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Lal Masjid commission Respondents served notices

January 06, 2013

Islamabad, Jan 5: Lal Masjid commission, headed by Justice Shehzado Sheikh of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC), on Saturday issued show cause notices to individuals  and media organisations for not submitting information and archival footage related to the 2007 Lal Masjid operation.

The Supreme Court had formed a one-man commission on December 4 last year to probe the Lal Masjid operation and set a 45-day deadline for it to complete its tasks.

The formal proceedings started on December 31, and the first directive issued was the production of the record related to the coverage of the Lal Masjid operation.

The deadline to submit the record to the commission expired on Saturday, however, none of the respondents produced any record for the commission neither did they respond to the notice.

After issuing the show cause notices, Justice Sheikh asked CDA chairman and Director-General (DG) National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) to appear in person before the commission on January 8, 2013 and explain why they had not complied with the commission’s orders.

The learned judge also directed both of them to produce the required record.

Later, Justice Sheikh directed the station in charge of local TV channels as well as chairman PTV to appear in person on January 9 to explain why they had failed to submit the required information within the given time.

The TV channels have further been directed to bring the information/record with them on the said date.

In order to ensure the submission of record of private channels related to Lal Masjid commission by January 9, Justice Sheikh has directed chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take necessary steps for production of the summoned records before the commission and also to take action against the delinquent channels.

Besides this the commission has recorded statements of 82 out of 294 witnesses, who had volunteered after December 19 when the commission started registering them.

The commission plans to complete recording statements of the 294 witnesses by January 12.

After that it will summon the inquiry witnesses or those officials of government and private organisations, who were part of the reconciliation process with the clerics of Lal Masjid or had overseen the incident and its aftermath.

According to an official related to the Lal Masjid inquiry, in the third phase the commission will summon court witnesses, comprising individuals who took part in the operation or had any connections with the incident.