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SC forms commission to probe Lal Masjid incident

05 December, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has formed a commission, headed by Federal Shariat Court Justice Shahzado Sheikh, for fixing the responsibility of Lal Masjid 2007 incident and asked to submit recommendations within 45 days.

The legal experts believe that the SC move to probe the Lal Masjid assault, may also irk Pakistan Army, which conducted the operation in 2007.

A three member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, has asked the commission to probe the reasons of Lal Masjid incident, how many people including men, women and from law enforcement agencies were killed. It also said that whether the state had paid the compensation to the heirs of killed people, whether the dead bodies were identified and handed over to their heirs, whether the action has been taken against the people who are responsible for the tragedy, whether the people who are responsible for the tragedy could be marked with the available evidences and facts.

During the hearing, Islamabad Police officer Tahir Alam submitted a report pertaining to the operation in the court. He said that 103 people were killed in the operation, in which 11 law enforcement agencies, 4 innocents and 88 terrorists were murdered. To which, the CJP questioned that how capital police could declare the 88 deceased as terrorists as it was a one-sided version and no one had proved them terrorists. He said that it should be open in the public that who was the responsible of this incident and if the state could not handle that small issue than what would be the benefit of it.

Tahir Alam said that people of Lal Masjid violated the law and took weapons against the personnel of law enforcement agencies. "We ordered people to leave Lal Masjid but they violated our orders," he added. The CJP remarked that they could not declare them terrorists because they were not vacating the building. He also questioned that whether any independent investigating agency declared the killed people as terrorists.

Tahir Alam told SC that no bodies of girls were found from Lal Masjid after the operation. He said that no family of any girl had submitted a 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 orphan girls, who were the affectees of 2005 earthquake, were residing there.

End.

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