Supreme Court has no authority to say that delimitations should be done so that no party has a monopoly
The Founder and Leader of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Mr Altaf Hussain has said that the remarks made by a certain judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan during the hearing of Karachi Lawlessness case, and reported in a print and electronic media to the effect that delimitation of constituencies should be done in Karachi in such a manner that there was no monopoly of a single party, were totally unconstitutional, undemocratic and prejudicial. These remarks betray open enmity against Karachi.
He said that the full bench hearing the Karachi Lawlessness Case, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, had said that the delimitation of constituencies should be done according to law, but the remarks made by a judge of the bench of the Supreme Court yesterday are in contravention of section 9 of the Delimitation of Constituencies Act 1974. The law does not mention any kind of “monopoly” and that the delimitation of constituencies without a fresh census would be against the spirit of law and the constitution.
Mr Hussain demanded of President of Pakistan Mr Asif Ali Zardari, the federation of Pakistan, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Mr Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other impartial and unbiased judges of the Supreme Court to take immediate notice of the issue and start proceedings under the constitution against the judges who have made highly prejudicial remarks.
Mr Hussain was addressing a gathering of MQM Rabita Committee MNAs, MPAs, Senators, lawyers, legal and constitutional experts and other office-bearers of different wings of the MQM on the telephone at Nine Zero.
Mr Hussain said that such strange, outlandish and highly prejudicial remarks were unheard-of in the judicial history of democratic countries across the world. He asserted, “I can say with full confidence and surety that the Supreme Court does not have the right to say that delimitation of constituencies should be done in such a manner that there was no monopoly of a single party.”
It is not within the purview of any court but the democratic right of the public to vote for any party in any constituency. No one has the right to take away this right of the people and such judicial remarks to deprive the people of their democratic right is dictatorial.
“In a democratic system every citizen has the right to vote for any party of his choice by virtue of the universal adult franchise. If that party gets a majority, then according to the principle of democracy and constitution the decision of the majority of the people should be accepted with open hearts. Rejecting the decision of the majority would be unconstitutional and tantamount to dictatorial. Hence the remarks from the bench of the Supreme Court on the delimitation of constituencies are not only totally undemocratic, unconstitutional but also discriminatory and prejudicial.”
Mr Hussain said that political parties throughout the country command majority of popular support in one city or another. “If the remarks of the Supreme Court about Karachi are valid and justifiable, then why this formula has not been adopted for the entire country? New delimitation should be done in those cities also so as to remove the majority or monopoly of one party.”
Mr Hussain said that equating the popular majority through democratic means with the monopoly by the bench of the Supreme Court is not only undemocratic and unconstitutional but also prejudicial and dictatorial. “It is the inalienable right of the people of Karachi to give their mandate to whichever party they want.”
“As far as the premise that there are different nationalities settled in Karachi, which province in the country does not have different nationalities and people of diverse ethnic background? Can it be justified to order new delimitations of constituencies in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, just because people speaking different languages lived there so that there does not remain the monopoly of a single party? What can one say about such an order?”
“Governments throughout the world are universally formed on the basis of majority mandate given by people. Hence observations from the bench of the Supreme Court that there should not be the majority of a single party are undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional.”
“If lawlessness in Karachi is the basis for the observation by the Supreme Court, the situation in Balochistan is even worse than Karachi where the national flag cannot be flown in more than half of the province. Supreme Court has not given any order for Balochistan. There is no such situation in Karachi.”
“In the same manner Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is also in the grip of lawlessness. Suicide attacks and bomb blasts are not uncommon and schools, shrines, mosques, imambargahs, other places of worship, police check posts and government buildings have been attacked with bomb blasts. No such observation about delimitation was given there. Why only Karachi?”
People of Karachi have been voting for the MQM for the past 25 years and now the remarks given by the Supreme Court on delimiting constituencies in a manner to break the monopoly of one party is, in fact, a conspiracy to break the majority mandate of the MQM. Such gerrymandering is an attempt to rob the people of Karachi of their basic right of adult franchise.
“No one besides Allah and the people can break the mandate of the MQM. Delimitations of constituencies throughout the world are held after conducting census on the basis of population. This practice should be adopted in Pakistan as well. Fresh delimitations cannot be held without holding the census and hence the observation of the bench of the Supreme Court to hold new delimitations of electoral constituencies in Karachi without holding census is undemocratic. Such remarks are not only highly prejudicial but they may fuel linguistic biases and set the people living in Karachi and belonging to different nationalities against each other.”
Mr Hussain said that the census should be held, and delimitation of electoral constituencies should be done in the entire country even howsoever long it may take. “There is pervading sense of deprivation among the people of Karachi and the prejudicial remarks of the particular bench of the Supreme Court would heighten their sense of deprivation.”
“Balochistan is already on the verge of cessation. Where would the people of Karachi go for their rights if the Supreme Court continues to give such observations? What message is being given to the people of Karachi by such prejudicial remarks?”
“The people of Karachi reject these prejudicial observations and make sincere appeal to stop the act of creating further divisions in the country.”
Addressing the people of Karachi Mr Hussain said, “Whatever race, nationality, community, sect, or religion you may belong to and whatever may be the colour of your skin or the language you speak, it has become your duty to struggle for your rights and think about your basic democratic rights. He asked the leaders, workers and sympathizers of the MQM to prepare themselves mentally and physically to struggle against undemocratic, unconstitutional and oppressive attitudes.