Supreme Court to Take Suo Moto Notice of Lal Masjid Operation
The heart-breaking events of Lal-Masjid this week--where Muslims were fighting Muslims, and Pakistanis killed Pakistanis--in the name of religion and national interest and in the heart of the Country\'s capital, have the potential to MAKE or BREAK Pakistan. Understanding the Truth about the Lal Masjid Operation and learning from it would mean the difference meeting an inevitable fate--i.e. Pakistan becoming either the Next AFGHANISTAN or the Next IRAQ--or avoiding it. This is the fight for the soul of Pakistan that every Pakistani must fight with all his/her will and sincerity. Please sign the petition below to jumpstart that process and encourage others to do so too. You may use the Email Petition option to send this to your friends and colleagues. Text of the Petition: We, the Undersigned, Petition the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, the ACJP, and the Justices of the Supreme Court to take a suo moto notice of the Lal-Masjid episode and operation. We request the Honorable Justices to: - Constitute an independent Judicial Commission to look into the Lal Masjid Case to inquire into not only from what happend from March 2007 onwards but also before. - Constitute the Commission in the manner that it contains prominent judges and citizens of integrity. - Outline a definite deadline (~ 3 months) for the Commission to publish its report. - Empower the Commission to hold open-hearings so that ordinary citizens may exercise their right to oversee the proceedings of the Commission. - Make the Commission duty bound to present its findings, not the to President of Pakistan, but to the People of Pakistan. We urge the Supreme Court of Pakistan to do so on an URGENT BASIS to bring the truth about Lal-Masjid and Operation Silence to the people of Pakistan who are the only sovereign and who deserve to learn the truth. Background of the Petition: The Lal Masjid episode with all its ferocity and bitterness is behind us now. It had--quite predictably and, to the benefit of a few--eaten up the media bandwidth for several months. The high drama that came to its heart-breaking (anti-) climax on Tuesday has left more questions unanswered than answers it may have provided. Whether or not this was really, as alleged by the Opposition and many in the media, a diversionary tactic on the part of the Musharraf Government to sideline the epic constitutional battle being faught just across the road on the Constitution Avenue, one can only speculate. Regardless, however, of whether the Lal Masjid espisode was a bold and audacious attempt on the part of a bunch of Mullahs and their naive followers to enforce their brand of Shariah on a country of 150 million or a creation of Masharraf and his agencies themselves, what is amply clear is that it represents a society on a collision course with itself. It is also certain that the Lal Masjid episode is likely to come to haunt us for perhaps a long long time to come. Unless, we really make a conscious and earnest attempt to learn from this mistake and take effective measures to not let this happen again. But are we willing to learn from this episode or are we just going to take a sigh of relief and move on We, Pakistanis, have an excellent track record of not learning from our own past. Can we do any better this time around I think that the first step in any attempt to learn from this episode is to know the truth. In all likelihood, we will never come to know the real story behind the Lal Masjid episode. Who did what and at what time How were a few clerics able to take so much weaponary inside the Mosque under the watchful eye of security agencies in a city like Islamabad where every other taxi-driver is proabably an informant. What were the specifics of the negotiation that went on in the last ditch effort to diffuse the crisis Were there any foreign militants inside the mosque What the relationship of the two Mullahs with the security agencies in the past At what point, if ever, was that relationship terminated What was the role of the President in all of this crisis etc. etc. In the matter of knowing the truth, as well, our country has a very bleak track record. How many inquiries have gone by without the common citizen knowing the truth. Somehow the \"establishment\" believes that citizens\' knowing the truth about matters that concern our well-being as a nation and a society is never in the \"supreme national interest\" of the country. Starting from Rawalpindi Conspiracy in 1951, to Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report, to Ojrhi-Camp incident, to Zia-ul-Haq\'s airplane crash, our government has probably never voluntarily brought an inquiry report to public\'s attention. In light of the above, I would strongly urge that the Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court take suo moto notice of the Lal Masjid episode and resulting Operation Silence. They already have, before the operation started, asked the agencies and the army to provide details of the Operation Silence to the Court. However, this needs to go further than that. The nation has a right to know exactly what happened in this entire epsiode. How did a bunch of Mullahs--who were in the government\'s pay until very recently--turn into rebelious radicals against the state OR whether they were just trapped into this by security agencies interested in helping the ratings and international prestige of a beleagured President. It would be most valuable if the Supreme Court could constitute an independent Judicial Commission to look into the Lal Masjid Case to inquire into not only from what happend from March 2007 onwards but also before. The Commission must also put a definite deadline (3 months) on the publication of the report. The Commission must hold open-hearings so that ordinary citizens may exercise their right to oversee the proceedings of the Commission. Finally, the Commission must be made duty bound to present its findings, not the to President of Pakistan, but to the People of Pakistan. Only by knowing the truth can the country hope to learn from the terrible trajedy of the Lal Masjid. Things should never have gone this far. Now that they have, we must convert this into an opportunity to listen to each other--not kill each other--and do what is necessary to create a just and tolerant society. The people of Pakistan deserve better. They deserve the whole truth and nothing less.