The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday sought replies from the federal government and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) about the implementation of ban put on the live broadcast of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain’s speeches.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Anwarul Haq, heard several petitions seeking implementation of the ban on live broadcast of MQM supremo’s speeches and his party leaders. The bench also directed the interior ministry to submit report about the nationality of Altaf Hussain.
Some members of civil society and lawyers had filed petitions against the founding leader of the Karachi-based party after he spoke against the state and its security agencies in violation of the Article 5 of the Constitution.
The petitioners argued that Altaf, being a British national and a foreigner, cannot become head of a political party as per law, adding that he had no right to deliver speeches live on local television channels.
They pointed out that the MQM chief also committed violation of Article 243, 244 and 245 and Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution and showed his support to the anti-state powers in his speeches.
They informed the bench that they also approached the Prime Minister Office and ministry of interior but no action was taken against MQM leaders.
The petitioners requested the court to put a ban on the speeches of Altaf and his party leaders including Babar Ghauri, Farooq Sattar, Nadeem Nusrat, Ateequr Rehman, Irshad Zafar and Khalid Maqbool on local TV channels.
They prayed the court to order the authorities to implement the ban.
A law officer, however, told the bench that Pemra has already put a ban on the live coverage of Altaf’s speeches.
At this, the bench sought replies from the federal government and Pemra about the implementation of the ban.
The bench directed Attorney General of Pakistan and Advocate General Punjab to assist the court on next hearing. The court adjourned until September 7.
Observing black day
The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has announced it will observe black day on Tuesday (today) against the targeted killing of lawyers, saying the lawyers are being murdered but the government was playing the role of a silent spectator.
Pir Masood Chishti, president LHCBA, was addressing a general house where barrister Ahmed Qayum, general secretary LHCBA, and other representatives were also present.
Pir Masood said that advocate Syed Ameer Haider Shah was murdered in Karachi, claiming the lawyers are being gunned down every day.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2015.