ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered the Islamabad police on Tuesday to submit reports of DNA tests of people killed during the Lal Masjid operation.
The reports would help relatives of the people who had gone missing or had been killed during the Lal Masjid standoff to have access to related information, observed a two-judge bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.
The court is hearing a number of cases relating to missing persons.
The bench asked Islamabad SSP Tahir Alam to provide the relevant record and ordered that the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance be reconstituted to look into the cases relating to the Lal Masjid operation.
The events which led to the Lal Masjid standoff started on Jan 22, 2007, when female students of Jamia Hafsa had occupied an adjacent children’s library in protest against the razing of seven mosques. On July 3 that year, security forces launched the operation in which about 110 people, including students, were killed.
Soon after the operation a Supreme Court bench ordered DNA tests of the dead bodies and asked the Islamabad administration to facilitate handing over of the bodies to their families, address allegations of harassments and settle complaints regarding missing students. The issue of missing persons has since been pending before the court.
On Tuesday, Additional Attorney General K.K. Agha informed the court that another 11 cases of missing persons had been traced. They are: Ghulam Mustafa, Abdul Hafeez, Muhammad Awais, Habibur Rehman, Muhammad Zubair, Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Yaqoob, Hafiz Asif Raza, Mahmoodul Hassan, Maulana Ghulamud Din and Usman Gul. FIRs have been lodged in their cases.
Mr Agha said the process of completing the composition of Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance was under way, adding that its head Fazalur Rehman had relinquished the post after becoming member of the Election Commission.
The commission’s secretary Farid Ahmed Khan presented a report which stated that 83 of the 336 missing persons had been traced since Dec 31 last year and 108 cases disposed of. Twenty cases have been deleted because they do not fall in the category of enforced disappearance. Five cases have been deleted for other reasons. A total of 228 cases are now pending with the commission.
Justice Javed expressed satisfaction over the commission’s efforts, but observed that officers in Pakistani missions abroad should not sit idle in their decorated offices because it was their duty to extend every possible cooperation to their countrymen languishing in foreign jails.
The observation came when Advocate Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry, the counsel for some petitioners, complained that foreign missions were not extending help regarding the detained expatriates. “Whenever a foreigner is arrested, a hue and cry is raised,” Justice Iqbal observed. He asked why were the missions apologetic in taking up the issue of detained expatriates.
The case will be taken up again after two weeks.