2007 tragedy comes back haunting
ISLAMABAD: Memories of the bloody 2007 operation in Lal Masjid would come back haunting on Friday when the Supreme Court resumes hearing a contempt petition filed in 2008 against non-implementation of the court’s orders.
Dawn has learnt the Islamabad police would submit to the court that their records show no woman died in the bloody showdown between the state and the militants inside the mosque complex, whereas the Crisis Management Cell in the Interior Ministry had at that time said the mother of the mosque’s imam, Maulana Abdul Aziz, was among the more than 100 people killed in the tragedy.
Police sources said that in all 102 people were killed – 10 army men, one Ranger officer, three civilian while remaining 88 were those who fought against the state.
Advocate Tariq Asad, who had filed the contempt charge against the state over the operation, told Dawn that notices were issued early this month to the respondents to report the implementation of its 2007 orders and progress on the remaining unsolved issues, he said.
Police sources said the force reopened their entire record on the operation and consulted its officers connected with the operation to get a clue of the mother, but in vain. Neither the autopsies done on the bodies nor the DNA test reports available with the Islamabad administration mentioned a female victim among the dead.
Among the 88 bodies recovered from the mosque complex, 14 were burnt beyond recognition. Doctors however could determine gender of the charred bodies and their tests too suggested that all were male. What burnt them alive was not mentioned.
Islamabad police did not even know whether or not the mother of Maulana Abdul Aziz and his brother Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who died in the operation, was inside during the operation.
Intelligence agencies approached by the police in this connection cited an unconfirmed report that she died a natural death and was buried in Rajanpur where her son Abdul Rasheed too was buried, the sources said.
More than 500 students and teacher of Jamia Hafsa were stranded inside when the military operation began on July 3 but they were offered safe passage and their last group came out on July 5. It included Maulana Abdul Aziz and his wife Ummay Hasan who headed the Jamia Hafsa. The girls seminary was subsequently razed to ground.
On a private petition moved by some citizens aggrieved by the bloody events, the Supreme Court ordered in October 2007 that the police verify the antecedents of “all those innocently killed” in the incident for the federal government to pay compensation to their legal heirs in the form of Diyat (blood money) “subject to the law and necessary verification of the genuineness of the legal heirs in each case”, rebuild Jamia Hafsa and make alternative arrangement for the education of its students in the meantime and trace out persons reportedly went missing in the operation.
At Friday’s hearing, the police would submit a report about the mother of Maulana Abdul Aziz to the Supreme Court, which has also summoned the interior ministry, CDA and city administration to inquire about the implementation of it orders issued in 2007.A senior police officer said the police had already submitted reports about verification of students of the Jamia Hafsa, four missing persons. However, the fate of mother of Abdul Aziz and the charge of desecration of Quran during the operation remained unverified, he said.