Siege of Lal Masjid - Aftermath

Aftermath

On August 16, 2007, acting on a suo motu notice, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took up the extrajudicial killings of the people at the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa complex. Performance of the Islamabad administration attracted the reprimand of the court for its slow pace. The court was informed that 61 students were in custody, of whom 39 were on bailable offenses. The Chief Justice of Pakistan ordered immediate release of 20 people considered innocent, as recommended by a joint investigation team. National Crisis Management Cell Director Javed Iqbal Cheema told the court that 28 DNA tests had not been confirmed. The Chief Justice also pointed out that Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ali had stated that 30 bodies remained unidentified.

Mohammed Ahsan Bhoon, president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, said, "This issue could have been resolved through negotiations but General Musharraf intentionally spilled the blood of innocent people to please his foreign masters." Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim said that the Lal Masjid assault had sent a strong message that the government "meant business." Musharraf vowed in a nationally televised address that he would "crush extremists throughout Pakistan and move against religious schools like those at the Lal Masjid and those that breed them."

The Lal Masjid siege gave hardliners in Pakistan a rallying point, as well as generating new martyrs and prompting al-Qaeda and the Taliban to launch retaliation attacks in Pakistan. The first attack after the operation against the mosque was on July 12, 2007; two suicide attacks killed six people in northwest Pakistan. Another 28 soldiers were killed when a suicide attacker struck a military convoy in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border on July 14.

The bodies of seventy militants from the Lal Masjid operation were buried in a graveyard near Islamabad. In order to assist relatives in identifying and in claiming the bodies later, officials took photographs, fingerprints, and DNA samples from the bodies prior to their interment in temporary graves. There have been renewed attacks in Pakistan since the siege. This conflict has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Pakistani soldiers, hundreds of civilians, 1,500 militants, and politician Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a suicide attack on December 27, 2007.

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