Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The deposed cleric of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz has decided to preside over a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of Lal Masjid operation, it emerged on Tuesday.


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According to a close confidante of Maulana Aziz, invitations will be sent to the president, prime minister, the director general of the ISI and the federal cabinet along with leaders of like-minded political and religious parties to attend the conference scheduled to be held on July 7.

“We will file an application with the capital administration on Tuesday so that there is an ample time for them to clear all queries,” the cleric’s aide said.

“Similarly, invitations will be forwarded to key religious and political personalities and the leadership of the country as well as the head of the intelligence agency this week.” he added.

The Shuhada Foundation that would arrange the conference at Lal Masjid announced that it would not only be a milestone towards the implementation of ‘Sharia’ but would also prove to be a referendum towards the imposition of Islam in the country.

A spokesman for the Shuhada Foundation said there was no need to obtain any NOC from the government as the conference was being held inside the mosque.

“If they do not give us the NOC we will approach the Islamabad High Court to get out right to hold the conference to highlight the sacrifices rendered by our comrades for the implementation of Islam in the country,” said Hafiz Ehtesham Ahmed, the spokesman.

On the other hand, a senior official of the local administration told Dawn News that the government had the right to grant or deny permission as the mosque was a state property and Maulana Aziz had already been deposed of as khateeb of the mosque.

“Besides, he is a proscribed person under the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA),” he added.

Despite Lal Masjid administration plans, the chances of conference seem bleak as recently, when Maulana Aziz announced a conference on March 24, against the online blasphemous content, the government rejected the application and blocked all roads leading to Lal Masjid.

The conference is being arranged to mark the 10th anniversary of Lal Masjid operation which was launched when students stationed inside Lal Masjid killed a law enforcement official posted outside the mosque on July, 3, 2007.

The army commandos launched the operation on the mosque in the wee hours of July 10 and completed it on July 11.