ISLAMABAD, July 13: The Supreme Court was told on Friday that not a single body of the people killed in the Lal Masjid-Jamia Hafsa operation had been put in the Sarhad-Balochistan Cold Storage in Islamabad’s Sector I-9.
The explanation came when the attention of the court was drawn to reports in a section of the media that 450 bodies had been kept in the cold storage.
Chief Commissioner of Islamabad Khalid Pervez told the court that it had been earlier decided to use the cold storage in the event of an emergency, but the need did not arise.
On a suo motu notice, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi and Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar had taken up the Lal Masjid issue and the problems being faced by residents of the area due to the curfew imposed there.
The bench ordered that the curfew should be lifted from Sector G-6 or effective measures should be taken to confine it to the limits of the Lal Masjid-Jamia Hafsa compound.
The chief commissioner told the bench that the Islamabad administration had been in touch with the authorities in this regard and was likely to take a decision soon.
He said 71 bodies had been buried in the graveyard of Sector H-11 as ‘Amanat’ after observing due Islamic rites. Seventeen bodies, including that of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, had been handed over to relatives. Three bodies were still in the mortuary of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, he said.
The court declined to entertain a request to order a judicial inquiry into conflicting reports about the number of people killed in the operation.
The Inspector General of Police said that from July 3 to 11, 1,096 people – 628 men, 465 women and girls and three children – had come out or had been rescued from the complex.
All the women and girls, except Samia Khatoon of Bahawalpur who is waiting for her parents, have been released. Majida Younas alias Umme Hassan, wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz, Tayyaba Dua and Asma Dua are on physical remand for seven days in the custody of the Aabpara police.
The bench directed the IGP to locate the family of Samia Khatoon and arrange her safe handing over to her parents, if possible on Friday.
When Advocate Hashmat Habib told the court that Umme Hassan was ill, the court directed prompt medical check-up and treatment.
The IGP said 102 people had been killed during the operation – 91 civilians, 10 army soldiers and one Rangers soldier – including the 16 deaths on July 10. A total of 248 people were injured – 204 civilians, 41 army soldiers and three Rangers personnel. Seventy-five bodies were recovered from the premises of the complex at the end of the operation, he said.
About those buried in the H-11 graveyard as Amanat, the police officer said the administration had taken steps to identify the deceased through photographs, finger prints and DNA tests.
He said all injured civilians had been admitted to Pims.
The court directed the administration to take all possible steps to hand over patients undergoing treatment to their parents and activate the Information Cell and give wide publicity through the press for the injured people’s identification.
The court was told that efforts were under way to restore normality in Sector G-6; electricity, gas and water supply had been restored, except to the Lal Masjid complex. The Utility Stores Corporation has made special arrangements to provide various goods.
The bench directed Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali to keep the Information Cell open on Sunday and publicise the name of the officer in-charge of the cell and his telephone numbers to facilitate parents of the injured and dead.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the administration’s report, the bench ordered the Islamabad administration and National Crisis Management Cell Director-General Brig Javed Iqbal Cheema to submit a comprehensive report with details of people killed, injured, arrested or released.
The court directed the district magistrate to look into the cases of 241 people sent to the Adyala jail on judicial remand after having been taken into custody for violating section 188 of CrPC and grant bail to those whose offence was bailable.
The deputy commissioner told the court that no-one had been kept in unlawful detention.