to the constitution. Hence a case of treason should be registered against the him under Article 6 of the PPC.
They claimed that interior and information ministries had failed to initiate action against the MQM leader, despite his derogatory remarks against the state and its armed forces.
The court also sought record of Altaf’s past speeches from the additional advocate general (AAG) and the advocate general of Punjab. The hearing was subsequently adjourned till September 7.
Workers and supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement on August 21 had gathered in front of the Karachi Press Club to protest against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for allegedly imposing an unannounced ban on airing Altaf Hussain’s speeches on television channels.
Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar had said that the Pemra ban on Mr Hussain’s speeches was unjust. The freedom of expression was being blocked in Karachi as authorities were not willing to tolerate voices of dissent, he had added.
In July, FIRs were registered in different parts of the country against Altaf Hussain for remarks made by him against the chief of Rangers in Sindh and the paramilitary force in recent speeches. In the FIRs, Hussain was accused of involvement in cases of criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting or abetting the waging of war against Pakistan and committing acts of terrorism.
In April, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General Asim Bajwa had said that earlier statements made by the MQM chief regarding the Pakistan Army would be legally pursued.