Indian news agency has lamented Pakistan for shameful surrender to radical groups. The controversial Maulana Abdul Aziz of Pakistan’s Lal Masjid is back in the media limelight after the Islamabad reached an understanding with him following days of negotiations.
In tandem with the recent negotiations, the Maulana and his family vacated the Lal Masjid G-6 on Monday (June 8) and shifted to the madrassa Jamia Hafsa in G-7, linked to the Lal Masjid. Both the mosque and seminary in G-6 are government-owned property.
In addition, Maulana Aziz and his family will also not be allowed to enter the mosque for two months, a local daily tabloid Voice.pk.net said in a report. Haroon Rasheed, son of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and son-in-law of Aziz, took over the administration of the Lal Masjid.
The deal was brokered last week with the help of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, who was previously banned under the anti-terrorism act.
Both Maulana Aziz and Islamabad DC Hamza Shafqat refused to divulge further details about the agreement, but Rasheed informed the local media that Ludhianvi acted on behalf of the government of Pakistan as a guarantor of the deal.
According to the agreement, Maulana Aziz will be free to travel all across Pakistan at his own will after two months, Aziz’s son-in-law told the media further.
Earlier in February, Maulana Aziz had occupied the state-owned mosque Lal Masjid, claiming to be its rightful ‘khateeb’ (orator). The move was ignored by the authorities, until later when approximately a hundred female students of Jamia Hafsa from G-7, broke into another sealed building of a seminary at H-11. It was then that the Islamabad administration approached Aziz to resolve the matter, but the cleric insisted the government to negotiate with him.
The Maulana continued to deliver an aggressive Friday sermon against state authorities, saying that he would not abide by orders of a state that followed “international agenda”.
The Maulana’s violation of lockdown orders was even raised in the NCOC (National Command and Operation Center) during which Interior Minister Ejaz Shah said that legal action will be taken against his provocative sermons. Two months later, instead of any action, the government has yet again decided to appease the Maulana.
Even now it is not clear whether differences have been resolved or if the deadlock will linger as it has been since 2007, when Jamia Hafsa’s students illegally occupied a children’s library to protest the demolition of some mosques that were declared illegal by the CDA.
Presently, the Maulana not only wants to be restored as the khateeb of Lal Masjid but also demands Rs. 250 million along with a large chunk of land to build Jamia Hafsa, as well as possession of the children’s library adjacent to the mosque.
In February, the Islamabad Capital Territory reached an agreement with Maulana Aziz to let him stay in the mosque as long as he does not deliver sermons in which he was openly encouraging people not to follow government advice on lockdown and social distancing.
In the last 12 months, three cases have been filed against Maulana Aziz for flouting SOPS and violating lockdown orders under section 144 (placed to limit the spread of coronavirus), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 188 (disobedience to public order duly promulgated by public servant).
According to police officials, Aziz not only led the weekly congregational prayer without taking any precautionary measures but also openly displayed weapons.
It remains a pertinent question as to why have the current as well as the previous governments refrained from taking any strict action against Maulana Aziz. Informed government sources told the tabloid that despite the latest agreements, the conflict remains far from being resolved, and in fact, the recent deal could be interpreted as a shameful surrender, as the state officials seem to be on-board with the current government.
Asian News International. Via HT Feeds