KARACHI: The heat had been building up ever since the Supreme Court (SC) called for redrawing electoral constituencies in Karachi, in a bid to halt targeted killings. On Sunday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lashed out with all its fury, demanding that judges apologise for “insulting the people of Karachi”.
“It is not the judges’ job to make decisions on electoral constituencies,” said MQM chief Altaf Hussain, addressing a large gathering in the economic capital via telephone. “The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is responsible for that.”
The MQM chief asked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the special SC bench which made “irresponsible” remarks on delimiting constituencies while hearing a case on the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.
He claimed MQM’s enemies were using the apex court to wipe out his party. “This order is against democracy. Only people have the right to decide which party holds majority.”
Redrawing constituencies will not improve law and order but rather worsen it, said Altaf, adding that a similar order should have been passed for other parts of the country.
“Why don’t the judges redraw the constituencies of feudal lords, which have been demarcated according to their wishes and been under their rule for generations?” asked the MQM chief. “The judges have violated Article 25B of the Constitution which says all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law … the MQM will not let anyone infringe upon the democratic rights of the people,” he added. Altaf said that new constituencies cannot be made in any case before completion of the census.
“The Delimitation Act of 1974 says a census has to be conducted first. The SC order even violated that law,” he said, adding “no judge has the right to order ECP to stop a party from maintaining a ‘monopoly’. It is the right of the people to give their mandate to a party.”
Other party leaders said that the MQM believes it is being cornered to make way for other political forces in its stronghold of Karachi. “For us, this order is just a manifestation of some greater plan and we will resist it,” said a leader on the sidelines of the gathering.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2012.