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DailyTimes Editorial: An illogical verdict

DailyTimes Editorial: An illogical verdict
 Posted on: 10/14/2015
The 81 year prison sentence awarded to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Gilgit is illogical, cryptic and unreasonable according to the basic principles of jurisprudence. Besides the jail term that is supposed to be served concurrently under various charges, the court has imposed a fine of Rs 2.4 million on Altaf Hussain and directed the Sindh Inspector General of police to produce him before the court. The court has also ordered the authorities concerned to confiscate Altaf’s properties and hold those for auction. At least 15 cases were registered against Altaf Hussain in different police stations of Gilgit-Baltistan on charges of treason, incitement to violence and speeches against the state and armed forces.
The indictment of the MQM chief and the implementation of the verdict remain questionable and unexplained. First, it seems superfluous that cases against Altaf Hussain have been filed by the residents of a region who have least concern about politics in Karachi. The ground realities indicate an orchestrated campaign against the MQM chief. Even if the cases are the result of genuine concerns, how can the court have its order implemented? Is it within the purview of the court to award such a sentence to a ‘foreigner’? Altaf Hussain has been a British nationality holder and living there for so many years. Pakistani courts cannot indict him so long as he is living in the UK. There is no extradition treaty between the UK and Pakistan governments about the exchange of criminals. By pronouncing this verdict, the court invites the risk of mirth rather than being taken seriously.
Second, the proceedings have been initiated and the decision has been made in a hasty manner. The same ATC should also have shown such haste in cases related to the extrajudicial killings in Karachi and confinement of persons by the law enforcement agencies without any proof or charge. There are other politicians who spoke against the armed forces like Asif Zardari, Khawaja Asif and Mashhoodullah Khan, but no action has been taken against them on these grounds. Whatever Altaf Hussain has said against the law enforcement agencies and the state is unfortunate. But our courts should not take decisions that are beyond logic and cannot be implemented in letter or spirit. By making such decisions, the courts only invite unnecessary criticism. *

10/25/2016 9:16:36 PM