Back into offensive mode


MQM at it again


After lying low for nearly two years, the MQM has reverted to an all too familiar offensive mode once again. The outstanding success in local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad has encouraged the party to confront the government. The MQM demands lifting of curbs on Altaf Hussain’s projection in media and empowering the elected Mayor to appoint Chairman Water and Sewerage Board. The curbs on the party leader’s statements and speeches were imposed following a Lahore High Court verdict and the reduction in powers of the Mayors was enforced through the new Local Government law passed by Sindh Assembly.

The ban imposed by a full bench of LHC can only be removed by Supreme Court. That MQM declined to take the legal course despite having capable lawyers in its fold suggests that its case is week. Article 19 of the Constitution provides the right of free speech with clearly spelt out conditions. The LHC had observed that there was sufficient material on record to order a complete blackout of the activities of Altaf Hussain, including speeches, statements and display of his picture on the electronic media. Neither the provincial nor federal government can remove the ban on its own. Similarly, Sindh Assembly alone can make changes in the LG law. Alternately, the matter can be taken to the court to determine the constitutionality of the provision under Article 140A. It is intriguing that MQM has declined to take the course despite having a strong case.

The MQM protested on Monday and Tuesday in Sindh Assembly. It also held demonstrations at about a dozen places in Karachi, warning that these would spread to other cities and would be followed by sit-ins and strikes if the demands were not met. There is a need on the part of the provincial and federal governments to enter into talks with MQM to find an amicable solution in consonance with the constitution. The MQM too should realise that recourse to lawlessness does not suit the country.


  1. Aadat badal sakti hai, fitrat nahin ! Even if they have been asked to change name of their Units and Sections.

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