HYDERABAD/ LAHORE/ KARACHI:
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has submitted applications for registration of FIRs against Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. However, the police refused to lodge any case without the approval of their legal branch.
The MQM’s move appears to be a retaliatory exercise, as a torrent of complaints has been unleashed on police stations across the country after party chief Altaf Hussain allegedly used derogatory language against the country’s armed forces and the paramilitary Rangers in his July 12 address to MQM workers. But the party’s efforts seem to have been frustrated by legal procedures.
MQM leaders and supporters in Hyderabad and Jamshoro attempted to file treason cases at six different police stations on Wednesday night.
Read: Resolving issues: MQM submits requisition to summon Sindh Assembly session
They claimed that during a recent television show, the defence minister had accused the army and the country’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of conspiring to remove the present Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.
The MQM leaders added that Asif had accused former ISI chief Shuja Pasha and some serving army officers of planning and supporting the PTI’s drawn-out Islamabad sit-in.
They also accused Imran and PTI Sindh Coordinator Arif Alvi of defaming the army as well as of inciting the attack on the Pakistan Television Corporation headquarters during the party’s sit-in.
However, police officials in both the districts have refused to register any case until they receive permission from their respective legal branches.
Terming the police’s response “discrimination”, MQM MPA Khilji said: “The police were quick to lodge FIRs against Altaf even in the cities where his speech was not heard.”
More FIRs against Altaf
The number of FIRs against the MQM chief and his party leaders has reached 15 in Karachi, as more complaints were filed against them on Thursday.
Cases were registered at the Quaidabad, Bin Qasim, Shah Latif, Sukkun and Malir police stations.
Meanwhile, another FIR was lodged against the MQM chief at the Pano Aqil police station in Sukkur district. At least 75 cases have been registered against Altaf since Monday night.
Moreover, Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi of the Lahore High Court asked a petitioner to amend his plea seeking registration of FIR against the MQM chief.
The judge asked one Abdullah Malik to make Altaf a respondent in his personal capacity by removing his name as head of a political party. Malik asked the court to direct the federal government to register an FIR against the MQM chief under treason charges.
Read: MQM leader granted protective bail for 10 days
He also requested that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority be directed to restrain all TV channels from airing Altaf’s speeches. An identical petition sought treason proceedings against the MQM chief and members of the party’s coordination committee – including Farooq Sattar, Babar Ghauri, Waseem Akhtar, Nadeem Nusrat, Atiqur Rehman, Irshad Zafeer and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2015.