LAHORE - Prominent lawyers say that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leadership may face high treason case and the ban on the party if the allegations of receiving Indian funding are proved.

They say the government should investigate the allegations thoroughly in view of their sensitivity.

Advocate SM Zafar, Abid Hassan Manto, Salman Akram Raja, SCBA President Fazl-i-Haq Abbasi and LHCBA President Pir Masood Chishti expressed these views while talking to TheNation here the other day.

BBC reported on Wednesday that Muttahida Qaumi Movement had told the UK authorities that they had received Indian funding and training and that UK authorities also found a list of weapons at MQM premises there. However, MQM rejected the news saying it was a table story based on malafide intentions to defame the party and its leadership and also rejected the allegations leveled against it.

Advocate SM Zafar said the federal government should summon the record from UK authorities as per their agreement with the UK government and thoroughly investigate the matter. He said MQM was also alleged in the past. Quoting the Constitution of 1973, Mr. Zafar said a party would be banned if the allegations of high treasons or anti-state activities were proved. When asked that could the Supreme Court of Pakistan take action against the party over the allegations, he said it would be a lengthy way if the matter was taken by the SC.

“The federal government should initiate investigation against a political party if it is involved in anti-state activities,” he stated. He gave an example of National Awami Party that was banned in Bhutto era over same sort of allegations.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Fazl-i-Haq Abbasi said such allegations would be meant that someone or a party was involved in anti-state activities and it should completely be investigated. Under Article 6 of the Constitution, high treason case could be registered against the party leadership and the party could be banned over such allegations, he stated.

Haq said, “There are a number of sections in Pakistan Penal Code under which strict action can be taken against a person or group involved in anti-state activities.” He said, however, mere funding was not the ground to lodge high treason case and ban a party but it would be determined first that for what purpose the funding was received and where it was unitized. Mr Abassi contended that if the funding was received by few members of a party then the case would be different and if majority of the members were provided funds as well as training then the case would be of different nature, anyway, the case would definitely be registered.

To a question that whether police would investigate the matter or Federal Investigation Agency would take it up, he said both police and FIA would investigate it and the same would be done by the UK police. The government can lodge the case against the party and a common citizen can also file a petition before the higher judiciary to seek directions to hold inquiry of the whole story.

Advocate Salman Akram Raja said the registration of a party could be cancelled under Article 17 of the Constitution if the allegations were proved. He further said that laws of the election commission could also be invoked against a party allegedly involved in receiving Indian funding for malicious purposes or for anti-state activities.

Lahore High Court Bar Association President Pir Masood Chisthi also said that allegations were of serious nature and high treason case could be registered. However, he urged the government to hold investigation keeping in view the sensitivity of the allegations and should proceed in accordance with the law if cognizable offences were found.