ISLAMABAD - The top court yesterday disposed of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s application against a high court order to ban speeches of Altaf Hussain on media.

The MQM and the petitioners before the Lahore High Court have been directed to approach the LHC for decision on banning Altaf Hussain’s speeches.

The LHC on September 7 had directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and the federation to implement complete ban on the broadcast of images and speeches of the MQM chief across all electronic and print media.

The MQM had challenged that order in the Supreme Court, which disposed it of yesterday.

The MQM in its application asked the apex court to declare the LHC decision null and void as the verdict handed out is unjust as it was passed without hearing the counsels of the other party.

Justice Ejaz Afzal, heading a two-judge bench, which heard the petition against LHC order, questioned whether the LHC order on the issue was interim?

Additional Attorney General Waqar Rana replied as it is stated that the order (September 7) was for 15 days is incorrect. He said the SHC order to put General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s name on ECL due to the high treason case was interim but the Supreme Court had upheld it, so it became permanent.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked whether the federation is opposing the MQM application to end the ban on Altaf speeches. The AAG did not reply.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, representing the two lawyers, who had filed the petition against Altaf Hussain in LHC, informed the bench that the MQM had already filed an application before the LHC for vacating the September 7 order.

Lawyers Abdullah Malik and Aftab Virk have filed petitions in LHC for lifetime ban on Altaf Hussain’s speeches. They said Altaf and MQM’s Rabita Committee members have been delivering speeches against the state and the Pakistan military, and asked the court to order the government to try Hussain for high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution.

Justice Qazi said that freedom of expression did not mean that people start saying anything against the state institutions.

Asma Jahangir, representing the MQM, said: “We are not stopping anyone from banning hate speeches, but the media had blacked out Altaf Hussain activities.”

After the proceedings, Asma while talking to media said if the additional attorney general in the court says it was a high treason case then the government should file a case against Altaf Hussain under Article 6 of the Constitution.

“It seems to me that there are two governments. The counsel of one government is saying something else, while other government’s lawyer is saying other thing,” she said.

Asma said if the AAG had stated before the apex court without instruction then the government should take action against him.