ISLAMABAD: A lawyer on Monday moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking action against former president Pervez Musharraf under the blasphemy law for allegedly desecrating the holy Quran and other religious books during the July 2007 Lal Masjid operation.
In his petition, advocate Tariq Asad, who is the counsel for the newly-established Shuhada Foundation of Pakistan Trust, contended that Musharraf was responsible for launching the operation during which “not only a large number of civilians were killed but also copies of the holy Quran, religious books and research materials were destroyed.”
The petition said the objective of the operation was “not only to commit murders of religious scholars, preachers and teachers but also to destroy the mission of the preaching of Islam, which prima facie was tantamount to the commission of the offence of blasphemy.”
It may be mentioned that last year the Supreme Court constituted a commission headed by Justice Shehzado Sheikh of the Federal Shariat Court to probe into the Lal Masjid operation.
The commission in March this year submitted its report to the apex court.
However, during the four-month-long proceedings of the commission, neither advocate Tariq Asad, who represented the Lal Masjid administration, nor anyone else raised the issue of blasphemy.
When contacted, advocate Asad said the scope of the commission was limited; therefore, he did not use the blasphemy issue before it.
“It was a commission not a court where one could seek such a remedy,” he said.
“Since Musharraf has committed blasphemy, he must be booked under the relevant law as well,” he added.
Senior lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri told Dawn that the Lal Masjid operation was a state action and it couldn't be challenged in any court.
He said blaming the former army chief for the operation and levelling blasphemy allegations against him would be fatal for the national security.
"These people are giving a wrong message to the army by harassing the former military chief,” he claimed.
“If the court allows the trial of Musharraf on the basis of such frivolous petitions, tomorrow a number of petitions would also be filed against the incumbent army chief and even every second lieutenant for taking part in Swat and Waziristan operations as well,” he added.