Delimitation fallout: Apex court serves contempt notice on MQM chief

Published: December 15, 2012
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During his telephonic speech on December 2, Altaf questioned the apex court’s recent judgment on the redrawing of constituencies in Karachi before the general elections.
PHOTO: FILE

During his telephonic speech on December 2, Altaf questioned the apex court’s recent judgment on the redrawing of constituencies in Karachi before the general elections. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief had asked the chief justice to take notice — and the chief justice did.

Except the notice taken was against Altaf Hussain himself, who on Friday was sent a contempt of court notice for his statements against the judiciary regarding fresh delimitations in Karachi, and ordered to appear before the court on January 7. The MQM chief has been in self-imposed exile for two decades.

Altaf had made no secret of his displeasure at an apex court order regarding fresh delimitations in Karachi, particularly in a telephonic speech on December 2 – but he may have overstepped the line. Altaf had even asked the chief justice and the president to take action against one particular judge for his remarks regarding the political situation in Karachi, a city that the MQM has controlled almost exclusively for close to three decades.

A three-member apex court bench issued notices to Altaf on Friday for using contemptuous language against the judiciary – and told the party leader to appear in person on January 7.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which was presented the scripted contents of an address by the MQM chief on December 2 by the court registrar, termed the remarks tantamount to interference and obstruction of the process of the court, and threatening judges.

The bench, which also comprises Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, directed that notices be served to Altaf through the foreign ministry secretary and the MQM deputy convener, Farooq Sattar.

During his telephonic speech on December 2, Altaf questioned the apex court’s recent judgment on the redrawing of constituencies in Karachi before the general elections.

According to the script provided to the court, the MQM chief made allegations that certain Supreme Court judges were bent on ‘wiping out’ his party, adding that such judges will face ‘divine wrath’.

The bench

Altaf also referred to other remarks made by judges during several hearings on the Karachi law and order situation. He said that constitutional action should be taken against judges who made such comments.

Without naming one particular judge, Altaf termed his remarks unconstitutional and tantamount to contempt of the mandate given by the people of Karachi. He also said the remarks expressed ‘an open enmity’ towards the city’s population.

Court order

The chief justice in his Friday order said that the MQM leader’s remarks were “tantamount to interference with and obstruction of the process of the court by advancing threats to the honourable judges of Supreme Court and it also tended to bring the judges into hatred, ridicule and contempt.”

Besides issuing contempt orders against Altaf, the court also directed the Sindh chief secretary to explain why killings in Karachi have increased and what measures have been taken for the protection of life and property of the citizens. The court ordered that this matter be dealt with separately.

In October last year, the apex court directed the election authorities to conduct delimitation of constituencies in the city. On November 28, 2012, the court repeated this order and also asked the ECP to verify voters’ lists in Karachi.

With the exception of the MQM, all parties hailed the judgment. The last time delimitations were carried out in Sindh was in 2002, on the basis of the 1998 census, by then military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.

The court has said that the current delimitations initiated in 2002 are based on ethnic grounds and should be abolished. The court had also observed that delimitation should not allow for any particular party to have a monopoly.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • liberal_pak
    Dec 15, 2012 - 4:43AM

    In past, law was only a tool in the hands of powerful people to be exercised on poor, and powerful people always get Scot free from any accountability. With rise of genuine supreme court, people are seeing justice across the board. Now, No one is above the law, in recent past PM Gilani lost his PMship, if PM can be hold accountable why not Altaf Bhai??? Accountability is same for every one. We hope that as SC never bow down before pressure and threats of intimidation in past, it wont this time too. And Its indeed a historic moment that rule of law and justice is being done across the board.

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  • Bilal
    Dec 15, 2012 - 11:15AM

    How can we have delimition without new census? And why only in Karachi. Btw Lahore population has also significantly increase since last census.

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  • Dec 15, 2012 - 12:52PM

    The most law-abiding citizen of Europe and Pakistan — The Great Altaf Hussain.

    Trust me, Bhai will take the first flight back home and face the courts.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 15, 2012 - 2:50PM

    It is very unfortunate that Mr. Altaf Hussain does not have the right kind of advisors around him in London.

    Had I been one of this top advisor as close as Anno Bhai, I would have not suggested him to deliver such a kind of speech which has become contemp of court.

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  • Abrar Jan
    Dec 15, 2012 - 9:56PM

    @Please listen: Bhai will never come back here. Bhai is on someone else’s payroll now. Beside, He has sworn on the allegiance to the Union jack already. yet, he think he has the right to dictate what should happen in Pakistan. These clowns are only found in Pakistani Politics. Show me a single country in the world where such Phenomenon occur?

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: Bhai is smarter than you thin. Bhai Know well who should be his adviser. He has foreign advisers. He deliberately challenged the Supreme court or the Highest Lawful Governing Body of the State on someone’s advice from outside. Bhai knows it well that He will never come to Pakistan and He can still challenge State of Pakistan on someone else’s behalf. Bhai no more serves Pakistanis. There should be No doubt about it. A leader who fears his life and can not lead from the front , should cease to exist as leader. Unfortunately BHAI, like Mujeeb-ur-Rehman is sitting in someone’s lap and dictation and conspiring against the State of Pakistan. Nation must open its eyes. If not, then Bhai should take the flight back home and present himself on January 7,2013 in the supreme Court as a law Abiding citizen. Why rule should apply on any other Pakistani BUT not on BHAI? That tells all.

    @Bilal: How can we have delimition without new census? And why only in Karachi. Btw Lahore population has also significantly increase since last census.

    1) Exactly in the same manner as for the last 25 years party is getting elected on the voter list whose 45% voters are fake. Now apply the same rule here or declare party rule illegal. Have to chose one of those. Both sides of coin isn’t yours.

    2) In the same manner the Biggest criminal and Money launderer is the President of Pakistan today.If he can become President and 8500 others can get the clean chit then, delimitation can also happen . Otherwise declare the rule of these criminal illegal and they should end up in jail for unlawful rule and looting national treasury for 5 year. This is how and why it should be done.

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