ISLAMABAD: After a fortnight, the Supreme Court will decide whether to make public the one-man commission inquiry report on the causes of the 2007 Lal Masjid military operation.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Monday opened a sealed envelop containing the voluminous report submitted by Justice Shahzado Sheikh of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC). He was appointed to head the commission and complete the findings on December 4, 2012.
The court ordered its office to keep the report in a sealed envelop in safe custody till the time the members of the bench go through it in the chambers and decide whether to make it open or keep it secret.
During the proceedings, Advocate Tariq Asad, who had pleaded the cases of Lal Masjid, requested the apex court to make the report open since nothing sensitive had been divulged in it.
He also requested the court to order its registrar to record the statement of former President Pervez Musharraf on the Lal Masjid affairs.
The Lal Masjid conflict started with the Jamia Hafsa students occupying an adjacent children’s library on January 22, 2007, in retaliation to the razing of seven ‘unauthorised’ mosques by the city administration.
The confrontation built up in the succeeding month to erupt into armed clashes when a Rangers personnel was killed on July 3 by gunfire from the mosque.
Army was called the same night and special forces stormed the mosque after suspension of water and electricity supply to the building failed to subdue the alleged militants holed up inside.
The Supreme Court had tasked the commission to investigate the causes that led to the clashes between the security forces and the Lal Masjid people; the number and gender of those killed and whether the dead were identified and handed over to their legal heirs. Whether any action was taken under the law against persons found responsible by the police and whether it was possible to fix responsibility against a person behind the entire incident.
The commission recorded the statements of 300 witnesses most prominent of them PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Ijazul Haq, Tariq Azeem, Mohammad Ali Durrani, former education minister Javed Ashraf Qazi and Aftaf Khan Sherpao.