Prominent legal luminary, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan on Wednesday excused himself from representing Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s chief Altaf Hussain in the contempt of court notice against him.

Speaking to media persons, Ahsan said he could not take the case due to the fact that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was on the bench hearing the notice. He said according to his pledge during the movement for the restoration of judges, he had promised not to appear before the bench headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

He said an MQM leader had asked him to represent Altaf Hussain in the case.

Mr Aitzaz Ahsan said he represented former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in the supreme court but did not charge any fee.

He said the chief justice should not cancel his trip to Karachi due to security issues, adding that, if Chief Justice Iftikhar did not make the visit, it may give the MQM chief the justification not to come to Pakistan.

The MQM chief could say that if the chief justice did not have enough security, how could Hussain come to Pakistan from the United Kingdom, Ahsan said.

On Dec 14, the Supreme Court had asked the MQM chief to appear before it in person and explain why he should not be charged for contempt over “his contemptuous assertions against the judiciary”.

In a telephonic address from London to a gathering in Karachi on Dec 2, Hussain had criticised the judiciary and said that judges of the apex court should apologise for their remarks on delimitation of Karachi’s constituencies or face the consequences.