The ghosts of the Lal Masjid operation in 2007 have come to haunt former President of Pakistan General (retired) Pervez Musharraf who finds himself charged with another case of murder, this time that of a cleric Ghazi Abdul Rashid. The Islamabad high court had ordered a first information report (FIR) to be filed against Musharraf on July 12 but it took the police nearly 50 days to do so.
The high court passed the order after a writ petition was filed on July 7 by Rashid’s son Haroon demanding that the police file a case of murder against Musharraf who was responsible for the Lal Masjid operation which killed his father and grandmother, according to Mr. Tariq Asad, his lawyer.
Mr. Asad said that despite the high court order of July 12, the station house officer (SHO) had not registered an FIR when they went to the Aabpara police station. The high court’s order was unambiguous and it had said the FIR must be lodged without delay. Mr. Asad had also filed a contempt petition since the court’s order was not taken seriously.
On Monday the case came up for hearing and the SHO Ghulam Kasim Khan Niaziwas summoned by judge Nurul Haq N Qureshi and asked for an explanation why an FIR was not registered. The SHO replied that he had asked for the opinion of higher authorities to which the judge said that to file an FIR on the court’s explicit orders there was no need for an opinion. The case can only be investigated after an FIR is filed, not before that, the court said. The SHO then filed the FIR and submitted a copy to the court before the petition was disposed of, Mr. Asad said.
Haroon Rashid had initially approached the session’s court for an FIR against Mr. Musharraf and when that failed he went to the high court. After the court order on July 12, Mr. Asad said he and Haroon had gone to the police station but they refused to implement the court’s order.
In 2007, the government admitted 102 people including many students of the madrassa were killed in the storming of the Lal Masjid Jamia Hafsa complex after a 12-day battle with militants inside.
The Lal Masjid commission in March held Musharraf, then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and others responsible for the operation and recommended murder cases to be filed against them.