ISLAMABAD: A private citizen approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday with a plea to order the federal government to declare the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) a “terrorist organisation”.

Filed by Advocate Tariq Asad, chairman of the National Council of Human Rights, the petition requests the court to summon relevant record from the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, intelligence agencies and the provincial government.

“And if the apex court is satisfied that the material and evidence are sufficient to establish that the MQM is involved in terrorist activities, it may direct the federal government to make such a declaration,” it says.

The declaration, the petition says, could be issued through a notification in the Official Gazette under Article 15(1) of the Political Parties Order 2002.

The petition has been filed against the backdrop of Aug 22 diatribe by the MQM’s beleaguered leader Altaf Hussain in which he had termed the creation of Pakistan an erroneous act of his forefathers and had incited MQM workers to break up the country. In another telephonic speech, the MQM supremo had invited India, Israel and the US to help his party in accomplishing the task.

The petition also asks whether Mr Hussain’s remarks against the creation and existence of Pakistan, saying that “Pakistan is a cancer and an epicentre of terrorism” and inciting MQM workers to resort to violence do not amount to treason.

It also asks whether or not inciting MQM workers to attack and destroy televisions channels amounts to infringement of the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression and freedom of the press guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2016