The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Tuesday held what they termed “peaceful demonstrations” against the media blackout on party chief Altaf Hussain’s statements and images following a Lahore High Court order.
While traffic jams were expected, the situation on Karachi’s roads remained under control with no reports of major traffic congestions due to the protest.
MQM legislators staged a walkout from the Sindh Assembly session on Monday over the speaker’s refusal to allow them to table a resolution demanding the federal government lift the ban on the telecast of Altaf Hussain’s statements and speeches.
Muhammad Hussain Khan of the MQM, who sought permission to move a motion for the resolution in the assembly, warned during the session that millions of Altaf followers in Karachi had started staging demonstrations and the protest would spread to other cities as well, followed by rallies and strikes if the ban was not lifted.
Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani however, said, “The issue is sub judice. If taken up it will create problems.”
The Lahore High Court on Sept 7, 2015, ordered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) to ensure a complete blackout of all activities of MQM chief Altaf Hussain in both electronic and print media after petitions filed with the court sought a ban on the MQM supremo’s speeches for his alleged remarks against state institutions, including the army and Rangers.
The petitioners were of the view that Altaf’s remarks were in violation of Article 5 which asks for showing loyalty to the state and obedience to the constitution, and that a case of treason should be registered against him.
The court observed that there was sufficient material on record to order a complete blackout on the activities of Altaf Hussain.