SC wraps up Lal Masjid suo motu case after govt assurance

Published May 2, 2019
In this photograph taken on April 17, 2009, Lal Masjid’s chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz (C) prepares to lead Friday prayers in Islamabad.  – AFP/File
In this photograph taken on April 17, 2009, Lal Masjid’s chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz (C) prepares to lead Friday prayers in Islamabad. – AFP/File

The Supreme Court on Thursday disposed of a suo motu case concerning the affairs of Lal Masjid after receiving an assurance from the attorney general that the Jamia Hafsa seminary will be reconstructed.

Firebrand Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz had in 2015 petitioned the court to ensure that the families of those killed in the July 2007 military operation were paid blood money.

After the operation, the government and the mosque administration, led by Maulana Aziz, had reached an agreement under which the Capital Development Authority would provide an alternative site for the reconstruction of the Jamia Hafsa seminary.

The petition, among other demands, had also called for the CDA to build a new madressah in place of the seminary for women that had been damaged in the 2007 operation and later razed to the ground.

Aziz had also asked the court to order the federal government to implement its October 2, 2007 judgement in the case.

Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan was present in court today as a two-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the case.

Khan assured the court of the construction of the seminary, and said that, administratively, it would fall under the government's control.

Aziz's laywer, Advocate Tariq Asad, came to the rostrum to argue that the case was not about one plot, but linked to various matters.

Justice Gulzar asked Asad to apprise the court of what angles of the case had been overlooked, to which the lawyer was unable to furnish an adequate response.

Both Justice Gulzar and Asad then exchanged sharp words, with the lawyer telling the court he was not arguing the case "just to pass the time" and the judge expressing his displeasure with the remark.

Justice Yahya Afridi advised the lawyer to sit and wait for his turn to be heard.

The apex court subsequently wrapped up the suo motu case on the government's assurances. Except for a constitutional petition concerning the Lal Masjid operation, all other miscellaneous applications filed in the case throughout the past more than 11 years were also disposed of.

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