Take Lal Masjid case seriously, Supreme Court tells government


Islamabad : Pakistan's Supreme Court has sought details of those detained during the military assault on Lal Masjid in which at least 103 people were killed and threatened the government with damages if it continued to take the case "for granted".

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A two-member bench comprising Justices Abdul Hameed Dogar and Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi is hearing a suo motu case against the killing of people during the nine-day operation to evict rebellious clergy, students and armed militants with Al Qaeda links from the mosque complex in the heart of the capital.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the interior ministry's progress, the court also directed the Legal Aid Committee to meet Umme Hassan, wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz and principal of the now-demolished Jamia Hafsa, to confirm the number of students the seminary had.

The number has varied between the government's claims and those of the clergy that had then controlled Lal Masjid and the seminaries attached to it.

Although the government initially claimed that girl students had either escaped or were rescued, it eventually admitted to finding six women's bodies.

Officially, 103 people died in the operation that began July 3.

The court also directed the government to arrange a meeting between Maulana Abdul Aziz, chief cleric of the mosque, with his sisters at the Simli Dam Rest House — where Aziz, his wife and their daughters Tayyaba and Asma are held.

The Adiala jail superintendent told the court that 508 of 620 seminary students, detained during the operation, had been released and 62 would be released shortly.

There are contradictions in the number of detainees determined by the Adiala jail superintendent and the interior ministry, the Daily Times said.