Lal Masjid operation: SC asked to stay proceeding of commission


The Supreme Court (SC) was cautioned on Tuesday about the political fallout of the last thought probe into the Lal Masjid incident.
Senior FSC Justice Shahzado Sheikh was ordered by the SC on Dec 4 to submit a report within 45 days about the causes and casualties in the 11-day long pitched battle in July 2007.
A petition questioning the appointment of the commission, more than five years after the incident, called attention to recent “antithetical statements” made by General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Petitioner Shahid Orakzai stated that he did not intend to question the ‘legitimacy or legality’ of clashing statements made by Kayani and the Justice Iftikhar but their connectivity with the appointment of the commission would be examined by the court.
The court was informed that General Kayani’s statement had come a few days after the SC had placed “criminal liability” on two retired generals including General Mirza Aslam Beg. The CJP’s statement, on the other hand, was publicised, broadcast and published as a “quick rebuttal to the loud and clear caution by the Chief of Army Staff”, the petitioner stated.
The court was told that the legal task assigned to its senior judge was much different than the one performed by the apex court through its judgment in the Asghar Khan case because the majority of security personnel involved in Lal Masjid Operation could still be in active service.
As for ‘fixing responsibility upon the personnel of security agencies’, as emphasised by the Supreme Court, the petitioner pointed out that the word ‘personnel’ was generally used for lower ranks other than senior officers and commanders. The military personnel obviously acted under the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and for ‘maintenance of discipline’ that law stands exempted from the Fundamental Rights by Article-8 of the Constitution.