LHC bans live telecast of Altaf Hussain’s speeches

LAHORE – A full bench of Lahore High Court on Monday imposed a ban on live telecast of anti-state speeches of London-based Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain.

The bench directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to ensure strict implementation of its orders and sought reports from the secretaries of interior, Cabinet Division and record of Altaf’s speeches and his nationalities by September 7. The bench summoned additional attorney general and Punjab advocate general on the next hearing of the case. The bench, which consisted of Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu and Justice Erum Sajad Gull, passed the orders while hearing three identical petitions filed by Malik Maqsood Ahmad Awan, Aftab Ahmad Virk and Abdullah Malik for proceedings against Altaf Hussain under Article 6 of the constitution.

The petitioners submitted that Altaf’s speeches were tantamount to treason, as they were not only anti-Pakistan but anti-armed forces as well. They pleaded the court issue directions for proceedings against the MQM chief under Article 6 of the constitution. They also called for action against MQM Rabta Committee members and parliamentarians under articles 62 and 63 of the constitution. Workers and supporters of MQM had on August 21 gathered in front of Karachi Press Club to protest against PEMRA for allegedly imposing an unannounced ban on airing of Altaf’s speeches on television channels. Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar had said that the PEMRA ban on Altaf’s speeches was unjust. He claimed that the freedom of expression was being blocked in Karachi, as authorities are not willing to tolerate voices of dissent.

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