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Home > News > Report

Release Lal Masjid detainees not formally charged: Pak SC

K J M Varma in Islamabad | July 17, 2007 11:36 IST

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The Lal Masjid Standoff

Expressing displeasure over the continued detention of the surrendered "students" of Lal Masjid's madrassas, the Pakistan Supreme Court has ordered the release of all those who were not formally charged.

The two-judge bench ordered on Monday that the verification of all detainees be completed and the court be informed of the details of the charges against them over the next two days.

Earlier, Inspector General of Police, Islamabad, Chaudhry Mohammad Iftikhar informed the court that out of 243 detained inmates of Lal Masjid-Jamia Hafsa madrassa complex, which was stormed by the security forces on July 11, 86 have been released so far.

The remaining, who are involved in various cases, are still in jail, he told the bench comprising Judges Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi and Faqir Mohammad Khokhar. Of the ones yet to be released, 22 are still undergoing treatment, he added.

The court expressed displeasure over the lists of detainees provided to it by the authorities and said under the law, no one can be kept in detention for more than 24 hours and has to be produced before a court within that period.

Three sisters of the head cleric of Lal Masjid Abdul Aziz appeared before the court and on their request, the bench ordered the district administration to hand over the bodies of their mother, nephew and two other relatives to them after DNA tests for burial in the ancestral graveyard.

The court also ordered the release of Aziz, who was caught while attempting to flee in a burka, and other relatives on parole to participate in the last rites.

Deputy Attorney General Tariq Mahmud Khokhar informed the court that there were six charred bodies which were beyond recognition.

Chief Commissioner of Islamabad Khalid Pervez told the court that DNA tests of 40 people had been conducted while that of the six bodies not recognised as yet would also be done.

The bench asked the sisters of Aziz to go for DNA tests. Separate tests were being conducted of relatives of about 92 militants killed to identify their kin.

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