Lahore: A Pakistani court here today banned the broadcast of speeches and images of Altaf Hussain in the electronic and print media on a petition which alleged the self-exiled MQM chief had committed treason.
A three-member bench of Lahore High Court headed by Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi ordered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the additional attorney-general to implement the ban in letter and spirit.
The petitioners - advocate Aftab Virk, advocate Abdullah Malik and others - pleaded before the court that Hussain had committed treason making "anti-army and anti-rangers" remarks.
They also sought a "lifetime" ban on the live telecast of Hussain's speeches from the UK, saying he had violated Article 5 of the Constitution which demands showing loyalty to the state and obedience to the Constitution.
They pleaded that a case of treason should be registered against Hussain under Article 6.
The petitioners said Hussain was a British national and no foreign citizen could head a political party in Pakistan under the Political Parties Act.
"He has no right to deliver speeches on television channels in Pakistan," they had pleaded.
The court banned the broadcast of speeches and images of Hussain and adjourned the hearing till September 18.
Hussain, 61, has lived in self-exile in the UK since 1992 claiming his life is under threat in Pakistan.
Reacting sharply to the court's action against its chief, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced a countrywide protest against the decision.
Dozens of cases have been registered against Hussain in different police stations of the country for his "anti-army" remarks and for allegedly seeking help from Indian spy agency RAW.
The MQM, which traditionally represents the descendents of Urdu-speakers who migrated from India after the creation of Pakistan in 1947, has remained the single largest party in Karachi, the country's economic hub and biggest city, for the last three decades and has swept all general elections held in this period.