In an effort to refrain former president general (retd) Pervez Musharraf from getting bail in Lal Masjid case, Shohada Foundation of Pakistan (SFP) formed a three-member lawyers’ panel on Saturday and invited other lawyers to join the prosecution against Musharraf.
The three-member panel formed by the foundation representing Lal Masjid is led by Advocate Tariq Asad. “Lal Masjid case represents the general public. We would welcome lawyers to come forward and join us in the case,” Asad said on Saturday.
The panel was formed after the hearing in Musharraf’s bail plea was adjourned on Saturday till October 30, due to lawyers’ strike in the courts. The decision to increase the numerical strength of the legal team came in the wake of ‘rumours’ that former president might get a safe passage to exit Pakistan after getting bail in the Lal Masjid case — the last criminal case against him in which he has not got a bail.
The main complainant in the case is Haroonur Rashid Ghazi, son of Lal Masjid’s deputy cleric Abdur Rashid Ghazi who was killed in 2007’s military operation on the mosque.
The initially formed three-member panel includes Advocate Supreme Court Malik Abdul Haq and Advocate High Court Wajihullah besides the team leader Advocate Asad. The two new members of the team submitted their papers on Saturday before the court hearing Musharraf’s bail plea.
Advocate Asad said the case was one of its kinds in the world history. “Nowhere in the world do we find an example of such large scale massacre of innocent students ordered by their own head of the state,” said the lawyer.
The former president Musharraf has already denied allegations of murder and killings in the Lal Masjid operation. In his statement to the investigation team in the case, the former president maintained the operation was ordered and executed by the then government.
In its report, the one-member judicial commission formed on the order of Supreme Court has also acknowledged that circumstances created by the Lal Masjid administration in 2007 warranted action from the government.
Avoiding fixing a clear responsibility for the operation, the one-man commission however went on to state that it could have been avoided but “it appears the former president (Musharraf) was bent upon teaching Ghazi brothers and Lal Masjid administration a lesson.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2013.