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Lal Masjid report

May 15, 2013

THIS is apropos the editorial (April 23) on the lopsided findings and recommendations of the Lal Masjid commission. Being a retired soldier I can fully understand the ramifications of such an operation in an atmosphere of emotional blackmail and religious extremism.

The operation was based on sound advice and prolonged consultations of all active players, the political leadership and top clergy, including the Imam of Kaaba. The top priority was to facilitate a safe exit to the occupants, but the defiant militants, headed by Maulvi Abdul Rashid, refused all logical pleadings and advice.

He, with the help of his cellphone, remained in constant communication with the media and some unknown advisers who wanted a showdown and a title of ‘martyr’ for him.

It is on record that before the operation was launched his brother Abdul Aziz, who too was a maulvi in the same complex, tried to persuade him to leave the complex and surrender but he remained firm, challenging the government’s writ.

I wish the one-man commission on Lal Masjid had asked at least one question of those who hold Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf solely responsible for the Lal Masjid operation: if the burqa-clad Maulvi Abdul Aziz and his wife, Umme Hussan, along with a crowd of hundreds of students, could get a safe exit, who had stopped the remaining lot to come out of the complex? Who subsequently forced them to become cannon fodder?

LT COL (r) SAFARAZ HUSSAIN ABIDI Karachi