Delay in govt action against Altaf LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday took exception to a delay by the federal government in taking action against the MQM’s London-based chief in the wake of his anti-state speeches.
Hearing multiple petitions against Altaf Hussain and for the cancellation of his party’s registration, a full bench chided an interior ministry official for submitting a ‘vague’ report on the action being taken against the MQM and its chief.
Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi heads the bench with Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu and Justice Erum Sajjad Gull as its members.
Standing Counsel Hina Hafeezullah, appearing on behalf of the government, said that the matter regarding cancellation of the MQM’s registration was under consideration.
However, she failed to come up with a satisfactory response when asked by the bench at what stage the government’s actions were. She said Rangers had taken a series of actions after the anti-state speech of Mr Hussain and the party had also dissociated itself from its chief.
The bench asked whether the actions taken by Rangers had fulfilled the constitutional obligation of the government. Justice Naqvi pointed out that Article 17(2) of the Constitution required the federal government to refer the matter to the Supreme Court within 15 days after issuing a declaration against a party found operating against the sovereignty or integrity of the country. “Had the government taken strict action after May 2015 speech of the MQM chief, the situation would not have worsened,” he observed.
The standing counsel said the Election Commission of Pakistan was the appropriate forum to decide about the cancellation of a political party’s registration and the government had been pondering over the option.
The judge also disapproved a report presented by a section officer of the interior ministry and termed it a non-serious effort. He censured the law officer for seeking more time at each hearing to submit the government’s reply.
The petitioners’ counsel requested the bench to summon the record of the interior ministry, alleging that the authorities had been misleading the judges. The bench turned down the standing counsel’s request for more time and summoned the attorney general for the next hearing on Oct 17.