LHC’s media ban on Altaf challenged by MQM in SC

LAHORE:The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) challenged on Monday the Lahore High Court (LHC) order that banned broadcast of speeches and images of Altaf Hussain on media.“Can the court pass directions to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) without giving it an opportunity to receive and hear the complaint of the petitioners?” the appeal filed by lawyer Asma Jahangir along with three senior counsels on behalf of Altaf and Farooq Sattar in the Supreme Court (SC) asked.

Jahangir argued that the high court order was neither reasonable, nor balanced, and the restrictions were disproportionate to the alleged offence committed by founder of the MQM.The LHC on September 7 had banned the live broadcast of speeches and images of the MQM chief. It also directed PEMRA and the additional attorney general to implement the ban across all electronic and print media.

The petition requested the apex court to suspend the high court order, as it was passed without deciding on the question of maintainability of the writ petition.The full court of LHC on September 7 had without any notice to the petitioner, and the MQM leaders passed the order that, “…there is sufficient material available on the record to issue direction to the chairman PEMRA to completely blackout the activities of Altaf Hussain, including hatred speeches, any news regarding his activities, as well as, display of his picture on electronic media.”

The petition says the LHC order is a violation of Article 19 of Constitution, as it is not balanced and is hastily concluded without a fair trial.


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