Though the apex court was justified in serving the contempt of court notice to the MQM leader Altaf Hussain, yet it should have taken stock of the potential problem this could create and given him the option to respond to the notice either in person or through an attorney, instead of asking him to appear physically in the court on January 7, 2012.

It was common knowledge that he would never appear in person before the court. As a matter of fact he cannot risk his being arrested by coming to Pakistan for the various heinous crimes still pending against him. He has to, therefore, find ways and means, excuses- legal or political not to appear before the court.

His maneuvering has been projected by his followers as yet another measure of defiance on his part and has made him a taller hero, defying the law. The MQM agitators have already started working in that direction and are calling issuance of such a notice not only an insult to Altaf Hussain, but to the ‘millions’ of his followers! The nature of the oratory and the kind of body language that some of its leaders are using to incite the already incensed Muhajirs and threatening the apex court by thronging it in millions on of January 7, 2013 is tantamount to challenging the authority of the courts and their orders to say the least.

This is an outright highhandedness and a mafia like approach to pressurize the higher judiciary and flout its orders. Such a situation has placed the govt. and the judiciary in a dilemma of ‘to do or not to do’. If they yield to the mafia then it will encourage further lawlessness in the country, especially among the militants – MQM - and the extremists. On the other hand if they take action to enforce implementation of their orders it would give rise to an open confrontation. Neither is good for the country and the people. However, if a choice had to be made between the two, it would have to be to enforce the rule of law. The judiciary and its orders must be upheld at all costs otherwise it would tantamount to rebellion.

COL RIAZ JAFRI (R),

Rawalpindi, December 17.