Redrawing constituencies: Altaf wants judges to apologise for order

Published: December 3, 2012
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"The Delimitation Act of 1974 says a census has to be conducted first. The SC order even violated that law," says Altaf. PHOTO: FILE

"The Delimitation Act of 1974 says a census has to be conducted first. The SC order even violated that law," says Altaf. PHOTO: FILE

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.

Altaf Hussain

“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.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Sindhi_Sufi
    Dec 3, 2012 - 3:30AM

    Excessive news coverage to this issue by ET. Even some anchors and media houses are up to find some faults in SC’s remarks. Gerrymandering and unfair delimitation is against the fundamental rights of voters, all democratic forces, civil society and media should support this move of SC and ECP. Media houses should stop being spokes-person of those who are resisting this fair and democratic move.

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  • Bial
    Dec 3, 2012 - 4:17AM

    As a matter of fact, Altaf Bhai is right!

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  • Hairaan
    Dec 3, 2012 - 7:07AM

    Pakistan must call UK High Commissioner to foreign office and protest against the interference of their citizen in our internal affairs.

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  • Nadia
    Dec 3, 2012 - 7:43AM

    Don’t you guys think judges are pushing it now. It ws fine at the beginning but now it’s getting too much, it’s actually making me laugh.

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  • Baby ka Husband
    Dec 3, 2012 - 8:12AM

    This man has gone Ga-Ga

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  • Dec 3, 2012 - 8:38AM

    Oh yes, he is right. The people have the right to elect their representatives and elect those people who do a practical good for the benefit of the citizens.
    Altaf is precise when he says the Supreme Court should go after the demarcation and redrawing of the land held by the feudal lords, who enjoy the facilities of Pakistan, more than full.
    Why does the Supreme Court NOT take suo moto notice of the five landlords who raped a girl in Punjab? Furthermore, the judge can tell Punjab government to arrest the rapists in twenty-four hours, maximum, and then apply the full force of the law ASAP.
    Salams

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  • Wali
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:37AM

    R u serious Altaf Bhai?

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  • omer
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:41AM

    Since when is judiciary allowed to make political comments? Also, if one party is not allowed to dominate a constituency, then one feudal family should also not be allowed to dominate a constituency. Maybe, political parties should also not be allowed to be dominated by particular families.

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  • Kamran Naqvi
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:44AM

    Does he want to repeat the episode of 12th May 2007?

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  • Dec 3, 2012 - 9:50AM

    Suo Moto Pls, for this provocative statement.
    But, wait a minute, Suo Moto can’t be revoked on a foreign national, I guess. Isn’t it??

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:53AM

    Boo Hoo

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  • Faisal
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:54AM

    Altaf warned the Establishment, including the judges….”Do you want the chants of azadi to start in Karachi?” This is a very dangerous development. I think the Establishment and the judges need to back off. The MQM is an extremely powerful party with military style street power, and a strong international support base.

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  • Sameer
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:56AM

    This Time Mr Hussain is 100% right.

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  • confused
    Dec 3, 2012 - 9:58AM

    how can you draw new constituencies without a census? PCO judges are making a mockery of justice. Their anti-Karachi and pro-Raiwind behavior is too obvious

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  • Omer
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:03AM

    @Sindhi_Sufi:
    Why karachi only?
    You should wait for the census. After the census delimitation will be in order. And then it will be revealed that Mohajirs and Pashtuns combined make the majority in the province sindh. With Karachi having more seats than Rural Sindh, it will not be in your best interests, so you may not like MQM but in reality it is also fighting your war.

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  • Kathy
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:26AM

    Judges of Pakistani courts have absolutely no right, however a UK citizen can sit in London and be a power broker and has a say in everything that goes in Karachi – that is Pakistan.

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  • Nadia
    Dec 3, 2012 - 10:51AM

    They should either change the law on dual citizenship that no Pak citizens should be allowed to keep dual nationality. They can not have two seperate laws for the rulers and normal citizens!

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  • Shariq
    Dec 3, 2012 - 1:46PM

    Doesnt matter what or how constituencies are deliminated, MQM will win all seats of Karachi in next elections. No one can stop MQM.

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 3, 2012 - 1:48PM

    @Faisal: are you saying that we surrender

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  • Mon Amour
    Dec 3, 2012 - 3:09PM

    Why this dismembrance …oops demarcation , is so good , is not for Lahore ,or Pehsawar ???

    Anybody ??????? All hail MQM .

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  • observer (UK)
    Dec 3, 2012 - 4:50PM

    Hello moderators. Why do you single out my comment??

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  • Karachities
    Dec 3, 2012 - 8:29PM

    all who are in favor of MQM, only vote because of ethnic relationship and nothing, what MQM given to people of Karachi is Target killing and bhatta culture. When things go in favor of MQM, all is well, and when things seems against them, they cries. double stand MQM will lose inshaAllah

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  • Pakistan
    Dec 4, 2012 - 12:06AM

    People like talking non sense and degrade themselves with little help of their stupidity. The sovereignty of Pakistan lies in Democracy. After accepting this fact democracy works in compliance with the country’s constitution. If someone is having issues to what Altaf Hussain said should go to court! On the other it will be near to impossible to reshape constituencies with this city unless the population wants it to be. We are very sorry for the supporters and well wishers of Army and establishment who have created diverted mindsets among naive people therefore manipulating them for their own benefit. It’s a shame! Karachi remains for Karachiites, its their generous attitude and brought in cultural attributes which have made Karachi an economic Hub of the country. The people who have contributed for this city are the reason of the birth of Pakistan. Please correct the ambiguity Pakistan is not a gift for feudal tribesmen which is awarded by some corrupt east India company’s governor for large scale betrayal as it used to be in the pre 1947 era. It’s a sovereign state. Learn to live with this truthRecommend

  • Pakistan
    Dec 4, 2012 - 12:13AM

    @Karachities:
    It is the only way people of Pakistan vote in their constituencies. Various examples are found in rural areas of punjaab and lahore is always been a stronghold of PMLN due to ethnic powers. Peshawar has always been for ANP my friend. Ure still too naive to argue. Do u not live in Pakistan? It’s an ethnic divide since it was made.

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