ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Friday issued a contempt notice to MQM chief Altaf Hussain for using contemptuous and derogatory language against the judiciary in his Dec 2 speech, asking him to appear in person to explain his position.

Altaf Hussain, in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment on law and order situation in Karachi that also included the delimitation of new constituencies in Karachi, while addressing a public gathering through telephone criticised the judiciary by making uncalled for remarks and casting serious doubts on the integrity of apex court judges, the court observed.

He termed the judges’ observations ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘undemocratic’ and that they amounted to contempt to the MQM mandate given by the people of Karachi and presented an ‘open enmity’ for the metropolitan. The MQM chief also demanded legal action against the judges who delivered the verdict.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry issued the notice under article 204 of the constitution read with section 3 of Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003, asking Altaf to appear on January 7, 2013 to explain as to why the contempt proceeding should not be initiated against him for undermining and criticising the apex court judges.

According to section 3 of the contempt ordinance, “… whoever does anything which is intended to or tends to bring the authority of a court or the administration of law into disrespect or disrepute …is said to commit ‘contempt of court’.”

Heading a three-member bench, including Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, the chief justice said the speech of Altaf is uncalled for and derogatory. “Do we stop performing our duties?”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary has been directed to locate the exact place from where the speech was made and through foreign mission deliver the notice to Altaf Hussain in London and that one notice should be served to MQM leader through MQM convener Farooq Sattar.

The Supreme Court in its September 13 decision in the suo moto case on the law and order situation in Karachi also suggested, in paragraph 131 of the 132-para judgment, redrawing administrative boundaries (police stations, revenue estates, etc) and delimiting electoral constituencies as one of the solutions “to avoid political polarisation and to break the cycle of ethnic strife and turf war”.

When the directions, contained in the judgment were not implemented the court then constituted a bench for the implementation of its judgment. The bench conducted its hearing in Karachi and on the last date of hearing passed an interim order for the delimitation of the constituencies.

In Friday’s hearing the implementation bench, in Senator Haji Adeel’s petition, also issued notices to Karachi administration and Sindh chief secretary. In the notice to Sindh chief secretary, issued under section 5 of Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 read with article 204 of the constitution, he has been asked to appear before the court and explain that why contempt proceeding should be initiated against him for failing to implement the SC judgment.

Sindh advocate general was directed to submit the comprehensive report on the compliance of judgment directions wise. He should pinpoint persons, individually and collectively, responsible for not implementing the judgment, the court said. The provincial government through its chief secretary should also furnish a statement as to why the killing in Karachi has again increased and what measures have been taken to ensure safety of the citizens in Karachi. The bench also sought details of citizens, killed from 13-9-2011 to date, and adjourned hearing until January.

The SC Registrar Office had drawn the court attention towards the substance of the speech delivered by Altaf Hussain through a note placed before the bench. The court after going through the extract from the speech, considered it tantamount to interference with and obstruction to the court process by advancing threats to the judges and that it also tended to bring the judges into hatred, ridicule and contempt. The court also observed that on account of such assertions, the process of the court was also likely to be prejudiced, relating to implementation of the issues arising out of the directions of the court in Watan Party’s case and subsequent orders dated 1-11-2012, 26-11-2012, 28-11-2012 etc. passed for the implementation of the directions issued in the reported judgment.

The Pemra was directed to submit the transcript of the relevant parts/portion of the speech. According to the order, the court in Wattan Party case issued number of directions inter alia the delimitation of constituencies in Karachi. The court noted none of the parties filed review petition against the order.