On Friday, a local court in Islamabad issued bailable arrest warrants for former dictator Pervez Musharraf in the murder case of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his wife during the Lal Masjid operation in 2007. Most likely, Musharraf will neither be arrested nor compelled to appear before the court. If there is one thing that has become clear during this extended episode involving Musharraf and court cases, it is that he is no ordinary man and will not be treated as one. The treason trial – which was once making headlines with PML-N cabinet members and members of the superior judiciary promising justice – has been put on the back burner from the last many months. Everything that the government or the judiciary did on that front has proven to be inconsequential. Now with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif having rediscovered his limitations and vulnerabilities, it appears that Musharraf will not be held accountable for abrogating the constitution.

However, as far as the Lal Masjid case is concerned, Musharraf cannot be blamed for the death of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, his wife and others present in the mosque on the day of the operation. The mosque had become a cause for much lawlessness and fear in the capital with students roaming around as some self-appointed morality policy destroying CD shops and abducting Chinese nationals. Then they shot a security officer, and took refuge inside the mosque and refused to come out despite repeated warnings and requests. All efforts aimed at convincing Abdul Rashid and his followers to surrender before the state proved unsuccessful leaving the state with no choice but to conduct military action. The deaths of SSG commandos participating in the operation ought to make it very clear that they faced armed opposition. Maulana Abdul Aziz, who attempted to escape in a burqa with female students, was taken into custody and remained unhurt. His brother and others would have survived had they not literally stuck to their guns. The narrative in subsequent years has been twisted to present the deceased of Lal Masjid as some hapless, unarmed victims of state aggression. They were anything but. Recent developments concerning Lal Masjid and its infamous cleric make it easy to believe how they may have put themselves in such a situation. Female students of Jamia Hafsa recently released a video in which they swore allegiance to ISIS and Afghan Taliban simultaneously. Abdul Aziz openly threatened the state and members of the civil society during a Friday sermon. If anything, there is a need for more action against Lal Masjid and to hold Abdul Aziz accountable for his crimes against the state and the people. Be it Musharraf or Abdul Aziz – no one can be allowed impunity against law.