CJ says those killed could not be proved terrorists by any independent probe; many quake-hit orphan girls were residing in Jamia Hafsa; Justice Azmat Sheikh says State should tell the truth to nation about the incident
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday constituted a one-man judicial commission to probe into the Lal Masjid operation launched in 2007 by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf against the mosque administration for challenging the writ of the State.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard a suo moto case of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa along with a contempt petition filed by Maulana Abdul Aziz.
The court constituted a one-man judicial commission comprising Justice Shehzad Al-Shaikh, Senior Judge of Federal Shariat Court, after the federal police failed to file a satisfactory report on the matter.
The judicial commission was assigned the task to ascertain as to whether the State had paid compensation to the heirs of killed people; whether the bodies were identified and handed over to their heirs; whether the action has been taken against the people who are responsible for the tragedy, and whether the people who are responsible for the tragedy could be marked with the available evidences and facts.
The court directed the commission to submit its findings within 45 days, besides directing the Islamabad Police to cooperate with the commission by handing over all the relevant documents so that it could investigate the matter in proper manner.
Earlier, senior officer of theIslamabad Police, Tahir Alam, submitted a report pertaining to the operation in the court. He said that 103 people were killed in the operation, which included 11 from law enforcement agencies, four innocent persons and 88 terrorists.
The chief justice, however, said that it should be made public that who was responsible for this incident. He said if the State could not handle that small issue, then what was the use of the State.
Tahir Alam submitted that people of Lal Masjid violated the law and took weapons against the personnel of law enforcement agencies. “We ordered the people to leave Lal Masjid but they disobeyed our orders,” he added.
The chief justice remarked that they could not declare them terrorists on this ground that they were not vacating the building. He also questioned that whether any independent investigation agency declared the dead people as terrorists.
Tahir Alam, however, informed the court that no bodies of girls were found from Lal Masjid after the operation. He said that no family of any girl had submitted complaint to the police in this regard.
The court, however, observed that the report was not correct as innocent girls were also killed during the Lal Masjid operation. The chief justice said that it was reported that several orphaned girls, who were the victims of the 2005 earthquake, were residing there.
Justice Azmat Sheikh asked the capital police officer “Truth will set you free”. He said that the State should tell the truth to the nation regarding this incident. Justice Azmat also observed that he could not believe that no girl was residing in Jamia Hafsa at the last moment of the operation. On July 3, 2007 former President Pervez Musharraf had ordered a military operation against the occupants of Lal Masjid for challenging the writ of the State.
APP adds: During the hearing, the chief justice said that so far the authorities could not establish anything against the Lal Masjid people as they were proceeding on mere presumption. He said the relevant authorities were reluctant to pay any compensation.
“Neither anybody is willing to investigate the case nor they are registering the cases,” he said, adding that they could not feel satisfied with one report while neglecting the facts given in the other one.