Last writings of besieged female students of Lal Mosque
Islamabad--Amidst no respite for hundreds of parents looking for their missing loved ones and under-curfew residents of G-6 area in Islamabad, army allowed the media people to observe the devastation and destruction caused at Lal Mosque, adjacent Jamia Hafsa and children’s library as a result of the Operation Silence (now termed as Operation Sun Rise by ISPR) since third of July 2007.
The entire compound of the mosque and seminary was riddled with marks of bullets and holes caused by grenades or mortar shells while personal belongings of female students and minors were lying everywhere in female seminary.
This scribe came across notes of female students, written presumably during the siege of the mosque or during the last moments of their lives. One of the wooden-box was inscribed with the words, “Only my mother is allowed to open this box, if anyone else does this it will be haram.” Another message was written on the wall of a room which read that “I love my parents and they will be proud of me.” There were diaries and other messages of the students spread all over the floor, especially in rooms where they presumably were hiding throughout the siege. In other rooms this scribe also saw names written on the walls of female students and minors, who were supposedly going through the agony of captivity in the sweltering heat of July with no electricity, water or food supply. The electricity, water and food supply was cut off for the mosque and the adjoining G-6 sector on 2nd of July 2007.
One operational commander, who was involved in the operation and did not want to be named, informed this scribe that he too could not control his emotions when he first landed in the mosque compound specially in the female seminary side. He said that he has seen room full of corpses and limbs of minors lying on the floor. He also confirmed that he came across certain handwritten pages or last messages of various female students written for their parents and loved ones.
Whether these messages would reach the addressees or not is not sure because the guarding armed persons were least bothered in collecting any such thing and neither the army’s official spokesperson was aware that any such collection has taken place.
Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the director general of ISPR while escorting the journalists through the mosque compound led the journalists to the showcase of arms and ammunitions recovered from the mosque after the operation. It included rocket launchers, Kalashnikovs, grenades, bullet proof jackets, gas masks and two mounds of bullets. The escorted tour of journalists was also shown the charred rooms, which the ISPR spokesperson claimed was the place where hostages were kept and might have been burned alive by the captors.
He also told the journalist corps that they recovered a severed head of a person, who they believe was of a suicide bomber while nine charred or mutilated bodies were also found after the operation.
He reiterated that so far recovered bodies have not exceeded 75 out of which nine were not recognizable and the mother of Ghazi Rashid might be amongst the charred bodies recovered from the mosque. He had no answer for the missing ones on the pretext that the operation is still underway and once things settle down they will be able to address this issue.
The ISPR spokesman also said that only two buried bodies were recovered from the mosque compound and no mass grave could be traced in the entire compound. Ghazi Rashid had claimed in a telephonic talk with this scribe two days before his death that they have buried 94 male and 30 female students in mosque compound. The compound of the mosque was termed off-limits for the journalists as the guarding army personals told the journalists that the area is not cleared yet and not safe. Meanwhile, the visible damages included burning of various rooms and main corridors, house of Ghazi brothers, while the outer walls of the mosque have been destroyed from several places. The dome and minarets of the mosque were also had visible marks of damage due to bullets and mortar shells and seems to have also been burned.
There were more than 200 parents and relatives of missing students camping at the Sports complex Islamabad where neither they running from post to pillars in search of their loved ones. None of them were aware of the fact that 75 odd coffins have been lowered into ground at a graveyard in Islamabad by the civil administration. There was no relative of the deceased present at the graveyard, where the military persons were bringing in coffins and police officials were lowering them in the already dug graves. It is learnt that more graves have been ordered and more bodies are likely to come for burial.
Some of the parents had scuffle with the officials present there because they could not find the names of their loved ones in the displayed lists and neither anyone was ready top tell them about the whereabouts of their dear ones. A person, who was sitting there for last six days, told this scribe, requesting not to print his name that he was called by the district administration to come from Swat to take their son back home, but since then they have not been able to get any hint where his son is kept. There are lots of old ladies and female relatives of missing students who are waiting for help at sports complex.
Tags: Pakistan , Lal Mosque , Female
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